Writer Jen Graves takes a long, circuitous, and self-involved look at pregnancy in the way that only someone writing for the Seattle indie paper The Stranger could. The gist of the piece: an unexpected pregnancy and an even more unexpected early miscarriage got her thinking how much better it would be if her boyfriend Patrick were the one getting pregnant instead.
In addition to her and Patrick's own experience--and experimentation with a pregnancy-simulating Empathy Belly--Graves meanders through the cultural and scientific history of male pregnancy and the impact of entrenched gender bias on dad-related research. If you can hang in there, there are some very interesting finds.
For example, the 9-years-and-counting project Taiwan-born artist Lee Mingwei's documenting on his website, MalePregnancy.com. Then there's A Slightly Pregnant Man, a 1973 film by Jacques Demy from 1973, with Marcello Mastroianni in the title role and Catherine Deneuve as his wife. According to Graves' synopsis, Mastroianni's performance is the pinnacle of cinematic nonchalance and refreshing enlightenment regarding gender, pregnancy, and parenting--until the end where the whole thing turns out to be global hysteria brought on by militant feminism. [spoiler alert, sorry. The real story is how Deneuve had just divorced after giving birth to her lover Mastroianni's baby, and so she asked Demy to cast them together.]
On a more serious front, the Empathy Belly thing sounds like a no-win no-brainer to me; if you're living with an actual pregnant person, I'm not sure three hours of backache and pee breaks can engender enough empathy to offset the potential resentment that could result when you get to take the vest off. [Anyone have any Empathy Belly stories they'd like to share?]