Friends and family, we are so excited to announce that we are pregnant! Yes, both of us, pregnant. My wife, Minerva, whose body is furiously at work creating and housing a new human being from a microscopic cluster of cells, and me, equally pregnant with joy.
We are so excited for this journey, and also a little scared. After all, pregnancy can take a serious toll on one’s body. Already, aching, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting are some of the ailments I have experienced while coming to grips with parenthood. Soon, our stomachs will swell, hers with a growing fetus, and mine with alcohol and unpasteurized cheese, for which I will develop insatiable pregnancy cravings. Our ankles and back may ache from the added weight, but we men are capable of enduring great pain to support the new life forming outside of us.
To prepare our bodies for the demands of labor, Minerva will eat a balanced diet, attend a gentle yoga class, and learn a variety of controlled breathing techniques, while I will practice absentmindedly scrolling through memes on my phone from a distant room. On our obstetrician’s suggestion, I have also begun sleeping eleven hours and treating myself to a weekly prenatal massage.
When the big day arrives, we will have our hospital bag packed with a few changes of clothes, toiletries, essential oils to help me relax during labor, and noise-cancelling headphones that I can wear while Minerva screams at me to put down the goddamn Snapchat and help her push our seven-pound child through our softball-sized cavity. Although we prefer a natural birth, we won’t turn down an epidural if our contractions become too much for us to bear.
Even after we’ve given birth, the work will have just begun. While Minerva will be breastfeeding for twenty-three hours a day, I will be feeding our baby’s mind 24/7. From his first moment, our baby will be constantly absorbing my every word. “This is an apple,” I’ll say. “These are kitchen shears. This is an angry woman threatening divorce.” Wow, even just thinking about the stresses that new fathers face makes me exhausted. From my personal experience, being pregnant is difficult, but being a father might be even harder. The fact that men have been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years is nothing short of miraculous.
What was I saying? Sorry, I lost my train of thought. Damn pregnancy brain!
Oh right, miraculous. Yes, there is no other word to describe the way that life is created from nothing more than a delicate, luminous egg cell and a single, clumsy sperm, blindly pinballing its way up the fallopian tube like an out-of-control Roomba. There will be trials ahead, of course, but Minerva and I have always been a team, each making an equal contribution, like the forty weeks she will spend carrying our child in her womb and the forty seconds I spent vigorously thrusting my hips and thinking about baseball. Our journey through pregnancy may seem daunting now, but much like the intercourse that led to it, it will be over before we know it.