I think I may be a bad person for loving this so much. But I have my reasons!
I’ve never given birth, but I’ve experienced pain verging on it. When your menstrual cramps are worse than kidney stones, and your doctor tells you that women who’ve had both babies and kidney stones said the stone were worse than labor, you can be relatively assured you’ve survived something approximating the most painful experience uterus-bearing people typically face. I’m willing to bet that there’s worse things, like maybe being on fire, but childbirth is generally considered to be pretty awful. Yet our culture tells women it’s beautiful, and wonderful, and they shouldn’t ask for pain relief because that will somehow cheapen the experience or something.
You know what, fuck that. I’ve always been a fan of epidurals. One of my coworkers told me about how she’d had one and been able to laugh at every contraction showing on the monitor, and that’s how I believe it should be, no shame. Miracle of modern medicine. Then I heard about the “ring of fire,” that horrible stretching and possibly tearing as the baby’s head passes through your vagina. And cervical tears. And perineal tears. And obstetric fistula. Now, if I ever become pregnant and am stupid enough not to get an abortion*, I am so demanding a c-section. We’ll even try to schedule it so that I don’t have to experience labor pain.
I’ve always wished cis men could give birth. I figured it would shut them right up about how delicate women are, and how tough men are. I’ve not met many men who could endure even one of my periods, much less soldier through month after month. I don’t think I know a single one who would make it through labor. But it’s really hard to explain to them what that pain is like. They don’t have the structures. The closest I’ve ever gotten to a good description was when a (remarkably, male) friend of mine said that I should be able to simulate it for the skeptical bloke in question by spread-eagling him on a hardwood-over-concrete floor and bashing his balls with a sledgehammer a few dozen times. Alas, this would result in permanent maiming, so it had to remain a thought experiment.
Then I found out that the miracle of modern science has given us a contraption that simulates contractions. It ain’t perfect, as cis men haven’t got a uterus, cervix, and vagina, with all of the unique sensations those bits are capable of, and the unique tortures they can force a person to endure. Damn it, tough, it’s good enough. I was just sad the video wasn’t in English. I’m a sadistic fucker who wanted to hear what those boys were screaming in my native tongue.
And now I can.
The Try Guys decided to try labor and motherhood. I find it faintly ridiculous, because men should already be experiencing a lot of “motherhood” – if they’re involved fathers, they’re going to be right beside their wife changing diapers, doing the midnight feedings, and walking around with a colicky baby praying for death because they are so tired they don’t think they can live another second. But being clueless gits is their schtick, so I just spent part of my afternoon on the porch laughing at their astonishment over how hard this raising an infant stuff is.
I was absolutely delighted, however, watching them endure simulated labor. This is a thing of beauty to me. Okay, mostly beauty – I know they volunteered, but there was no way they could know how severe the pain would be, and I hope this doesn’t constitute torture. Is it torture when you’ve volunteered and can opt out at any time? I felt bad, but then again, women don’t get to opt out – if they’re lucky, they’ll get pain meds, but some of them will encounter doctors or midwives who refuse them for philosophical reasons, or they’ll have a precipitous labor and not have time to get them. Dudes should know what this is like. Especially if they want us uterus-havers to keep popping out children.
So watch this video. Watch these tough young men scream and howl. Watch them literally tap out when the pain gets too much, as if they’re in an MMA cage having their arm twisted out of its socket or getting their necks crushed by meaty men.
Eugene has my entire respect. He’s the least likely to become a father, yet he’s hardcore enough to decide to do the thing right, and asks for electrodes to be attached to his taint. Out of all of them, he’s the one who comes closest to knowing what this pain is like. When I’ve had my worst cramps, I’ve felt like bits of me are simultaneously contracting and ripping down there. He’s felt that, too. He’s an honorary member of my Maniacal Menstrual Pain Club. Fuck yeah. And after this experience, he completely gets it:
“And now when I see women I’m just gonna say, “I am so sorry that people ever think that they can tell you what to do with your body because you have to deal with your own body already! And it wants to kill you!”
Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Now that the Try Guys have tried this out, think they can talk some Republican morality crusaders into hooking themselves up? That could change the world for women literally in an hour.
Enjoy the screenshots of two of the guys literally tapping out.
Epidurals for everyone!
*I have utterly no desire to ever be a mother. That hasn’t changed, despite about a month where I thought I was destined to become one before my native skepticism kicked in. I like being an aunty, but I absolutely do not ever want a baby of my very own. Since birth control sometimes fails, but I see no reason to remain celibate, I long ago fell in love with the idea of an abortion should the worst happen. If you don’t like abortion yourself, tough. It’s my uterus and I get to decide whether to remove unwanted cells.