In perhaps the most hysterical but endearing experiment in the history of dads, three men from London have become pregnant. Meet Steve Hanson, Jason Bramley, and Jonny Biggins. Each is a 40-something father and they share a peculiar interest: what life is like when you’re pregnant. The “3 Pregnant Dads,” as they are now indelibly known, decided to each don a 33-lb “empathy belly” and live, more or less, as if they are pregnant for a month. It sounds a little like the setup of a summer Judd Apatow film, and these three guys are arguably funnier.
The “3 Pregnant Dads” are nearly halfway through their “ninth month” of gestation. Naturally, everyone wants to know what put this crazy idea in their heads in the first place. The notion sprang forth from a conversation around updating another project, The Book of Mum, which is a personalized book celebrating mothers (and, incidentally, makes a killer Mother’s Day gift). One person made a comment and the discussion careened in an unexpected direction. Before they knew it, the male trio was agreeing to become pregnant, sort of, for a fortnight.
The dads are copiously chronicling their adventures in pregnancy with daily video diaries. Carrying the extra weight of expectancy has predictable consequences; the guys are all feeling aches and pains in places they didn’t previously know existed, and they’ve found that moving around isn’t as easy as it was before. Additionally, none of the three men is getting much sleep. With breasts and bellies bumping into things every time they turn around, the dads now realize something key about pregnancy: your body is no longer your own.
Interestingly, the pregnant dads are reporting some aspects of pregnancy that aren’t simply related to the extra weight. Mood swings, irritability, and even food cravings have been par for the course for the gents. It’s difficult to say whether that’s the placebo effect in action, or if they are doing something akin to channeling true pregnancy by really digging into their roles. They are, after all, real dads, and thus have burned into their memory the pregnancies that created their children. Although the dads didn’t experience those pregnancies firsthand, they were certainly aware of the life-altering effects of, well, creating life.
The dads find their “condition” to be a mixed bag of reactions from strangers they encounter face-to-face. Women, the dads observe, are largely supportive of the experiment (and understandably so), while male lookers-on seem to be more varied in their response. The online response is, probably, as to be expected. Comments on much of their large-coverage news coverage reveal an alarming and disturbing misogyny from both men and women, related not only to the 3 Pregnant Dads experiment, but also to being pregnant and giving birth in general.
Here are just a few notable statements the gentlemen have shared in their “pregnancy journals”:
Jason, Day 6: “The waitress in the local café where we frequent seems to be taking our pregnancy very seriously now and told me off for having a glass of wine. I informed her that I was born in 1970 and at that time my mother was certainly not worried about having a drink or two during her pregnancy so I was following her lead.”
Steve, Day 10: “To be honest it’s becoming quite tough. I don’t want any sympathy for this, as it is, what it is, and I agreed to go through with it. It’s just the same for some pregnant women I guess, it must be difficult for some to get on with a days work and what is effectively a day’s workout. I don’t have the hormones and all the other stuff, but I am definitely getting a little grumpy.”
Jonny, Day 12: “You know when you enter an airline and hope you’re not sitting next to the big fella who takes up two seats? Imagine the panicked passenger faces as we appeared. I sat for 2.5 hours wedged between two pregnant dads in an airline seat clearly not engineered for any pregnancy beyond the first trimester.”
As an online journalist, my job largely consists of writing about important news, collecting compendiums of expert advice, and creating useful tools to help people make their daily lives a little easier. Once in a while, I have the great pleasure to learn about events of the world which are simultaneously funny, touching, and inspiring. This crazy beautiful experiment is one of those things.
Images via 3 Pregnant Dads