I don’t want to be a hater here. There is something endearing about a man trying to understand some of the discomforts of pregnancy. But ultimately – donning a 30-pound pregnancy suit is a complete waste of time.
GQ writer Benjamin Percy strapped on a pregnancy suit for nine-weeks to write about his experiences as a “pregnant man” for the March issue of GQ. Maybe it’s because we are such an image-focused society that some people think you can actually understand the discomforts of pregnancy by slapping on what is essentially a “fat suit.”
In my opinion, the actual size of your body isn’t the hardest part of pregnancy. He experienced the discomfort of carrying around an extra 30 pounds for nine weeks – but that’s about it. Percy explains, “because part of the agony of pregnancy is how long it lasts— and experiencing the extent of the agony is kinda the point—I’ve agreed to wear the rudimentary prosthetic he has mailed me for a nine-week term.” This guy knows a pregnancy is 40 weeks, right?
It’s entertaining reading about the struggles he has with his new shape: “At first it feels cumbersome, parasitic. I knock into walls, tables, door-ways. I cannot fit it under my clothes, so I wear it on the outside.” That’s convenient. I would have loved to read about him only fitting into yoga pants. Oh, well.
I actually do believe he developed some extra empathy for pregnant women during this time. Nine weeks definitely isn’t forty – but it’s a significant amount of time to be uncomfortable. Also, as women we get to ease into our larger pregnancy size. We don’t just become nine-months pregnant overnight. I’m sure it was physically hard for his body to adjust to the changes. I have to admit though, my favorite part of the piece comes when he quotes one of his doubting, female friends:
“I guess it’s all right.” She has a way of narrowing her eyes that seems at once bemused and suspicious. “But you don’t get the boob weight and the pressure. You don’t have the itchy skin or the swollen ankles. Your bladder doesn’t feel like there’s a hot brick sitting on it. Maybe they should inject you with hormones? Maybe you should wear ankle weights? And roll around in poison ivy?”
Exactly. The sciatic pain. The numb arms at night. The sweating. The not fitting into your clothes. The panicking that you may have just inadvertently eaten a piece of blue cheese and killed your baby. You don’t get that from a pregnancy suit. Sorry.
He ultimately admits, “I’m not man enough to be a woman.” I’m not even sure what that means. He gets an A for effort, though.