I called an Uber the other day because I needed to run some errands at a mall nearby. I was sleep deprived or was it just pregnancy exhaustion – it’s hard to tell the difference lately. It was the hardest journey I’ve had to make in a while. My husband happened to be away for work and boy, did I realise how dependent I had become on him during this pregnancy season. First, I was unable to oil my legs and feet, or even tie my shoelaces, so I walked around with laces flying out of my shoes and getting dusty. Usually, this would have driven me insane, but not today. I had better things to think about, like my inability to bend, labour anxiety, delivery pressure, and all these strange pains creeping out of nowhere lately. I walked to the gate only to realise I got one of the most uncomfortable cabs. It jerked each time the driver switched gears, had uncomfortable, unadjustable seats and even the engine even died at some point. But I’m a nice person. I didn’t cancel the ride. During one of the jerks, my water bottle fell to the cab’s dusty floor, and I was literally close to tears because that meant that I had to magically pick it up without bending. By the time I reached the mall, I was already tired (and angry) – yet I had to carry my own water and bag today. This is when I realised how hard adulting is during pregnancy and how hard my husband has worked to make the pregnancy journey bearable. This experience reminded me of a random toxic tweet that I read a few weeks ago. This man was lamenting that women today continue to choose careers over birthing babies, abandoning their role. “After one child, they start claiming they aren’t baby-making machines and they have a life to catch up with,” he complained. Now, only a bitter, unsupported woman would give such a sharp response to the spouse. It seems she probably had the hardest 10 months of pregnancy, the postpartum period, and could even be traumatised from childbirth. By the way, whoever started the myth of pregnancy being 10 months deserves arrest. I can’t believe that all my life I believed it, yet 40 weeks are basically 10 months, and some women even go up to 42 weeks. Pregnancy is a lot of work that challenges your body and mind – sometimes making you doubt your very existence. I believe that women should be handed the power to decide on the number of children to have as they do the carrying – and this should be a conversation had before marriage. I have heard people blame culture - saying that African men weren’t trained to support their wives - but why do we need culture to be kind to our spouses? I was shocked when some lady told me that her husband left her alone with a newborn to go celebrate with his boys. I’d have thought that the one who carried the baby for almost a year might have more reason to celebrate, but should guys choose to, perhaps he may choose a more appropriate time. The fact that this lady seemed happy by this event left me wondering if women make excuses for their partners to be absent during these crucial moments. At least three women were at some point advising my husband to stay as far from the labour room as he can because it is quite traumatising to witness childbirth. Excuse me?! Do you know who has gone through unspeakable trauma for 40 +/- weeks? The mom-to-be. And let’s be honest, if it was optional, none of us would volunteer to enter the labour room because of the horror stories that fly out of those doors. But guess what! Someone must deliver that baby! Maybe instead of encouraging men to avoid uncomfortable situations, we could instead urge them to walk the journey with their partners from conception to delivery. The other day, another lady boldly suggested that if men get more paternity leave days from work, they will end up cheating so their workplaces should keep them at the office. I felt a mix of cringe and physical pain. If this is how we, the women think in 2023, how are we going to raise sons who understand the value of being actively present in their families’ lives? The writer is Rwanda's first female saxophonist.