Being pregnant is weird. However, as weird as it is for us gestating folk, I have to imagine it's also weird for our partners, too. So I asked some dads to describe what it's like to watch their partner go through pregnancy, because I feel bad for the poor bastards.
When you're pregnant your body changes, your smells change, and your emotions are on that creepy cruise ship from the scary scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But our curse is our consolation, because these things are happening to us. This means not only do we get the good things that come with pregnancy, we also get an intimate understanding of what's going on. To use another movie metaphor, it's sort of like being Sandra Bullock in Speed: you're not really in control of the situation, but at least you're driving the bus. Those closest to us, namely our partners, are like the poor bewildered passengers on that crazy bus who have precisely zero idea of what's going on.
Don't get it twisted, these dudes get off comparably light. Trust me when I say, gentlemen, that giving foot rubs and holding our hair back while we puke is a small price to pay for not having to feel a contraction or will a big-headed baby out of your fancy bits. But that said, what was it like to see your partners pregnant?
"Is it a dick move to say, 'Meh?' Because it was kind of 'meh.' I loved her, I was excited. But I feel like if I pretended her pregnancy affected me more than nominally it would be disingenuous, like I was co-opting her pregnancy and making it about me, which white guys [like myself] do with everything else anyway, so I feel like you don't need me to do that here. It was nine months of waiting and a really happy conclusion."
"Let me put it this way: I always knew I found pregnant women attractive, but I didn't realize I had a full-blown pregnancy fetish until my wife got knocked up. (You can make me anonymous, right?)"
[Writer's note: Of course "Jonathan," but just so you know there's nothing to be ashamed of here!]
"Empowering and spiritual. I felt so close to her."
"Whenever a friend of mine's partner is going to have a baby, I tell them to invest in a FitBit, because they will get a ton of steps in with all the bodega trips they're going to have to make at midnight because she neeeeeeeds Doritos."
[When asked to elaborate...]
"She wasn't terrifying, but becoming a dad freaked me out so much. All I could see looking at her was the end of life as I knew it. Turns out I was worried, not for nothing, but about the wrong things mostly."
"Weird and a little unsettling."
"Awesome. But literally awesome: it filled me with awe. I went to every appointment and every ultrasound. It was crazy to see this thing go from a blob to something with a nose and facial expressions. So throughout her pregnancy I kind of knew what the baby looked like at any given point and so looking at her belly was surreal."
"At first I treated her like she was made out of porcelain. Everything was a big deal. Everything we did the pregnancy loomed over it. But once she hit four months we both just sort of got used to it and it was life as usual until she got really huge and then everything got physically hard. Hopefully she found me helpful."
"I went into hardcore protector mode. She found it annoying after a while."
"I was in a really bad place in my life when she was pregnant the first time. The kind of bad that you have to take lots of steps to sort through it all and learn to forgive yourself. Like 12 steps, if you know what I mean. I f*cked up, but I'm happy to say that things are better now. She's pregnant again and I'm loving every minute, even if she's queasy and uncomfortable."
"I was usually just scared about getting yelled at over something stupid because she got really moody and emotional."
[Writer's note: cut her some slack, Gary. She was growing a human. She was emoting for two.]
"She wasn't my partner, but my partner and I chose her to be our surrogate and she was incredible. She was so warm and caring and even though she was the one who was pregnant, she was usually the one who was reassuring us because we were so nervous as first time parents. We've remained in contact and see her from time to time; our daughter calls her 'Aunt Pretty' and spending the day with her is always special."