Being Pregnant, Lesson One

First, you'll need an actual pregnant woman (APW) for reference. 9 months along or so, if you can find one in such a state.


Now, take your APW for a walk and observe her techniques. A mile or so through some snowy woods should suffice. Make a mental note of her huffing and puffing, frequent pauses, and overall poky pace. Help her along when needed. (It goes without saying that you should be thanking her profusely for agreeing to go on the walk in the first place.)

The following day, locate a burden approximately equivalent in size to the burden carried by the APW. If she's bearing, for example, an additional 40 pounds, try to obtain an object as close to this mass as possible. (Technically, you should size it up so your extra weight is the same percentage of your original size as hers is to hers.)

Check. (Sort of. A standard cinder block, which I can only assume this is, weighs 29 lbs. To be as loaded down as Lope, I'd have needed 51. But I don't know if the backpack straps could have withstood that.)

Fasten the burden to the front of your body and attempt to stand upright. Situate the straps so the weight is roughly centered on your abdomen, and proceed to the woods. Cover the same trails you walked with the APW the day before.



Take embarrassingly frequent rests, during which you receive strange looks, but no commentary, from passersby. Nobody wants to ask the guy with a cinder block on his chest what he's up to.

Notice how badly, and quickly, your lower back hurts. Observe the constriction of your lungs -- almost as if a great weight were pressing down on them, which it is. When you approach even the slightest downward slope, maintain intense awareness that you can't see your feet, and that your top-heavy weight distribution makes you a decent analogue of a pack mule or a dump truck.

See how far down the ground suddenly seems, and what a pain it would obviously be to get back up if you fell.

Become suddenly thirsty, and start looking for a patch of fresh snow to consume.

Sigh with disappointment at how far away all the snow on the ground is, and resolve to find some that has settled on a more convenient smorgasbord. Preferably waist-high, at minimum.

Greedily shove the snow into your face, panting to melt it quickly in your mouth and gulping down the freezing hydration. Forget to brush it out of your beard, where it will quickly refreeze in the 18-degree air.

Waddle further down the trail while bending slightly backward, trying to balance the downward pressure constantly threatening to drag you to the ground.

Remove hats, gloves and other clothing now causing you to overheat from the extra effort.

Resolve to finish the walk despite the surprising difficulty and unpleasantness, because what are you, some kind of a wuss? Your pregnant wife did this same circuit, just yesterday! Carrying more weight than you are!

Arrive back at the car sweaty and exhausted, setting down your temporary pregnancy with an immodest heave onto the passenger seat. Fly backward from the car and wobble around the parking lot, suddenly unencumbered by the 29 lbs you bore for a whopping half hour. Marvel anew at the feat being accomplished on a daily basis by millions of women all over the world.

Go home and rub your wife's back.



Anonymous said...

ahem... this was a noble effort and all and I totally applaud you. But now contemplate squeezing the cider block out your hooha. Whoa, Daddy!

selfishly: Am thrilled Lope did not drop the cinder block whilst I was away! Am totally relying on you to convey the news to me the moment it happens (or you know, as soon as you can afterward as I think you are kind of a critical part of the process and all)!!!!

Love to all of you!!!xoxoxoxo

Megan said...

This was great! Such in-depth reporting! Be gentle with yourself though...at least that cinder block doesn't appear instantly for us women. But yes, a lot to carry around toward the end!

Hello, I'm Ryan Noel. said...

Oh man, Colin. I started reading this down stairs, but after reading the first couple of lines and clicking on that pic of Lope in Carhart (?) coveralls, I knew it was something to be shared with Sarah.

I did my best to stifle the laughter as I walked through little-s's room and up the stairs. I managed to make it all the way to the bed without snickering, but when I cracked the MacBook open it all came loose. I literally chucklesnorted my way through most of your entry. I managed to gather myself at the end and ponder what amazing creation Woman is. But, then when I saw the actual footage of your trek... chucklesnort-fest was on again.

Women truly are amazing. I might have told you this already, but I'll mention it again. After I saw Sarah go through labor and child birth, she can make liberal use her "I Gave Birth To Your Baby" card. She earned it. It was the single-most amazing display of courage and determination I'll ever see.

You go, Lope!

Colin said...

Penny mentioned that too, Megan -- the gradual accumulation of weight as opposed to stuffing it all in a pack and slinging it onto your torso. She also requested that I not try this experiment during a walk with her! She was absolutely right, too, since there's no way I could have helped her through the steep or slippery parts while wearing the block.

Another big difference is that when I came home, I got to sit down and enjoy a nice beer of self-congratulation. Poor Penelope gets nothing of the sort.

And as for you, Wee: Whoa! I don't even technically *have* a hooha, and still I recoiled visibly upon reading what you're contemplating.

Rest assured that you're on the list and will be among the very first to know when the little one arrives!

Anonymous said...

Penny told me about your "experiment" when I talked to her yesterday...what a riot! I can't believe you really did it! Your thrilling account, in addition to Penny's snowshoe-like feet (bare), and her tales of exploding raspberries on her face, constant pressure on her lungs and other organs, as well as not being able to sleep comfortably for like, the past two months, have served as live birth control for me :) I think it's very admirable and honorable that you tried to literally put yourself in her shoes. It will make you appreciate the labor and birth that much more :)


-T- said...

Good stuff Colin. We wear gear high on the back for a reason!

Magnoliawhispers said...

you probably should've added 2 small bricks for the boobies and wet towels around your feet to get the total effect, but I admire your effort to relate to the feelings

Kimberly said...

Wonderful! Now imagine your pubis symphsis getting softened by all the extra hormones in your system. Kinda feels like all your insides are gonna start falling out, or your pelvis is breaking a part. Makes walking in the snow even more fun. Then add pushing the cinder block out of your theoretical Va- J- J and you are in business. Well almost!

You crack me up. I tried to get my hubby to do this especially when I measured 40 weeks at about the 6.5 months. I am not sure how many cinder blocks he would have had to carry for twins. It would have been worth watching though.

You deserve some serious brownie points. Thanks for the much needed chuckle.

- Kimberly

jikam82 said...

Oh I am so going to make James do this when I'm prego! Colin you are awesome! :)

laurowens said...

i love that you did this. This coupled with your speech at the shower has gained you best brother-in-law bragging rights for sure!
You are a fabulous uncle and I can't wait to see you in action as a father...

Jessica said...

Bravo. I am newly unpregnant, otherwise I would have forced Ben to undergo this sort of sympathetic ordeal. Now I'm too tired to force him to do anything other than be the one to get up. Want to score some additional husbandy bonus points? The book "Mothering the New Mother" is fantastic for insights into that somewhat strange after-pregnant land the two of you will soon be entering. Enjoy this liminal time waiting for your new small person : )

Josh said...

What a beautiful baby brick. My heart aches with joy when I see his stony face.

May his smile be a light in your life, and may he deliver you many grand-bricks in the distant future!

coloredsock said...

what a great post Colin. patrick sympathizes by giving daily massages but admits if it was him who had to have the baby, we'd be adopting all our offspring. also, maybe a 40 pound water bottle might have been more the feeling...and yes, the gradual gain does help in getting use to it all, but i'm pretty dang lucky at 8 months not bearing so much (yet). and when i do, i won't compain cause i know penny bore more! still, walking a good hour in the snow every day has me right there with you--especially the dire need for clean snow to drink! and, the only thing i'd add, are the 4 or so, insto belly contractions within the hour that demand that you immediately unsuit and pee, no matter if you're in sight of anyone or not. y'know, those "pee emergencies" very similar to "food emergencies". hee. i know all about those...

i'm so so excited for you and penny and your little one coming so soon! can't wait to meet her on line...