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1. Lie, basically 

If you know there’s only ever one answer to “Does my bum look big in this?” (and that’s: “Of course not; have some chocolate”), you’re off to a good start. Your wife may make a hippo in heels look elegant. You know it, she knows it. The shop cashier knows it. But you shall never mention it. Get step 1 right and you’ll live to take a stab at the other four.

2. Put down the beer

For a pregnant woman, nothing is as annoying as not being able to drink, smoke, or do whatever her pregnancy-unfriendly vices used to be, than being forced to watch her partner indulge. Pregnancy makes you very, very tired and it’s not fair to rob your lady and your developing baby of their sleep just so she can listen to drunken people pontificate.

Read: Why drinking is a no-no

In fact, ditch the cancer sticks, eat healthily, lose any flab you need to and exercise with your partner. (Research shows second-hand smoke is just as harmful for your baby, so quit now.) Yes, we know you’re not the pregnant one.

Lucky you. That doesn’t mean you’ve simply scored an automatic designated driver. If you’re in this undertaking together, the operative word is together. And actually, there’s a wonderful new life waiting for you on the other side of these nine months. Be healthy for it.

3. Talk, talk

We know you’re terrified, even if you hide it behind your strong but silent veneer. Babies are far scarier than Stephen King could ever portray. Terror is the only rational response. There’s a reason the horror movie victim is always in the dark basement alone – it’s much scarier that way.

So share your feelings. You will both feel better if you share your hopes and worries. While you’re at it, speak to the bump, too. Your baby can hear and recognise your voice and will emerge from the womb already loving his Daddy.

4. Forgive

Your lady’s a tornado of hormones right now, and it’s not making her any more rational. Loving and sensual one minute, she’s a ball of rage the next.

Nobody needs relationship strife in the middle of a huge life-changing event such as pregnancy; certainly nobody should make life-altering, divorce-like decisions at such a time. If you can, reach deep within yourself and forgive, forgive, forgive.

Also read: Bringing sex back after baby

Yes, we’re actually going to say it: be the bigger man. If you’re lucky, she’ll remember your grace for when you need an indulgence. We’re thinking of that boys’ night out you weren’t able to resist?

5. Kiss your old life goodbye

In an old joke, expectant parents are advised to eat a romantic dinner at a table, read a newspaper from cover to cover, then tuck in and sleep through the night – because it’s the last time you’ll get to do any of these for the next ten years.

The real joke is, it’s not a joke. And the real measure of a man is if he can adapt to the challenges and responsibilities of the next chapter with maturity, love, warmth and humour.

If this seems like an impossible task now, wait until you’ve met your child, who will make you reconsider everything you thought was possible or not, and who will be worth all of it. We promise.

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