After Jimmy Kimmel said, “My wife and I are pregnant…we are having a baby very soon, as well.” Mila Kunis felt the need to give an impassioned speech to all men, whose partners are pregnant also. She began by clarifying, “Oh, you’re both having a baby…you and your wife are pregnant?” she then abruptly rose out of her seat and grabbed a microphone. “Hi,” she said. “I’m Mila Kunis, with a very special message for all you soon-to-be fathers. Stop saying ‘we’re pregnant. You’re not pregnant! Do you have to squeeze a watermelon-sized person out of your lady-hole? No.” She was then joined by other women holding ice-cream tubs. I won’t put a link in because I’m sure you can spend 2 seconds finding it on google.
Now I know this was all in jest and meant to be light hearted, but much like a jovial nickname that is designed to be endearing but ends up being quite offensive, I fear for the backlash that this may cause. When it comes to the world of pregnancy, birth and raising children, men are automatically on the back foot as it is, because as Mila rightly points out, we do not carry them for 9 months, indeed, we do not have to squeeze them out of any part of us, but that does not mean we are any less important to the whole process.
Breaking into the mothers’ network is hard enough as it is, The English Dad wrote a brilliant piece in response to Nadia Sawalha’s ridiculous outburst on Loose Women regarding men in the playground that will add to the fear that already exists for us being there in the first place. This, I fear, will do the same for childbirth and pregnancy.
From the moment we find out that our loved one is pregnant, we become pregnant too. Alright not in the physical sense of the word, but we do share every moment of that pregnancy, every emotion, every mood swing, every bit of paranoia about whether you are going to be good parents or prepared for the actual birth or even if it’s just holding hair back whilst being sick, or popping out to get whatever craving is currently occurring, or walking on egg shells because everything you say and do is completely wrong. My point is, to say that we are not pregnant, almost belittles our contribution to the whole process.
Maybe in Mila’s world, the man gets a woman pregnant then sits back and relaxes for 9 months and waits for her to drive herself home from the hospital to present him with his new heir, but unfortunately in the real world, every man I know takes his role seriously and ends up almost breaking himself psychologically and sometimes physically, trying to make pregnancy as wonderful a time as possible for the woman. I’ve seen men change their eating habits for the whole 9 months because the smell of what they usually eat makes the woman feel sick. I’ve seen men clean their wife’s poo off of a toilet carpet because their bowels gave way having morning sickness. I’ve seen guys become henpecked versions of their former self, because of the sudden tirade of abuse they got from their wives because of apparent hormone imbalance and that’s just the pregnancy. The birth is a whole other world of potential traps and pit falls.
I know that men do not carry the baby, that is a gift and curse that will be with women forever, and I know that you will be forever holding the fact that you were able to give birth and we have no idea what that feels like, but to deny us the right to acknowledge the involvement we have in the pregnancy by allowing us just three simple words, ‘We are pregnant’ is just ignorant and slightly offensive.