Photo Credit: TODAY
I have the best husband on the planet, but when I was pregnant for a collective 560 days, I didn't get much sympathy from him. I mean, he'd ask me how I felt (horrible! achy! flatulent!) and if I needed anything (a wheelbarrow and an anti-gravity chamber would be nice), but what I really wanted was a little empathy. The anti-gravity chamber might have been a more realistic wish.
Writer Benjamin Percy attempted to experience the untold joys of pregnancy and wrote about it in the March issue of GQ. For nine long weeks (please re-read that bit with a heavily sarcastic tone) Percy donned a 33-pound prosthetic "pregnancy suit" complete with swollen breasts and a massive gel-shaped dome of a belly and wore it around the clock.
"I do push-ups in my pregnancy suit," Percy wrote. "I mow the lawn in my pregnancy suit. I chop wood in my pregnancy suit. I read the newspaper in my pregnancy suit and rest a steaming mug of coffee on the belly. I sweat in the pregnancy suit -- horribly -- and I develop a rash and begin to smell fungal. I do not have sex in the pregnancy suit." (Really? Thirty-plus extra pounds didn't make you feel like a hot, horny teenager? Go figure!)
As you would imagine, women weren't exactly lining up to present the bogus man-mom with any awards. Percy admits he was surprised. "When I first agreed to this experiment, I thought women would respect me for it, pat me on the back, and say what a sweet, understanding man I am," he said. "Instead they seem to take glee in my discomfort and relish pointing out the suit's inadequacies."
Let's face it: No strap-on suit could ever mimic the hormonal roller coaster ride that is pregnancy. It can't give you indigestion, random bloody noses, swollen cankles, chronic yeast infections, broken blood vessels or the desire to scrub your baseboards at 2 am. It can't make your sense of smell so powerful that you feel nauseous when your three-doors-down neighbor innocently decides to sauté some spinach. And at the risk of pointing out the blazingly obvious, nine weeks is a far cry from nine months.
Still, at least Percy made an effort. And in doing so, he learned a valuable lesson -- one that won't surprise most women who have tread the gestational path before him. "I learned that I’m not man enough to be a woman," he told the TODAY show. "This suit just underscored that."
Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer, TED speaker, and the author of five books including If It Was Easy They'd Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-so-handy Man You Married. Find her at JennaMcCarthy.com.