As gender equality makes its way into our everyday lives, a welcome change is taking place in the conventional dynamics of the man-woman relationship. And it will be unfair not to credit men who have progressively made this transition. There are enough men today who are ready to bend preset conventions and gender roles and happily so!
From metrosexuals to the hands-on dads, the change is evident. We see men equally participating in household chores, in raising children and supporting their partners in pursuing roles outside the sphere of the home.
From ‘I Am Pregnant’ To ‘We Are Pregnant’
As Hollywood’s sweethearts Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher embark upon their parental journey, the mother-to-be, in what seemed to be a very hormonal outburst, recently declared on a celebrity talk show that fathers-to-be do not have the right to say “We’re pregnant!!”. She went on to support her statement with how men do not have to go through the pain of childbirth, the hormonal upheavals and all the other things that women must endure during those special nine months. Mila clearly isn’t enjoying this trimester very much.
Parenthood is a phenomenal experience for both partners and it would be almost selfish to believe that men do not experience pregnancy, just because they are not actually carrying the child.
While by no stretch of imagination can anyone take away the glory of the woman as the bearer of a new life, we can at the same time accept that there are dads who are and want to be hands-on from the word go.
At some point during their pregnancy, all women feel cheated and vulnerable, having lost their body to someone else and the freedom to do with it as they please. At this point, it is the father-to-be who bears the brunt of it all, as he seemingly goes about things like life as usual.
Of course in the literal sense men do not get pregnant, but in reality, they are expecting too. Expecting and not knowing what to expect. In all fairness, the woman may feel more in control than the man, as she is directly connected with this new life, enjoying a nine-month lead on getting to know it and bond with it.
The expectant dad, on the other hand, is this guy without whom this life could not be conceived but is left on the periphery to experience what he can of this pre-parenthood phase. The confused soul is left to deal with things that he cannot really understand, as he witnesses mood swings and caters to unpredictable cravings at odd hours.
It must be overwhelming to see the same woman as your wife and child all wrapped in one. No wonder a lot of men feel neglected as the mom-to-be is inundated with attention, extra care, and even a baby shower, not to mention the endless supply of loving advice.
Let’s Cut The Daddys Some Slack!
As urban society slowly loosens itself from the shackles of stereotypes and prejudices, it is no wonder that we find doctors’ clinics and waiting rooms filled with both expecting parents. There was a time, not too long ago, when men did not accompany women to the “lady’s” doctor. Pregnant ladies were accompanied by their mums or mums-in-law or other female relatives. Today, from the first sonography to the labor room, the father is there and wants to be there.
Motherhood is a powerful gift. But by the third trimester, the wait seems unending, as the anticipation and pressure grow both physically and mentally. Most of us complain that the dads do not do enough, but do we let them do enough?
I guess it’s time for us mommies to let the daddies have their time in the sun. And Dads-to-be, whether you like it or not, these 9 months are as much yours as ours, for better and for worse!