If there’s one thing I’ve always thought was a little unfair, it’s how ignored the dads/partners are during pregnancy. Sure, the women are doing amazing thing with their bodies, and are making sacrifices and suffering, but they also get all of the glory. They are showered with gifts and attention. Seats are given up for them in crowded areas. They receive extra kindness and courtesy from strangers.

If these women are lucky, they have behind them a partner who is silently working very hard, in other ways. Extra chores, extra childcare, extra worry. They don’t get a shower, or a seat on the bus, or any special attention whatsoever.

In my house, my husband constantly goes above and beyond, and I often see how rare this is when I read spouse complaints on facebook or other blogs. When I see some women complain about not being able to spend time with their friends because their husband refuse to “babysit,” I realize that I’m lucky my husband encourages my friendships and considers alone time with his daughter parenting and not a favor.

But I digress. My husband, as great as he is during regular days, can’t even hold a candle to how amazing he is when I am pregnant. He doesn’t just pick up the little things without complaint – he picks up everything, because it’s a struggle for me to do anything. There’s food in the fridge and our daughter is clean and fed because of him. He listens to me cry after I am sick and comforts me with hand rubs and words of encouragement. When I have a deadline and the light of the computer screen hurts my head, he sits with me and takes dictation. He’ll then stay up late into the night to meet his own deadlines, only to get up early the next morning with Annie.

I had big plans for his birthday weekend: meals at his favorite restaurants, Annie’s first trip to the bowling ally (with a bumper ally for her and a regular ally for Mike), and the pièce de résistance, finally fulfilling Mike’s dream to jump in a foam pit. But instead, he spent Friday in the ER, advocating for his sick and confused wife. He spent Saturday helping me recover. And on Sunday, his actual birthday, he still made lunch, changed diapers, and took out the trash. When I was upset about not giving him the birthday I’d planned, he comforted me. He never once complained. If the situation had been reversed, I would not have been so graceful.

Sometimes he’s messy, and sometimes he says the wrong thing, and sometimes he wears his damn slippers out in public. But just like the tiny dents and imperfections on my wedding ring don’t tarnish its overall beauty, these little bugaboos of Mike’s don’t change what a wonderful, selfless person he is. He’d do anything for his children. He’d do anything for me. And on his birthday, when all I could manage was sitting next to him, I can at least tell him how much I love and appreciate him. He deserves his due as my unsung support during this pregnancy. I am so thankful that he is in my life and puts up with me, warts and all. I’m not always easy to love, but he is.

Happy birthday, Mikey. I love you forever (and I promise your birthday next year will be awesome).

daddy and annie and ice cream cake

(I did get you the ice cream cake you wanted, though!)