Upon the news of our pregnancy, I did what any 21st century expectant father worth his smartphone would do–I went to the app store to see what apps were available to guide me through the process of this nine-month miracle.
In terms of free options1, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” seems to have the market cornered, so my wife and I both downloaded the app.
I was disappointed, but not shocked, to see that most of the content in the app is dedicated to expectant mothers. Even if you sign up as a male, expectant father when you log into the app, nothing really changes. Everything is still directed at mothers.
And that’s fine, I guess.2
But imagine my delight today when I received an email from the app directing me to the What to Expect website for a story entitled A Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy: Month 4. Hey, that’s for me! After reading the article however, it most certainly was not what I was expecting and definitely was not for me.
Like so much of popular culture today, the article–on a pregnancy preparation website from the so-called “world’s most trusted pregnancy brand”–reduces fathers to a minimal role in their wives’ pregnancies and offers advice to satisfy a stereotyped version of a husband and father that has previously only been conjured by the writing staff of King of Queens.
Let’s take a look at some of the essential advice the site believes I need to make it through the fourth month of my wife’s pregnancy.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Right out of the gate. I guess I missed last month’s advice, so let’s slow down a bit. They really think men need to be warned not to describe their pregnant wives as fat? This also seems to imply that men are freely describing their wives as fat when they’re not pregnant as well. At least they only want us to abstain from ridiculing our wives’ weight during pregnancy. I half expected this tip to end with “Don’t worry, men! There’s still plenty of time to throw around that F-word when she’s not pregnant.”
Ah, men. They’re so ridiculous. Always chasing thrills and looking for dangerous adventures. Those days are behind you, buddy. It’s time to trade in your Harley for a Diaper Genie, and you should probably stop zip lining to work. The baby needs you. Who else is going to tell your wife she’s getting fat if you’re not around to do it?
Ah, men. When they’re not riskily driving without a seat belt or verbally berating their wives’ weight, they’re climbing into bed and hoping to get lucky. Fortunately, this article has tips for ways to try to trick your wife into getting what you want! Take her outside for a walk and let the exercise burn off some of those excessive hormones that have been making her such a monster. By the time you get home, both of you should be fully transformed into the sitcom version of a married couple–a husband demanding sex from his withholding wife.
Clearly, I’ve saved the
best worst for last. If you are a husband and you read the above paragraph and aren’t left with your mouth hanging open in shocked horror, you probably aren’t a very good husband. This article is describing a man whose chief duty as a husband before the pregnancy was to tell his wife that she looks fat, go off on risky adventures and describe in detail to his wife what he finds attractive about other women on TV and in their neighborhood. This has got to be a prank post, right? Is it dated April 1st? Is it dated April 1st, 1953? This kind of schlock should be printed out and spread on the floor of a doghouse.
Even if there is a statistically significant percentage of men who behave this way–and sadly I’m sure there is–what kind of post is this to run on a respected pregnancy advice website? Especially when it’s one of the site’s only pieces of content for expectant fathers! As a man, I am offended by the stereotypical portrayal of my gender and the implied lack of respect for women. Shouldn’t all the women that frequent this site be offended as well?
I believe it’s time for me to find a new app to chart my baby’s progress and look elsewhere for pregnancy and parenting resources. If you’re an expectant parent, I would encourage you to do the same. Also, if you know of any better pregnancy apps (especially one that actually respects the father’s role in the process), feel free to leave a comment below.
Sorry for such an angry post. I’m sure the author of that article would insist that my wife’s crazy pregnancy hormones are rubbing off on me.