Mila Kunis Is Right: Dudes, Stop Saying 'We're Pregnant'


Pregnancy is a lot of things: A joy, a pain, a blessing, a curse. One thing it’s not is simultaneously experienced physically by the dude who knocked you up, or whoever your partner in this crime is. So unless the you is two women who are actually both pregnant simultaneously, do us all a favor and stop saying “We’re pregnant.”

I know, I know, when dudes/partners say “We’re pregnant” it is supposed to be regarded as a triumph in sympathy and unity, a sign that dudes finally get it — you both made this baby, and he is so committed to the child-rearing that will ensue that he’s willing to completely violate the semantic rules of biology to prove it. Why, used to be, dudes didn’t even have to be in the room when you delivered! That’s how disconnected from the experience of gestation they once were!

Not everything new is good, OK? Not everything in the spirit of the thing is good for the thing, dig? And not everything that “basically means” something means the same something you think it does. This is one of those things. So when you say “We’re pregnant” but you mean “We’re having a baby,” or “We’re expecting” it is not the same. Because if you can say “We’re Pregnant!” and then literally turn around and mainline heroin while eating deli turkey, sushi, doing shots, and punching yourself in the gut with no risk to the fetus, you aren’t pregnant.

And so when Mila Kunis did a little funny monologue on Kimmel recently about how dudes should stop saying we’re pregnant because they’re not actually pregnant, I was like, yup, speak it, Kunisaurus:

“Hi, I’m Mila Kunis with a very special message for all you soon-to-be fathers. Stop saying, ‘We’re pregnant. You’re not pregnant! Do you have to squeeze a watermelon-sized person out of your lady-hole? No. Are you crying alone in your car listening to a stupid Bette Midler song? No. When you wake up and throw up is it because you’re nurturing a human life? No. It’s because you had too many shots of tequila. Do you know how many shots of tequila we had? None. Because we can’t have shots of tequila. We can’t have anything. Because we’ve got your little love goblin growing inside of us.”

Quibble: 1. I prefer to think of it as a love hyena. 2. She misunderstands the whole squeeze a watermelon-sized person out of your lady-hole thing — it’s pushing really, not squeezing, and, sorry, but your lady-hole gets temporarily watermelon-sized, too — but her message is clear: Our experiences are different. Call a spade a spade.

And it’s OK for our experiences to be different, and really important for us to acknowledge that they are. Pregnancy emotionally happens to everyone but physically end emotionally happens to a woman (yes I know about sympathetic pregnancy but that is still not the same). Whether or not you are, or aren’t, or want to be, or don’t want to be, or wish you could but can’t etc etc is a defining aspect of being in a female body. Um, what do you think the main source of female oppression is? Softer skin? No, it’s pregnancy.

Pregnancy, AKA a critical fucking distinction in our bodies, is a huge part of why women have, on the whole, been discriminated against. Pregnancy renders woman immobile, dependent, vulnerable, and it has been used as a reason to not trust them, to outright murder them, or to simply refuse to give them good jobs and/or raises.

This is not said to diminish a man’s experience during his wife’s pregnancy or to suggest it doesn’t matter, doesn’t affect him, doesn’t vastly alter his life, sense of himself, understanding of the world, feelings about the universe, his relationships, identity and all the things that having babies come into the world does for all of us. It’s an enormously important role. But it’s a supporting role, ultimately, and there’s just something a smidge glommy about a dude’s well-intentioned but entitled, oversteppy desire to call an experience unique to women his own by virtue of being there when it happens.

Not surprisingly, a dude who has never been pregnant has fired back (humorously) to Kunis’s monologue:

In “Yes, Mila Kunis, WE Are Pregnant,” he writes:

“We’re pregnant” means “We’re having a baby.” It means, “As a dad, I’m excited as hell.” It means, “This is actually happening.” But most importantly, when I say “We’re pregnant,” I’m letting everyone know that even though I’m not carrying the baby, I’m fully invested.

Great, so your idea of fully invested means literally experiencing? No.

His uterus-free body continues:

I’ll be at all the OB visits, I’ll read the baby books, and I won’t come near you with that smelly food that doesn’t even really smell but you think it smells so I’ll eat in the basement to avoid you vomiting for the 456th time.

Totally great, awesome, revolutionary, needed, loved, applauded and yet, not pregnant.


Even though I didn’t go through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth, I was with my wife every step. Holding her hair back through the nausea, holding her hand through contractions, and getting her Kit-Kats and grapefruit (yes, seriously) when she had cravings.

Yes, seriously, if Vera Nabokov was like, “I didn’t write my husband’s novels, but I was so devoted to him, editing his ‘scripts and getting him tea, and encouraging him every step of the way, WE ARE NOVELISTS,” we’d be like, #nope.

If the friends and family of a cancer sufferer shaved their heads and said WE HAVE CANCER we might be like, nice idea, but no, and stop diminishing the uniqueness of the sufferer’s experience or placing your support of it on the same level as actually going through it. Only one of you is really at risk here.

Back to not-pregnant pregnant guy:

While I’m not a professional athlete, I am a lifelong Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan. Fanatic, actually. I’m a crazy person with my sports. That means I sat through the dark years of the Sox and the even darker pre-2001 era of the Patriots. I invested money in the team via tickets and merchandise, I subscribed to the local cable channel that shows the baseball games, I brought them good fortune through a bevy of “lucky” trinkets that absolutely influenced the outcome of games, and I lived and died on every pitch and play.
So despite never donning a Sox jersey or strapping on football pads, guess what I said when my favorite teams won their respective championships?

OK hold the phones: You know what this is called? There’s a term for it. It’s called Basking in Reflected Glory. It’s called BIRGing, OK? Look it up. It’s the my-child-is-an-honor-student of pregnancy. It’s where you associate yourself with winners, because you want to be a winner. You didn’t win anything or do the real work of winning, and your support definitely matters (better say that one bajillion times), but it’s not the same.

It’s just different, OK? Don’t BIRG on pregnancy. My husband also has the same kid I do, but he doesn’t have stretch marks for life. He fed the baby, but he didn’t nurse her from his own body thus experiencing twelve to fifteen different boob sizes a day for years (I still have no idea what size my boobs are, you guys). He cherished our child’s growth and development in utero, but he didn’t gain any weight, cry more than once about the exact temperature of a meatloaf, rock 12 hours of induced contractions without pain meds or piss himself whenever he sneezed, get unimaginably painful ear zits, wake up for months with wicked heartburn, or experience PPD-lite, the fro-yo to PPD’s ice cream.

Support is great, but let’s not mince undercooked meat here. Saying “we’re pregnant” overshadows that there is a person doing life-threatening, body-changing work right beside you that is not you, work that you can’t feel, that you probably can’t understand, and that has real fucking consequences for only that body directly, and you indirectly. You care a lot, you’re affected, you’re invested, but so how about caring by constantly acknowledging the differentness of your woman’s experience and risk in pregnancy? THAT IS SUPPORT, GUY.

Not-pregnant guy says, “If you have a supportive and doting partner, is this really the hill you want to die on while quibbling over semantics?”

No, but since you pointed it out, dying is one more thing a pregnant woman could do simply by virtue of being pregnant that won’t happen to you by holding her hair while she voms. Just sayin’.

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