Melania Wasn’t the First Wife to Be Cheated on While Pregnant
Having a baby is as complicated for men as it is for women, emotionally; we should encourage them to talk about it
You’re pregnant with your first child. Can’t speak what that’s like for a man but for a woman who has maybe wanted to be a mom for a long time, and who sometimes wondered if that was going to happen, it’s a wonderful, scary, exhausting, overwhelming thing. I’m sure it was for Melania Trump, too, who said the birth of her first child, Barron, at age 35, and her husband’s fifth child, was “very, very easy.”
The birth of my second child was easy-ish — not “very, very easy” — but like Melania, I, too, had an epidural. That certainly changed things! But it isn’t generally what the woman experiences at the birth of a child that impacts a couple so much as the whole pregnancy and postpartum period. As we recently found out, Donald Trump was having an affair with a porn star, Stormy Daniels, while Melania was pregnant with Barron, and allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 right before the 2016 election to keep quiet. And the First Lady is trying to distance herself from the whole thing while also following the “stand by your man” path.
But, interesting — and sadly — Melania would not be the first women to have her husband cheat on her while she’s knocked up with their child (should we forget former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar and his love child, born just days after his son with wife Maria Shriver?).
And it recently happened to It happened to Eniko Parrish, whose husband, comedian Kevin Hart, admitted cheating on her when she was pregnant with their first child together — and who amazingly called her pregnancy, weight gain of just 22 and quick weight loss postpartum stress and drama-free.
She’s clearly among the new “fit moms” on Instagram who are no doubt making new moms anxious about gaining too much weight or having the baby weight linger for too long. Of course, being fit won’t guarantee that your hubby won’t cheat on you anyway — right Eniko?
Ambivalence or affair?
Not that I want to give any props to the creator of Ashley Madison, the website that promotes the idea that life is short so have an affair, but founder Noel Biderman says a lot of men sign on to the site when a baby was on the horizon. They may not have been as crass as Trump, who gave Melania a week to “whip herself back into the pre-baby shape” but they certainly had complicated feelings about how pregnancy, birth and a newborn impacts a relationship.
And for some, that means their ambivalence about the pregnancy or the changes that go with it, or their partner’s diminished sex drive or complicated feelings about her body, desirability and sexuality. Supposedly, 10 percent of dads-to-be have affairs while their partners were like Melania — pregnant with their child.
Getting men to open up
OK, 10 percent is hardly the majority of dads-to-be. At the same time, I’d want to know how the man in my life feels about the arrival of our first child. Having a baby is as complicated for men as it is for women — emotionally if not necessarily physically — and while society often focuses on the mom-to-be — the one who’s going through all the physical and hormonal changes, the one who’s going to push out a new being from her vagina — men have feels, too. They need to be encouraged to talk about it.
As ob/gyn Laura Riley writes:
Men worry, even if they don’t tell you. Even if your partner doesn’t mention it, he may be worrying about what pregnancy will do to your lives. He may feel anxious about upcoming expenses, your health insurance coverage, the pain that you’ll feel during pregnancy or delivery, what life will be like with three rather than two, and the effects of pregnancy on your sex life. If you are planning to quit your job to stay home with your baby, he may feel more pressure because he’ll be the sole breadwinner. Men question what type of dad they’ll be. For some men, fatherhood is something they have looked forward to for years and feel well equipped to handle. Others may feel apprehensive.
Melania was supposedly blindsided by the recent infidelity revelations. Don’t be the same. As a society, we probably need to talk more openly about men’s feelings about fatherhood better, and most certainly as a couple.