One of the best ways to encourage a man to be active, involved and supportive during pregnancy is to affirm that he has a significant role in it and a valuable contribution to make. Conversely, one of the ways to ensure that a man will pull back and disengage from pregnancy is to insult him and deny his contribution to it.
Mila Kunis appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and rebuked him, and all men, for using the phrase “We’re pregnant.” As you might expect, her message basically boils down to a reminder of the obvious fact that the female body that grows a baby. Man, I had almost forgotten about that! Thank goodness she made a public spectacle of it.
But she didn’t stop there. She went on to point out that all her man did was “roll over and go to sleep.” I didn’t laugh. You know why? Because it’s not funny. It’s insulting. I didn’t just roll over and go to sleep. On the contrary, I started getting up earlier to get our twin toddlers out of bed so my wife could sleep longer in the mornings. I came home early from work to stay with our kids while she went to doctor appointments. I doted over the ultrasound pictures. I revised the family budget to save for the upcoming costs of the birth. And after the birth, I’m going to change diapers, clean, dress, bathe, cook, etc.
My reason for doing all of these things is not to prove Mila Kunis wrong, or to prove anything, for that matter. I do it because it’s completely natural for a father. Caring for children is not the sole domain of mom. Child rearing is a team sport. The teamwork begins before conception, and it never stops. I know this intuitively and so do the multitudes of unsung and under-valued involved fathers out there. But if knowing this intuitively isn’t enough for some, I offer this very informative and encouraging article about men and pregnancy to make the point better than I can.
Mila Kunis was wrong. My wife and I are pregnant. We are a team. She can’t do it without me and I can’t do it without her. Why do we need to turn pregnancy into another battle of the sexes? It’s not. It’s a beautiful union of the sexes. It’s part of what the sexes were made to do together.
I’m not attempting to steal any of my wife’s glory in pregnancy. I have written previously about how she is my hero, and I will continue to praise her for the amazing and miraculous things she does in the bearing and raising of our children. I will not compete with my wife over which parent is more important. Rather, I will partner with her and enjoy the wild ride of parenthood together. Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture of growing a family together because we’re bickering over semantics about biology in an effort to prove something that needs no proof. We are pregnant!