Why Men Can’t Have Babies

42 Comments

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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.

Puke.

Unwrap a cheese stick.

Lie down.

Bring husband water.

Roll eyes because husband is such a wuss.

Puke.

Puncture juice box…

Repeat.

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.)

Comments

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  1. 2

    My Half Assed Life says

    This is a hilarious tribute to the strength of women! Personally I loved being pregnant, every single minute of it, right up to the last 4 weeks. The last 4 weeks is when you get very afraid that if someone were to poke you in the belly you’d fly away like an overinflated balloon.

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  2. 4

    Woolies says

    I usually just want to murder my husband when he is sick. If he has the sniffles, he walks around the house all hunched over, moaning, with tissue stuck up his nose. Then he goes to bed for 6 hours. At 11AM. On Christmas. Yes, I might just kill him the next time. Fair Warning.

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  3. 6

    Mama Melch says

    Spot on! My husband also marveled at my ability to barf and nap during pregnancy, and he is such a sick wussy. Oh well, at least he changes dirty diapers like a champ.

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    • 10

      Teri says

      Oh thank your lucky stars. I threw up 10-12 times a day for 23 weeks. I was for sure I had some mysterious alien disease. Also got to know my local ER nurses pretty well having been so many times for being dehydrated. And that’s why I only have 1 kid. Because pregnancy was the Bataan death march for me.

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  4. 11

    Kara says

    I think you’re right about all those things. I have an inability to stand consistent pain, and my husband has the inability to stand pain that comes and goes. Also, he’s the worst sick person. Plus, most men can’t stand to see women crying. They’re always like, “Oh, they’re doing it again?! Now any chance of … is out!”
    For women, it’s interesting being so hormonal. Your brain splits in two at times and one goes, “BUT I HATE THAT YOU PUT SOCKS THERE. I CAN’T STAND IT! YOU MAKE ME SO MAD!” while the other sits, watches, and wonders why such a tiny thing is so infuriating. Really, it’s like the rational and irrational brain have a war in women…

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  5. 16

    Kristen Mae says

    Funniest thing I’ve read in a while. It was a laugh I needed, especially after my little tongue-in-cheek piece about men and their ‘selfishness’ (it’s not what you’d think, I swear) and a few people thought I was leaving my feminist brethren in the lurch. ;)

    Will be following you at Jasongood. =)

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  6. 17

    Melissa says

    I enjoyed this post :)

    My husband fainted the 2 times he tried to give blood and had a panic attack when he saw the x-ray of his broken hand. I am 100% sure my husband could neither be pregnant OR give birth.

    I pretty much hated being pregnant and b/c of that, one kid is all I’m willing to have. But I do take comfort in knowing that the ability to have children went to the sex most capable of handling it :)

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  7. 18

    Stefanie says

    Most men would spend the last month hooked up in an ICU getting sponge bathed and tube fed with the air conditioning on full time. God knows the population would be a fraction of what it is.

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  8. 19

    Mary says

    I loved his description of him and his wife with the stomach flu! Exactly right!
    By the way I am one of those rare women who loved being pregnant. I was never sick, although I could have done without the constipation. My two problems with it were the constant fear for at least the first twenty weeks (especially during my third pregnancy since i miscarried at 16 weeks with our second) and the month long period after giving birth. Especially since I wasn’t allowed to use tampons.

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  9. 20

    Mercy says

    I never enjoyed the pregnancy part – nausea, being fat, chasing a toddler or two, eating all the time. And while my husband will often work through a sickness, when he finally does crash, I’m stuck.
    And how many men could deal with recovering from a C-section while caring for a newborn who won’t sleep, a toddler who cries half the night to get out of her crib, and a 3 year old mess-maker? That was my life when my youngest was born and I’m so happy it is over.

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  10. 22

    jeannine says

    Fantastic. Spot on. Hated being preggo and said I would do labor and delivery a hundred times if it weren’t for the whole pregnancy thing. Love the 1980’s station wagon part, that had me in tears.

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  11. 23

    Dad@Home says

    Women rock. Moms rock Speaking as a work-at-home/stay-at-home dad, I can tell you that I’m starting my seventh year of a dizzying blur. Love my kids (6 and 4) but it’s been far harder than anything pregnancy alone could be. I’ve seen and done everything that moms have, post preggers, and felt the dread and exhaustion of trying to remain a professional during my off-kid-duty hours (8P-2A) working like a dog at night, sleeping 4 hours a night merely so I can keep circling the drain and not go down it…

    I wish I could tell my own Mom (with these eyes and experiences) just how much everything she did means to me. RIP. Also, I know how much respect I have for my own wife, who also struggled mightily to remain in her professional capacities while on maternity leave.

    Never mind the special needs both kids of mine have — one with extreme allergies, the other intensely gifted. It has made the roller coaster ride all the more intense.

    Most guys I know look at me like I’m crazy for doing what I do and have done — I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING — but honestly, all these macho twerps *couldn’t have handled it!* I’m surprised at the intestinal fortitude I have had during it all. Any post-full-time kids-in-school, full-time-gig will pale in comparison to this. Moms know multitasking stress and insanity under duress. Dads either need to put down the remote and come HELP, 51%, or STFU.

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  12. 26

    Danielle says

    I didn’t hate pregnancy but I didn’t love it either. I didn’t have morning sickness so that’s probably why. But I am a pretty bad sick person (I whine and lay on the couch all day) and hate multitasking (feels like I’m running myself ragged), and I’m a bitch when sleep deprived. So my husband knows that if he wants me to stay sane and keep the family together he needs to help as much as possible. And that’s as it should be because this is a partnership that I signed up for. And I don’t need to prove that I’m super woman/mom to anyone!

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