Friday, July 13, 2007

We're Pregnant!

We Are Not Pregnant

I've heard this phrase—"We're pregnant"—too much recently, but it's time to move beyond sarcasm. The intent is as understandable as the execution is absurd. It arises out of the noble desire of men (and future fathers) to participate fully in the childrearing. And I understand that for many men, it simply means, "My wife and I are expecting a baby."

But the first dictionary meaning of pregnant remains, "Carrying developing offspring within the body." Whenever a word is misused, it means the speaker is unaware of the word's meaning, or that the cultural meaning of a word is shifting, or that some
ideology is demanding obeisance. Probably all three are in play, but it's the last reality that we should pay attention to. It is not an accident that this phrase, "We're pregnant," has arisen in a culture that in many quarters is ponderously egalitarian and tries to deny the fundamental differences of men and women.

This phrase is most unfortunate after conception because it is an inadvertent co-opting of women by men—men using language to suggest that they share equally in the burdens and joys of pregnancy. Instead, pregnancy is one time women should flaunt their womanhood, and one time men should acknowledge the superiority of women. Men may be able to run the mile in less than four minutes and open stuck pickle jars with a twist of the wrist, but for all our physical prowess, we cannot carry new life within us and bring it into the world. To suggest that we do is a slap in the face of women.

It is also a slap in the face of our Creator, who made us male and female. We were not created with interchangable parts or traits, nor is it our purpose to duplicate or replace one another...

He says that studies show what common sense could have predicted. Mothers have a distinctive advantage over fathers in at least three areas.

  1. Breastfeeding. Along with pregnancy, this is another biological difference that can hardly be gainsaid. Breast milk offers infants sugars, nutrients, and antibodies that can't be recreated in infant formula. It also protects infants from at least eleven serious maladies, from ear infections to sudden infant death syndrome.
  2. Mothers—probably partly due to the physical bond they have with infants
    during pregnancy and breastfeeding—are more sensitive to the distinctive cries of infants. For instance, they are better than fathers at detecting the difference between a cry of hunger and cry of pain.
  3. Whether it's hormones or instinct, mothers are better at overall nurturing behavior, including hugging, praising, and cuddling.
In short, women are better at these behaviors, and it shouldn't surprise us
that they enjoy nurturing children. We all like to do things we do well and that
come naturally...

Am I the only one who wants to slap this person? Ok, that may be harsh...am I the only person who is offended? Yes, God created us as two different genders. We're meant to compliment each other as partners. BUT, using "we" in stating pregnat I think is a statement recognizing that it took the two of us. There are too many fathers out there that aren't involved in their children lives, or worse, that want to destroy the life they've helped create, because they see it as the mother's problem, not theirs.

THEN this writer, who, by the way, is a man, goes on to explain that the mother is a better parent than the father. (Side note: at first I thought the writer was some feminist...knowing it's written by a guy makes me think it's written for the sole excuse of getting out of child support or making time to be a dad.) What about all the broken homes where the father is the only parent the child has? Yes, women are in general more nurturing, but the father is definitely needed. I feel sorry for this guy's kids!

Fathers can definitely be involved with the baby during pregnancy! It's an opportunity for both the mother and father to bond as well. My husband reads to our baby, talks to him, and we even get to share in the baby's movements. These are some of my favorite moments, just laying next to him, with his hands on my tummy, feeling the baby move and loving on him. He also hasn't missed a midwife or doctor appointment, so he's seen each ultrasound and been able to ask questions and hear about the development, and took the Bradley birth class with me, learning all about what women go through in pregnancy and how to help and be involved. He is the one person I will need with me during the labor.

I've heard so many stories of how a baby can recognize a father or sibling's voice because they were speaking to the baby while the baby was still in the womb. This is evidence bonding is real, it simply takes effort. I think that dads can learn to tell the why the baby is crying as well, it just takes effort. For most cookie cutter families, where the mom is able to stay home and the dad goes back to work, I can see why it may be easier for moms to discern the baby's cries...she spends more time with the baby! Quality time and bonding is what gets you in tune with your baby.

So, I said it and mean it - WE're pregnant...it took two of us to make this kid and the two of us are committed to getting to know our baby as intimately as possible in bonding and quality time.

*(A random point, I don't understand how breastfeeding prevents SIDS...unless you're co-sleeping as well.)

2 comments:

Gombojav Tribe said...

All the "why's" have not been worked out. But, it is a fact that breastfeeding protects against SIDS.

(btw, I didn't care for this guy's article either! When you posted it I was thinking, "Does Heather agree with this?" Then came your thoughts and I thought, "Oh, good!" LOL)

Flo Oakes said...

Ha ha!! I TOTALLY thought the same thing as Daja, "Oh weird that she thinks this"!
How weird that they attack this phrase, because I always like thinking of my husband and I as ONE flesh..you know..like the bible says??