Everything Pregnancy

Can a 33-Pound "Empathy Belly" Make a Dad Really Get What Pregnancy Is Like?

Three Pregnant Dads
My husband can only be described as a hero during the time I was pregnant with my twins. He fetched Tums, heating pads, ice packs, and all manner of discomfort therapies. He helped me walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and even helped turn me over in bed like a rotisserie chicken when I got too unwieldy as my third trimester wore on. It wasn't pretty, and he totally came through in the clutch.

That said, his experiences couldn't be compared to mine—obviously. Let's just say that late-stage pregnancy is something only a woman who's lived it can truly understand.

That's why I'm feeling pretty eye-rolly over here about a stunt, however good intentioned, from a few guys in Europe.

Three married dads, who are from England but work in Spain, are currently wearing pregnancy suits—complete with heavy bellies and breasts—as a way to empathize with their partners. They're planning to wear the suits, which weigh 33 pounds and simulate a nine-month-pregnant belly, for a month, only removing them to bathe.

The dads are behind a new book called Book Of Mum, and are documenting the experience in an online journal.

Through the experience, one noted just how difficult it is to do a mundane thing like put on socks. (Duh.) Another remarked just how hard sleep had become. (Double duh.) And another pondered the thought, "I wonder why pregnant women don't use wheelchairs. I have a chair in the office with wheels and this is a blessing. I can glide effortlessly across the office to my desired destination."

Well, I'll tell you what. Pregnant women sometimes do make use of wheels! From 32 weeks onward, I was mortified to be relegated to the motorized cart you find at big box stores. Walking was simply out of the question. But in my case, it wasn't a publicity stunt or a pat joke: It was a necessary adaptation to a real-life struggle.

So yes, I appreciate that the guys' intention was to honor their wives' experience through empathy. But pregnancy isn't a suit you can take off at the end of a month or whenever you feel like it—and certainly not to bathe. (Though, man, I would have loved that.) It's an experience that may be pleasant or unpleasant depending on the mom, but it's something you stick with for the duration until your baby is fully cooked, no matter if you feel uncomfortable, or pained, or just downright over it.

What do you think?

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/bookofeveryone

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