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 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 morphing into miniature finger nails and butt cheeks inside my belly. I might even measure the weeks in terms of how much less of my feet I can see as my tummy protrudes more and more, eclipsing those familiar appendages.
Without apology, I will flank my hump with headphones regularly so I can expose my fetus 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 a little to have my essential organs knocked around. I will also post an overwhelming number of click-baity photos of my whale of a self to social media so I can revel in every automatic “like” such pictures generate. Finally, it’ll be my turn to get some 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 mom friends about the bacne, hair loss, incontinence, exhaustion, vomiting, soreness, and insomnia.
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 about what you can and cannot eat, drink, or apply to your nails and hair. Too many pregnant women are judged by total strangers for their personal choices: Is that coffee caffeinated?! Is that water bottle BPA free?! You realize there’s mercury in salmon, right?!
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 to fret over the most dreadful possible due date outcomes, too. Why? Because when you’re dead sober, your mind has lots of time to wander.
Limiting a woman’s alcohol consumption right when she’s forced to cope with all the shit 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 nearly 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.
Why bother?!?!?!?! Most likely because “We want kids,” right? But where’s the other adult in this build-a-family equation?
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.” Just as the onus of birth control tends to fall on women 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. Post squirting, the sperminator’s role is laughably non-existent for a year or so.
But there’s a way we can even things out a little! I call it sympathy sobriety, and it’s a beautiful concept, really.
Drinking less out of solidarity is the least a man can do for his impregnated partner, isn’t it? 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, consider pledging sympathy sobriety. Or don’t, dick.