The most obvious reason I can’t give birth is that I don’t have a uterus, vagina, or any of the other parts required to do so. Fallopian tubes, maybe? But, if by some bizarre environmental mishap, I were to grow the proper equipment, I’m fairly certain I could do it—I could definitely push a baby out.
That might sound naive, and I know women take great pride in the strength it requires, but having been an emotional witness to the entire process twice now, it seems that labor is easy compared to pregnancy. And that’s what men could never do: be pregnant. Most of us are good at enduring pain for very short periods; it’s a sprint, and seeing the finish line makes it tolerable. But men simply aren’t wired for a protracted drama of nausea, fatigue, mysterious rashes and emotional instability. We’re good with big muscle groups, but long-term queasiness and sudden weeping? Nope, we’re out.
I know some women love being pregnant, “Oh it’s just the most amazing feeling!” but I’m pretty sure they’re in the minority, and quite possibly full of shit. Real women—those for whom pregnancy is a meandering ride through the Tuscan hills in the back of a poorly ventilated 1980’s station wagon—want the Gaia mothers to eat their tempeh wraps and pipe down.
As I’ve seen it, pregnancy is like having botulism for six months, followed by three months of being fat, wearing elastic, peeing a little in your pants and crying onto a pizza. I rather like pizza and could possibly even handle the tears, but it’s those first six months that only women seem capable of enduring. It’s the innate maternal qualities of patience, hope, and utter resolve that keep the human race from going extinct. The moment a woman becomes pregnant, all the space in her brain containing facts and memory is replaced with emotional strength. I think that’s called, “Mommy Brain”.
When my wife was pregnant, she was sick nonstop for five months. I was incredulous. “So wait, you’ve been nauseous and debilitatingly tired for 60 days straight and even after you throw-up you don’t feel better? ” “Yes”, she replied, in that don’t talk about it or I’m gonna ralph on your shoes kind of way.
In my drinking days, if I got the spins, I would simply make myself puke. It almost felt manly—almost. I had the stomach flu twice last year. One of those times, my wife had it too and while I lay in bed barely able to turn my head, it was she who took care of the kids.
Unwrap a cheese stick.
Bring husband water.
Roll eyes because husband is such a wuss.
Puncture juice box…
I’m not proud of it, but given my inability to finish (or even consciously start) a marathon of malaise, I have little doubt that after 48 hours of pregnancy, I would go to the emergency room convinced I had, not a fetus inside of me, but a steaming orb of Ebola. I might also just give up and jump off a mountain wearing only a faulty hang glider while yelling, “It’s…not…worth…it…”
Clearly, I’m marveled by female fortitude. But don’t get too confident, ladies. Just because I’m slack-jawed by your ability to endure the conditions necessary to cook a human inside your body, doesn’t mean I can’t crush any of you broads in a game of one-on-one basketball (maximum game length = 7 minutes.)