Experiencing Pregnancy As A Man

People ask me a lot lately how the Wolf is doing with her pregnancy. It’s kind of like the new “How’s the weather?” or “What’s up?” because I have similarly unexciting information to share in response. The truth is that she just hasn’t had many challenges with the pregnancy so far. Aside from a quick bout of nausea while making dinner one night during the first trimester she’s been pretty peachy– cheerful disposition (enhanced by the confidence of knowing she is caring for a new life growing inside of her), eating healthily and with a normal appetite, maintaining relationships with friends by continuing to exercise and getting together for meals outside the home. She definitely is more tired than usual, she is slower on our evening dog walks around the neighborhood and takes frequent naps throughout the day and often likes to go to bed early.

But no wild changes in personality or emotions or other kinds of physical, mental or emotional instability.

I think that’s what I am having a hard time wrapping my head around. If pregnancy ever comes up in the plotline of a TV show or movie, there is usually a “Pregzilla” moment where the newly sassy, demanding and impossible-to-please woman shovels ice cream and other junk food into her mouth, emasculates the man by ordering him around town and the house on silly errands (which he hops to to prove his love and loyalty to mother and child) and generally just storms around the world raising hell and acting like your typical idea of a bitch. It falls nicely into that other man-woman stereotype where the two people enjoy nothing more than relating to sympathetic listeners of the same sex how knowingly horrible marriage and their spouses are, but, ah, the things we do for love!

I guess shame on me for thinking corrupt Hollywood ethics and bizarre leftist social agendas would make for accurate depictions of real human biology and sociology in media. We just aren’t experiencing that. For me, her pregnancy has been essentially “painless” so far, and I think I can say without being a jackass here that, all things considered, it’s been relatively painless for her, too. We’ve heard so many horror stories from others and none of it has happened.

Although we did have a chuckle the other day when we were watching something together and there was a “Pregzilla” moment on screen and I said, “How come you aren’t all hormonal and crazy like that woman?” and she looked at me and said, “Oh, I did some random crying right before you got home!”

I’m not sure if it’s diet, exercise, self-control, lifestyle or just luck but so far her pregnancy has been a civilized experience for both of us.

(For the Wolf’s perspective, check out Experiencing Pregnancy as a Woman)

Modern Feminists Can’t Think Straight About Pregnancy

From “Get the Epidural” at NYT.com:

No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”

First, women get root canals done, too, so this is terrible gender-baiting. Second, a root canal is a medical procedure designed to treat a diseased tooth, while a vasectomy is an elective surgery designed to prevent a man from transmitting his sperm during intercourse.

Pregnancy isn’t a disease and neither is the process of giving birth. The attempt to analogize between disease treatment, elective surgery and the very natural process of experiencing a pregnancy and a birth after sexual intercourse fails miserably, in this case.

Now, two completely separate questions are: 1.) Is it “desirable” to experience the pain of child birth if you can avoid it by injecting drugs? and 2.) Does anything in the drugs administered during an epidural a.) represent some kind of toxic risk to mother or child b.) potentially inhibit hormone-release and other natural processes within the process of birth that might further complicate either the birth itself or the natural bonding of the mother with her newborn?

But to inquire about such issues thoughtfully, one wouldn’t be able to write an angry NYT op-ed. And one certainly couldn’t eat a sugary cookie with the resultant unnaturally stimulated mental state it might entail!

As such, our motto here will continue to be, “If you find it in the NYT, treat it to an extra dose of skepticism!”

Kombucha During Pregnancy

Kombucha is a very well-loved drink in our household; we drink a bottle almost daily, especially after we started brewing our own! When I became pregnant, I wanted to make sure kombucha was okay to continue drinking, especially since it usually contains trace amounts of alcohol due to the fermentation process (by the action of yeasts on the sugar in kombucha).

A quick Google search proved fruitless, as only two websites discussed this issue in a more thoughtful manner. One website was from a fellow homebrewer who drank kombucha during her pregnancy and experienced no ill side-effects, although she cautioned pregnant women anyway. Another website was a mommy forum, where various women who were kombucha drinkers before pregnancy recommended against kombucha due to its mild alcoholic properties. These websites were a good start, but I knew there had to be more information out there, given that fermented drinks are common in traditional societies where pregnancy also occurs.

So far, I’ve found our homebrewed kombucha tastes better than ever during my pregnancy! Being pregnant during the summer is not for the weak, and a glass of chilled, bubbly kombucha has been a very refreshing pick-me-up (and also satisfies my need for something a little sweeter and more flavorful than water). And if you were like me, a pick-me-up was necessary quite often during my first trimester because I felt fatigued every single day for three months! Kombucha helped supply me with mineral ions that were depleted during perspiration, and I learned recently that kombucha is even better than plain water at quenching thirst because it contains dilute sugars and electrolyte of minerals, which are absorbed faster and retained longer than plain water (a fact used to encourage the drinking of commercial sports drinks, but if you read the ingredients on these labels, you’ll see that they contain A LOT of sugar and not many electrolytes).

Kombucha also aids in digestion because it contains lactobacilli, lactic-acid, and enzymes. I noticed my dietary habits changed as my pregnancy began: I ate less at mealtimes, but I wanted to eat throughout the day (many pregnancy advisors will suggest eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of big meals because progesterone slows your digestive system). I’ve been drinking kombucha almost consistently throughout my pregnancy so I don’t have a control to compare this experience to, but I know that I’ve experienced less constipation so far, and I believe it’s due to kombucha! Furthermore, the only time I ever experienced morning sickness (in the evening) was when I was not drinking kombucha and had not drunk any for a week or two (because our batch had spoiled from a gnat invasion when we were out of town). That evening, I felt extremely nauseous and vomited my lunch over multiple trips to the bathroom. The only thing I wanted at that time was something ginger-y, so my husband went and bought some of GT’s ginger-flavored kombucha. Since then, I have resumed drinking kombucha almost daily (approximately 6-8oz once or twice a day), and I have not experienced nausea again. A few weeks later, I was reading Sally Fallon’s cookbook and learned that kombucha, with its liver-supporting properties, can help prevent morning sickness!

If you’re pregnant and want to drink kombucha but are worried about the alcoholic fermentation, you can minimize it by adding whey or a little sea salt! If you’re new to drinking kombucha, try a little bit first to make sure you and your baby like it 🙂

I learned a lot about kombucha from Sally Fallon’s cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.



Undisturbing Birth

According to G. Kloosterman, Dutch professor of obstetrics,

Spontaneous labor in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character. The only thing required from the bystanders is that they show respect for this awe-inspiring process by complying with the first rule of medicine–nil nocere [do no harm].

I found this quote in Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering and thought it was worth sharing.