Pregnancy is really difficult for all involved, but especially for the pregnant person. Nausea, fatigue, food aversions, mood changes, discomfort — these are all real physiological symptoms pregnant people have to deal with. And pregnant people need support and assistance throughout the pregnancy. Your partner is supposed to step up and help you get through this—but what if your partner is also feeling pregnancy symptoms despite not being pregnant?
One Redditor explained that he is having sympathy symptoms that include vomiting — and it’s making his girlfriend furious.
“Me M27; and my girlfriend F23 recently found out we’re expecting. It’s been difficult for both of us so far. She deals with several symptoms like morning sickness and nausea which are the worst to manage. I try to do all I could to help but very recently, I started experiencing similar symptoms myself. I too started having morning sickness, nausea, open appetite etc. My girlfriend absolutely hates it. She hates that I have these symptoms that I can’t control and say I was purposely ‘mimicking’ her suffering for laughs which I’m not. Every time I throw up or get sick She would say, ‘Oh my god you’re such an a**hole!’ Or ‘you’re enjoying making fun of a p woman and stealing attention aren’t you?’
“The doctor and mom said it’s called sympathetic pregnancy, but my girlfriend refused to believe it and told me to stop despite saying I can’t control it. She reminded me that she’s the one preg and I needed to cut the crap and take medication for ‘whatever I’m dealing with’ because this is so ridiculous and embarrassing.”
The OP explains that the final straw was when his girlfriend’s parents came over for dinner. He was not feeling well and ended up throwing up. The OP heard his girlfriend’s mom saying that the pregnancy must be “hard on us,” which caused his girlfriend to lose it and say that he was fine and “putting on a show in front” of her parents when it’s really her that’s suffering.
“I told her she had me sit eat dinner with her parents despite saying I preferred to have something light for the night. She said I could’ve held it in or not make such fuss about it but clearly I did this to steal attention from her. I blew up and called her ridiculous for making such accusations. She started crying saying she’s dealing with enough and I was making it worse for her. She packed and went to her sister’s and won’t come home til I stop this.”
What do Redditors think?
“NTA, it’s a literal documented phenomenon that happens to men, sometimes men literally experience pregnancy symptoms. It’s literally like you telling her you have depression and anxiety, the doctors telling her the same and her not believing it and saying you’re faking it. You literally cannot help it and honestly don’t think anything besides couple therapy can fix it because you can’t FORCE her to believe you, the doctors, or random people on the internet. So please see if she can be open to that otherwise reactions like that to your own suffering will cause the relationship to be lost before it even gets anywhere amazing,” said UndeadNo-1827.
“NAH. I feel like I’m going to get downvoted into oblivion for this, but the thing is, you’re struggling with a psychosomatic mental disorder—not pregnancy. And I think it’s the fact that you’re framing this as ‘oh, this pregnancy is very hard on both of us’ that is upsetting your girlfriend more than anything. If you started to frame it as ‘yeah, I’m really struggling with a mental illness. It’s gotten so bad that I’m experiencing physical symptoms’ then you might see her anger start to dissipate. This is a very real phenomenon that you cannot help, but at the same time, I can absolutely see how your girlfriend is frustrated since she’s the one enduring the actual pregnancy.
Perhaps you could take her in to see your doctor with you, or visit a psychiatrist or psychologist together, so they could explain to her in depth what this disorder is and that you cannot help it.
However, I do really strongly think that you using language like ‘we’re expecting,’ ‘we’re pregnant,’ ‘we’re having a difficult pregnancy’ and perpetuating expressions like ‘this pregnancy must be very hard on you two’ is igniting her frustration and that you should stop saying things like that, and actively correct others with ‘actually, for me, it’s a mental disorder I’m struggling with.’
She is the one who is pregnant. She is the one who is expecting. She’s the one who will be in immeasurable pain and have to risk her life to birth this baby, and she requires sympathy and support for that for her own mental health or she could begin to develop prenatal or postpartum depression. You are the one with a psychosomatic mental illness, and you require support for that. They are two very separate things.
And while there is no excuse for her to mock you and call you names, I don’t think she’s an a**hole for being frustrated beyond belief that while she’s the one carrying the baby, you’re the one who’s experiencing symptoms to the point that I imagine she feels like she has to pick up a lot of the slack at home so you can rest—just like a husband would for his expecting wife. When one spouse is sick, the other takes up the work—that’s just how it goes. I imagine she’s irritated that she feels she has to pick up the slack because you’re ill, even though she’s the one who’s pregnant, and now she has to watch you be the one to get sympathy from her parents as well as yours when she’s the one carrying the baby. I empathise with you and the fact that you must feel very invalidated by your partner in all of this, but I feel badly for her too,” explained bakersd0z3n.
“When you’re the person actually dealing with the hardship, trying to get support from someone you should be able to lean on, only for them to burst into tears and and make you feel like you need to take care of them when you’re the one that just lost your job or whose grandma died can feel like a slap in the face and can just generally be exhausting. And while the sympathy crier isn’t an a**hole, the actually burdened person isn’t an asshole for thinking ‘I absolutely can’t deal with or be around this person right now, I’m about to lose it.’ Except when it’s a pregnancy and the person dealing with the ‘sympathy’ symptoms is your SO and the father of the child, distancing yourself so you don’t snap isn’t really an option. He can’t control it, but she’s also dealing with a lot of things she can’t control and yet is expected to anyways,” noted terraformthesoul.
“My husband also had this and each one of my friends predicted he would. In fact, he had more nausea than I did! I say NAH only because I wonder if there are ramifications to both of you being sick. When I was down for my first trimester no chores were getting done because my partner and support system was also down for the count. Right or wrong it caused a lot of resentment and concern for how the rest of the pregnancy and post-partum would go for our relationship when it should have been a critical time for me to rely on my person. Spoiler alert. We’re divorcing 3 years later. If this is her first pregnancy and she feels unsupported, she is under compounded stress. There is not much you can do if your symptoms are incapacitating but if you think my situation might have similarities, I hope you’re able to be empathetic to her and look for opportunities where she can feel supported and cared for by you. In the same vein I hope you also have an uplifting support system because pregnancy and child birth is taxing for all parties involved,” said magandakoi.
“YTA if you have been prescribed anti-nausea meds and you’re not taking them and instead making a fuss about feeling sick. Interesting how you describe your own sickness as debilitating but your pregnant girlfriend’s as annoying. With that attitude then I can see why she is so pissed off,” said Narrow_Map4950.
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