real life

"F*ck sympathy weight gain, I want my partner to do just one thing when I'm pregnant."

Just as the onus of birth control tends to fall on females, so too does the entire, literal weight of pregnancy. 

I am a woman who wants a baby. Eventually. Probably. One day.

Hypothetically, there are a few things about pregnancy I’m looking forward to. I think it’ll be cool to watch my stomach swell more and more with each passing day. After testing positive for human zygote, I plan to stare at my naked body in a full-length mirror daily – first facing straight ahead, then in profile – so I can assess the silhouette of my increasingly unrecognizable figure while appreciating the weirdness of the reality that clumps of cells are gradually developing into miniature finger nails and butt cheeks within the piñata of my belly. I might even measure the weeks in terms of how much less of my feet I can see as my tummy protrudes further and further, eclipsing those familiar appendages.

drink when pregnant
“Pregnant women suffer so many indignities as their bodies are overtaken by the parasite they must host for nine months before confronting the brutality of giving birth.” Image via YouTube.

Without apology, I will flank my hump with headphones regularly so I can expose my embryo to classical music and smarty-pants-making books on tape. When the kicking starts, I imagine I’ll adore the spontaneous sensation, even if it hurts to have my essential organs shoved around by a foetus. I will also post an overwhelming number of clickbaity photos of my whale of a self to social media so I can revel in every automatic “like” such pictures elicit. Finally, it’ll be my turn to garner attention for no reason other than I’ve decided to procreate!

As psyched as I am about the perks, however, I’m not dumb to the fact that the process mostly sucks. Pregnant women suffer so many indignities as their bodies are overtaken by the parasite they must host for nine months before confronting the brutality of giving birth. I know from countless mum friends about the bacne, hair loss, incontinence, exhaustion, vomiting, soreness, and insomnia.

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Yet more frustrating than the assault on female biology, pregnancy involves pressure to follow society’s impossibly extensive list of better-safe-than-sorry rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot eat, drink, or apply to your nails and hair. The enlarged stomach set are often judged by total strangers for their personal choices: Is that coffee caffeinated?! Is that water bottle BPA free?! You realise there’s mercury in salmon, right?!

drink when pregnant
“As a lady who likes to unwind with a glass of wine or three per night, giving up the right to booze freely is the least appealing portion of the make-a-baby program.” Image via YouTube.

No cold cut eating bystander should feel justified suggesting to a woman that she may be inviting some disease or disadvantage upon an infant that doesn’t yet technically exist. Expectant mothers entertain enough unfounded concerns as it is. In between dreaming about spawning an Olympic athlete or a Nobel Prize winner, there’s plenty of downtime for women to fret over the most dreadful possible due date outcomes, too.

Why? Maybe because they’re dead sober, and bored as fuck.

Limiting a woman’s alcohol consumption right when she’s forced to cope with all the shit (actual and metaphorical) that comes with pregnancy and new parenthood may be the cruelest move on Mother Nature’s part. As a lady who likes to unwind with a glass of wine or three per night, giving up the right to booze freely is the least appealing portion of the make-a-baby program. (To be clear, I don’t plan to lay off the sauce entirely, but I don’t plan to drink as much as I like to while pregnant, either.)

Nine months is a long time. Tack on a few more months to account for breastfeeding if you’re inclined to play human cow, and you’re looking at one long, un-fun stretch of sobriety.

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Why bother?! Most likely because “We want kids,” right? But where’s the other adult in this build-a-family equation?

drink when pregnant
“But there’s a way we can even things out a little. The concept is: sympathy sobriety.” Image via YouTube.

If the father-to-be is in the picture, he gets to skip about town as always, feigning jealousy that his significant other is “the lucky one” who gets to experience “the miracle of life.” Sounds like a regular mother fucker, right? Just as the onus of birth control tends to fall on females – from the day they start menstruating to the day they decide to turn lovemaking into mating – so too does the entire, literal weight of pregnancy. The sperminator’s role is laughably non-existent throughout.

But there’s a way we can even things out a little. The concept is: sympathy sobriety.

Adopting a reduced booze policy out of solidarity is the least every fertilizer of a man can do for his impregnated partner. Wish you could experience the magic, dude? Here’s your chance! You too can understand what it’s like to be knocked up for three-quarters of a year – at least, you can sample one aspect of the oh-so-enchanting experience. All you have to do is endure the boredom that goes with not getting drunk for a while. Misery loves company, and a tired, hormonal pregnant woman probably loves a fellow teetotaler even more.

So if you’re about to be a daddy, don’t be a pussy. Pledge sympathy sobriety already.

Would you want your partner to give up alcohol during your pregnancy?

Mélanie Berliet is a New York City based writer who covers sex, love, relationships, and anything else that tickles her. Berliet’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many other major publications. She likes knee high tube socks more than a thumb-sucking 30-something probably should. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

This post was originally published on Thought Catalog and has been republished here with full permission.

For more on pregnancy, try these posts…

10 things about pregnancy nobody tells you (and that weren’t in the brochure).

The five unspoken stages of pregnancy.

Men experience what pregnancy is really like. Spoiler alert: They cannot deal.

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