In the fight for equality, there is one aspect seldom discussed: the indecencies of pregnancy that women suffer. Without a uterus, a man simply can not know what it’s like to experience the physical foibles of carrying and birthing a baby. While men may wish for the bond birth mothers have with their children, they should be grateful to be excluded from the less enviable events that accompany motherhood. After all, there are embarrassing mom moments dads couldn’t possibly understand, and not all of them stem from the built-in biological differences between mothers and fathers.
I would love for dads to be able to experience some the unique instances of motherhood, because through compassion comes understanding. Surely all men would call themselves feminists if they were given the opportunity to endure what so many women go through: the physical, mental, and emotional nuances that are inherent to the female experience. My husband is accepting of my grouchy mood for a couple of days each month, at a certain point in my cycle, but he doesn’t really “get it.” It would be nice if he did.
And so, in parenting, to have our male partners truly grasp what mothers grapple with — in terms of breastfeeding, body image, working mom judgment — would be monumental. We definitely wouldn’t have to explain or justify our discomfort, sadness, or pain. We wouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of weirdness that sometimes applies only to mothers, like these embarrassing mom moments dads couldn’t possibly understand:
When Medical Students Attend Your Birth
I don’t remember how this came to be, but two doctors-in-training witnessed the birth of my son, peering demurely over my OB’s shoulder and into the chasm between my legs.
Any dads out there ever host an audience for their junk? Probably not.
When You're Chaperoned In The Bathroom
Having delivered vaginally, I was accompanied to the bathroom for my first postpartum pee, so the nurse could measure the fluid and make sure everything came out OK. So unless a dad has some kind of prostate surgery, this is one indignity he won’t ever need to experience.
When You're Bleeding On Things
This might have happened before becoming a mom but it is very likely to happen afterwards, as your body continues to shed the lining of your uterus postpartum. Nobody told me I’d have a six-week period after giving birth, so I wasn’t always prepared.
When You're Peeing On Things
We do our Kegels exercises for a day or two, and then life takes over. After birth, our bladders are never the same. So please don’t make us sneeze, cough, or laugh. Unless we’re already on the toilet.
When There's Leakage
Letdown, for me, was occasionally unexpected, especially with my second baby. No dad has ever had to deal with spontaneous milk leakage from their chest and soaking through their shirt.
When You Burst Into Tears During Tissue Commercials
Hormones. Hormones all over the damn place. I was an emotional teeter-totter in the first few weeks after giving birth. I’d feel this well of joy, looking at my newborn, and it would trigger the waterworks. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed by this, but it kind of weirded my husband out, witnessing me cry over something so mundane.
When You Accidentally End Up Flashing The World
I grew out of this embarrassment over time. After a while, I just accepted it as a common byproduct of breastfeeding my kids in public without draping a suffocating cover-up over their faces.
When Your Toddler Feels You Up
I had to teach them to stop doing this, but my toddlers would get a little grabby when they wanted to nurse, occasionally trying to stick a hand down my shirt to get access to the milk bar, and always when we were at a very public place. Funny how that works.
When Someone Congratulates You For Being Pregnant, When You’re Not Actually Pregnant
This is more embarrassing for the person doing the congratulating, but no dad is on the receiving end of this little mishap.
The fourth trimester is a real thing, and we still look kind of pregnant because we just had a baby, and our body needs some time to recalibrate. So don’t ever remark on someone’s pregnancy, unless you know for a fact there is a baby in there.
When You "Lose" The Keys You're Holding In Your Hand
Yeah, I’ve done that. I’ve also searched frantically for my phone, while talking on my phone, and I've groped around for the sunglasses I think are somewhere in my bag, but are actually on my face. Mommy brain is apparently a thing, and dads simply can’t relate. Of course, dads are not immune from losing anything, it’s just that their lost objects legitimately nowhere in sight.