Pregnant Man: How Nature Makes Fathers Out of Men
By: Gordon Churchwell
Reviewed By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.
My wife recently became pregnant, and a male friend of mine, whose wife is also pregnant, suggested that I read a book called Pregnant Man, by Gordon Churchwell. I told him that it sounded like a foo-foo-betty book for men (foo-foo-betty being the name for my 3-year-old niece, who is the epitome of all female gender stereotypes). He assured me that he had read several books like that, but that this one was different. Since he was a friend that I trusted, I warily went out and bought the book.
The book is cleverly divided into nine chapters for each month of pregnancy. At first, I thought that each chapter would focus solely on the events that occurred during a particular month. Instead, Churchwell's style of writing seemed more like Adult ADD. His stream of consciousness writing would occasionally meander between the present, past and future (instead of just focusing on a particular month of pregnancy). And it would sometimes gets even more derailed by his sometimes-feeble attempts to be funny and smart.
Fortunately for Churchwell (and the reader), he does manage to offer several interesting insights into what it's like to be a father-to-be. He does a good job throughout the book describing experiences that most men will relate to, as seen in this excerpt:
" we were finally able to identify and actually voice our fears. We felt that having children put everything we held dear - our ambitions, our relationship, our emotional life, and yes, our lifestyle - at risk."
Another fact that I've become accustomed to during my wife's pregnancy is the blatant talk about female anatomy and bodily functions. Before, it was something that seemed more secretive and/or alluring (depending on the body part or function). However, now it seems that everything is an open book among my wife's friends and family. Churchwell writes the following about getting used to this new phenomenon:
"I'm trying to think about what I can compare it to in my own experience. For example, I'm trying to remember the last time I had a long conversation with a buddy about my penis, or the sensitivity of my nipples, or how my prostate feels a little tender when I pee, or how I had an unusually large and satisfying corkscrew-shaped bowel movement this morning."
Some might find this kind of honest humor low-brow, but I think it's hilarious, informative, and helpful. This is especially true for men who aren't sure how to deal with the experience of pregnancy. I recommend this book to pregnant wives who have husbands that are struggling through a pregnancy, and to fathers-to-be that are confused beyond all belief (which probably includes most men). If you don't think you'll mind the occasional scattered thought by the author, then you shouldn't have a problem reading Pregnant Man.