I am feminist. I believe in paying people what they are worth, regardless of their physical anatomy, treating people with respect and kindness, equality and everything that goes with it. I have a feminist partner, who also believes in equality and treating everyone with respect and kindness. I completely agree that both men and women are capable of earning money, staying home with kids, and making their own personal decisions to do either or both. My partner works outside of the home, and I stay home with our kids for now. At times in our relationship we have both worked, and therefore both share household responsibilities, and child rearing. I am thrilled that men are more involved in the lives of their children than they have been in past generations.
Why am I mentioning all of this? I recently saw a post on Facebook sharing an article about how men should stop saying “we’re pregnant”. The poster’s comment was “I agree. My husband has the same kid as me but without the stretch marks”. I immediately felt annoyed, and a little bit sorry for men like my partner. Women cannot decide what we want. We have miles to go to achieve anything resembling true equality, and I completely understand that men do not go through the physical symptoms of labour. Trust me. Every part of me hurt, I felt ill all the time, didn’t sleep, and got annoyed when my partner would jokingly comment that he was “tired too” or “sympathy eating”.
However, I hear women all the time talk about how they wish their partners would be more involved in the pregnancy, and birth, and child rearing. It is difficult for men to get involved as they don’t physically carry the child, but they can go to doctors appointments, feel for kicks, and be there in a loving supportive way. In my opinion, my partner saying “we’re pregnant” or “we’re having a baby” was his way of being excited and showing that we were in this together.
I would think that this would be a good thing. Unfortunately, women say they want men to be more involved, and then complain and give them shit for their attempts… do we want them to be involved or not? If the answer is “yes” then for the love of the universe just le them be involved! Stop taking everything so damn literally!! Of course he knows he isn’t actually pregnant! (If he doesn’t know you might want to kick him the the junk and explain that if he wants to trot around acting like he is going through the same pain as you that during labour there will be one kick every couple of minutes for countless hours… might put it into perspective.)
I’m just sayin’… figure out what you want… and when men start trying to actually do what it is we ask of them, give them some credit… after all, anyone who has potty trained a puppy knows that it can be a slow process but any step in the right direction is celebration-worthy.