Pregnancy is, ideally, an exciting time in a new parent's life. And since most of the gushing excitement is directed at the gestational parent (so, usually, the mother), fathers are often overlooked in the process. Now in some ways this makes sense: when a woman is pregnant you have a constant visual reminder that her life is about to change. But when people
do say things to expectant dads, it's often... less fun. In fact, there are a lot of things people think are OK to say to expectant dads that are creepy when you think about them.
That's not to say moms don't hear their fair share of
truly creepy, problematic crap. They do, and probably more frequently than their baby's father. But I would actually be willing to wager that men deal with a higher percentage of creepiness compared to the whole of comments they receive. Because toxic masculinity is real, folks, and it absolutely colors how we as a society view fatherhood and male/female relationships. And most of these comments are often meant to be lighthearted and funny, but they speak to something that is neither light nor funny, but a pervasive, often invisible negativity that has harmed fathers for a long, long time.
It's time to dismantle that. So, please, stop yourself if you ever find yourself uttering any of the following:
"She Tricked You Into It, Huh?"
Even as a joke (and
reproductive coercion is very real and not a joke), this is tremendously creepy. Why would you joke about (or worse — actually accuse an innocent person of) something as awful as fooling an unwitting partner into a serious lifetime commitment? The idea that this is something women routinely do is grotesque. "Your Life Is Over"
There's no happiness in life once you have children. You just become a soulless golem, joylessly moving from task to task until you die. You certainly can't have fun with children or find new and even exciting means of fulfillment after you help bring another life into the world.
Seriously, this says way more about the life or attitude of the person saying it than it possibly could about the life of the person they're talking about.
"You're Never Going To Have Sex Again"
Look, I'm not saying you're going to have the same time or energy to devote to your
sex life once you've had children, and I'm not making any claims or promises about anyone. All circumstances are highly individualized. But, generally speaking, miraculously, most people have sex after they have children (where do you think siblings come from, fools?). Some people even have way better sex after they've had a baby. "You Must Be Hoping For A Boy"
Why? Why would you automatically assume that? Because, really, this assumption is almost certainly based on ridiculous stereotypes about boys, girls, and men, or sexist ideas about how men somehow need a male heir in order to secure a legacy or some such nonsense. This is ridiculous.
"Is Your Partner Going To Keep Working?
Why do people ask this of women but not of men? Why do we just
assume women's careers are expendable? Or a place holder for her ultimate goal of having a baby? Also, do people not understand that, for most families, two working parents is a matter of necessity, not choice? Also, you're going to figure out within the next couple months, don't you think? Chill and stop prying. "A Girl? Oh, You're In Trouble. Better Get Your Shotgun..."
No. No, no, no, no, no. This is 50 shades of creepy. Because it's simultaneously asserting that a girl's father (
before she is born) has control over her body and sexuality and that the correct response to other people showing interest in her (or vice versa) is violent assault.
"It's just a joke! Calm down."
It's a creepy-ass, damaging joke. Be better. "Your Partner Must Be Crazy Now"
First of all this is some
shaming, ableist language that you should avoid under any circumstances. Second: screw you, dude. Sure, a pregnant woman can be hormonal but that doesn't make her unbearable or abusive toward her partner. And if you are concerned with the mental wellbeing of someone while they're pregnant, here's an idea: talk to them and see how they're feeling and what you can do to help instead of making so-called "jokes" with their partner. "Are You Worried Your Partner Is Going To Get Fat?"
Oh, you can just go ahead and kiss the
entirety of my butt. What a douchey thing to say. Someone else's body is none of your business and does not require any commentary whatsoever, much less hypothetical commentary. "*Insert Comments About Being An Inept Dad Here*"
This is just so
sad and infuriating — this presumption that men don't have any aptitude toward caregiving and just bumble through domestic life as hapless dunces. It's sad because new parent confidence is shaky enough as it is and you have an entire society telling men they're ill-suited and inferior to the task. It's infuriating because it's also a built-in cop out to get a father out of an equal share of work and responsibility. Like, what if we chose to believe that men being men doesn't not make them any less capable of or adaptable to parenthood than women? Not only do women have more help but men get to more fully enjoy fatherhood in a way that society has often made practically inaccessible. "Are You Going To Have To Babysit?"
That's not something a father can do for his own children. When a father watches his children it's called
yes, dude, he's going to be parenting his children. What else would he do? "Mr. Mom"
I believe the word you're searching for is "dad."