I had to riff on “The First Pregnant Man” article, because, well, I just couldn’t help myself.
Here’s what veterans from the front lines had to say in my study in response to the question: If men got pregnant instead of women, how do you imagine things would be different?
“The morning after pill would have been invented by the Ancient Greeks…”
“I think our species would become extinct! I don’t think men, in their current state, could handle all that comes with being pregnant!”
“Morning sickness would become a disability!”
“We’d have government paid maternity leave (more like Europe), breast feeding would not be a taboo thing since men like to brag about size. I bet men would be showing their goods to the world all the time.”
“There would be tons of research to find ways to make pregnancy painless, shorter, responsive to the needs of men. I think there would be a lot of surrogate fatherhood (paying someone else to do it), as men generally have more money than women.”
“There would be no pain. Poor babies would have to go to bed for nine months. I think the father should be hooked up to a machine and every time the mother had a labor pain, he would have one also. Or fill them full of laxatives and let them have cramps.”
“I think they would have designed an incubator to do things more efficiently. Which would be too bad, because pregnancy may not be entirely efficient, but it is powerful, beautiful and transforming.”
And to the question:
If men gave birth instead of women, how do you think things would be different?
“Better insurance. More screaming.”
“I think doctors wouldn’t be saying ‘it will not matter a year from now how your labor went.’ They would accept and believe that how you birth DOES matter.”
“Men would have more to say about what happened while they gave birth. They would tell the doctors and nurses in no uncertain terms how things were going to be done.”
“It would be the end of the human race.”
“There would be better maternity leave policies, more flexible work options, and tampax and contraception would be government subsidized.”
“No pain. Praise instead of insults. Information. Choices.”
“Birth would be valued and celebrated, and the pain of the event would have long been eliminated.”
“The power of creating life and the ability to give birth would not be hidden and undermined in societies. It would be completely revered and celebrated.”
“I think they would actually do a good job. I think it would become a sport. They would make it competitive and use it as a badge of honor. We would have much more favorable laws, too, regarding maternal health care.”
“It’s a pretty powerful experience to bring life into the world. I think men would value life more if they experienced it in their womb.”
(Women ranged in age from 24-66.)