I’m a guy, so naturally I know all about childbirth. You waddle around nine months, get good parking spaces, people treat you nice, then you go to the hospital, hold your breath and push, and pow! Tax deduction. Simple, right?
WRONG! Men, we have been lied to. It turns out, childbirth is really, really unpleasant. I mean uncomfortable is the least of your problems. I know this now. Not because I have had a baby, but because I got a stomach bug over this last weekend and got a lot of the same symptoms my wife has been talking about. So, gentlemen, let me shed some light on the situation with my experiences with a truly ungodly illness.
1. Lower Back Pain
When you have a stomach bug, you tend to blow chunks, crap through a keyhole, or in my case, both. First, you lose important nutrients your wife just served you and all desire to replace them. This malnourishment makes your body go into a kind of freakout. Plus, these episodes entail temporary, yet oh-so-powerful muscular lockdowns. Like your body’s trying to squeeze out the last bit of toothpaste. Your muscles soon get tired of all that exertion. The end result of this is violent spasms. Now, add in a fever so that you’re shivering and spasming at the same time.
Fun fact: this hurts. Like crap. Who’d have thought that all that constant muscular chaos would mean squeezing your hip and waist region like a bunch of tiny fists pummeling endlessly? Bones and muscle alike become sore to the point where no seat, no bed, and no amount of standing is comfortable. You are completely without respite from the aching in your pelvis.
This is pregnancy. All the time.
2. Regular Bathroom Adventures
Remember what I said a second ago about blowing chunks and crapping through a keyhole? You need a bathroom for that. Or that ugly serving bowl your aunt gave you for Christmas. But it happens constantly, so no matter what you’re doing, you’d best have a bathroom nearby because it’s not going to wait for you. I lost count of how many close calls I had the first night I was sick, and my bathroom is three steps from my bed.
Apparently, pregnant women also visit the bathroom with alarming frequency. Even if they’re over their morning sickness (which can happen at morning, noon, night, elevensies, or second breakfast), their bladder becomes a little bean bag chair for the fetus, causing a lovely little urge and a desperate search for a pit stop. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in a business meeting that will make or break your career. If the boss doesn’t want his trash can to be abused, he’d better let you go!
3. It. Never. Stops.
Did I mention you go to the bathroom a lot when you’re sick like me? I meant it when I said it was constant. After a while, you’re like “Why am I here?! We’ve done this already! THERE’S NOTHING LEFT!” Even without the bathroom, the longer the sickness goes on, the more you chastise your white blood cells for being no-good slackers who eat too many donuts. And you promise yourself to eat more Vitamin C (unless there’s soda and candy nearby).
Pregnancy also never ends. Okay, it does, but after forty weeks. Forty freaking weeks! I nearly strangled myself with my poisoned intestines after a couple hours! But even just the labor portion can take forever. I mean in the movies, they check in, scream a while, then push and bam, there’s a baby. When did TV start showing fiction? Because some deliveries take over 24 hours. Over a freaking DAY of labor!
Holy freaking heck, man!
4. Accidents Happen
We were at my parents’ house when my wife was in the early months of her pregnancy. We were telling stories and laughing when suddenly my wife got up and went to the bathroom. My sister-in-law asked if she was okay, so I went after her and asked. It turned out coughing had made her pee herself a little bit. I covered for her, but yeah, I laughed a little.
Skip ahead a few months, I got a stomach bug and two fewer pairs of underwear. I don’t laugh anymore. You can’t trust it.
5. You Get Boring
Man, you can’t do much when you’re sick. I mean I like video games and catching up on The Legend of Korra (except when it sucks), but come on! Can I get off this couch please? I want to go do something that involves movement. This lower back pain is not getting any better and everything is either stiff or asleep. Everyone else is doing stuff and I have to stay home. I’m an introvert and even I’m getting cabin fever!
Apparently, having a bowling ball under your abs has the same effect. You can’t move like you used to, can’t lift a lot, can’t work much unless your job is extremely sedentary, and you’ve watched The Legend of Korra so many times that you start to realize it actually sucks more than you want to admit! All the world is doing its normal world stuff, but you’re stuck in an uncomfortable rut and nobody else can relate to or understand your pain.
Ladies, I understand (sorta). I only went through a tiny fraction of what you went through for a tiny fraction of the time and I was miserable! How do you do it for forty whole weeks and THEN do the hard part? That’s ridiculous!
All this stuff actually has given me an appreciation for my wife and the strength it takes to have a child. That’s why I don’t understand the “feminists” who refuse to have kids because traditional gender roles make women seem weak. What are you, high? Having a baby is the most bad-ass womanly thing a woman can do. It’s on a level men can’t even fathom, much less experience.
So men, if you see a woman who’s waddling with child or screaming obscenities at an OB, it may look like she’s very weak, but she’s not (vulnerable, maybe, but not weak). She’s actually showing a strength we guys tend to underestimate. So show her some respect, because when you think about all the things they go through, often many times, you’ll stand in awe at their might.
And ladies…dang! Just dang!
3 thoughts on “5 Ways Being Horribly Sick Helped Me Appreciate Pregnant/Laboring Women”
Well written, Mike! Nothing helps you appreciate somebody like walking (or waddling) in their shoes for a while.
Nothing provides empathy like projectile vomiting.
Laughing so hard right now.