Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out

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!”

Screenshot shows Eugene with his back arched and his face contorted in a grimace of agony. One hand grips his balls, the other his partner's hand. One leg is lifted as he tries to endure the pain.
Try Guy Eugene in Stage 4 simulated labor.

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.

Image shows Zach with his jaw clenched and one hand in mid-tap. His other hand is tightly gripping his partner's.
Zach taps out.
Image shows Eugene tapping out with one hand, his legs writhing in the air.
Eugene taps 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.

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Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out
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14 thoughts on “Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out

  1. rq
    1

    I dunno. This whole bit is like one massive definition of privilege. Seriously, ‘tap out’? They really want to try it, they would have foregone the option to tap-out until the birth is complete. I bet it was all the easier on them psychologically knowing that (a) they would never die in this situation, (b) it would never actually happen to them and (c) they had the option of tapping out.
    Because even with an epidural, a woman’s life in childbirth is in danger, and there’s no tapping out of that.
    (And what about the bleeding?)
    So no, I’m not particularly entertained by these guys making real women’s pain into more entertainment (because really what they’re saying, oh look, we’re as tough as those childbearing women, come watch us suffer and be entertained!). But again, this is just my opinion as someone who has gone the natural, pain-medication-free childbirth route three times (and no, not exactly by choice, but for financial reasons, because yes, those bloody painkillers cost a heckuvabunch of money, so Epidurals For Everyone For Free should be the slogan – I bet poor women don’t have the same option of – hey! – ‘tapping out’ during childbirth as wealthier women do – but this is a problem with healthcare, so anyway).
    Maybe someone’s getting some education out of their videos, but I certainly am not particularly entertained. :/

  2. rq
    2

    Also, they miss out on two things:
    1) the 9 month prep work, complete with aching joints, water retention, back strain, low iron, and stabbing pain in the hips every time you roll over in bed; and
    2) the emotional roller-coaster of relief (because you’re about to not be pregnant anymore) and the fear of a process that can go easily wrong.
    But anyway. These are my thoughts.

  3. rq
    3

    Also, not just women with uteri, but all persons with a uterus, that should be more clearly stated in my first comment.

  4. 4

    Just wanted to chip in with a resounding YES to epidurals-or-pain-relief-of-choice (and personally I definitely say yes to epidurals) ON DEMAND AND FREE OF CHARGE; and also a resounding YES to abortion also on demand and free of charge. Having twice done both of these, as it ‘appens :-)
    No fucking way that anybody should be forced into this danger, pain and commitment against their will.
    .

    It’s my uterus and I get to decide whether to remove unwanted cells.

    QFFT

  5. 7

    RQ, I remember the same sort of criticism of the white person who wrote “BLACK LIKE ME” The dye would were off and the author could go back to being white.

  6. 8

    Re: painful menstruation
    I’ve heard that as long as a woman just keeps taking the active birth control pills rather than taking the placebo pills for a week, she does not menstruate. SFAIK this does no harm. Perhaps someone else reading this blog knows more.

    See also the story _Even the Queen_ by Connie Willis

  7. 10

    I am so with you on the menstrual thing. I used to spend the first day of every cycle in the bathroom vomiting contstanly from the pain. I tried to get on birth control for it, but the first dose I took caused such severe adverse reactions that we were about ready to call an ambulance. I’m glad that I no longer cramp *that* badly anymore, but the first day still usually involves vague nausea and occasional pauses in activity.

  8. 11

    Opposablethumbs @2 May I just say Yeeeesssss to everything you said.
    Also to anyone who has the mistaken idea that earlier epidurals cause an increase in the probability of instrumental delivery(forceps, ventouse) or C-section the Cochrane review on the subject shows otherwise :

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007238.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=43DF8DE65FF24867F37D0F477A521711.f02t03

    It really annoyed me that I has to wait until I was almost 5cm dilated to get the epidural. Just for reference I am 5 ft 1 in and weighed about 115/120 lbs before pregnancy..and the kid was 8lbs 15 oz…Ouch does not even begin to describe anything.

    A person would not be expected to have dental work, a vasectomy or deal with migraines with no pain relief if it was available. So why is it seen as “brave” to do a Medication free childbirth? If that’s a persons choice, thats fine but having an epidural (or a Csection) should not be seen as failing , giving in or any other crap, it’s taking full advantage of modern technology and modern medicine. I would like to also add breastfeeding to the list. If someone wants to breastfeed and it works for their kid and their life fine. How ever in a first world country with access to clean water/formula, how you feed your kid or use your boobs is NOT my business as long as the kid is being fed.

  9. 12

    Long before that particular torture device there was ureteroscopic kidney stone removal. Working at a large hospital in the late 70s, before fiber optic cameras and tools got small and nimble, I could hear the frequent call of ‘anesthesiology to the cysto suite, anesthesiology to the cysto suite stat’ on the overhead. As part of my job I was sometimes called to hand deliver a stack of medieval devices known as dilators to the cysto suite. They are series of smooth plastic cones that start out at about 3mm and go up in stages to just short of large enough to accommodate a golf ball. I was shocked to find out those dilators were used on the urethra to make room for tools to go in, and stones to come out. Anesthesiology to the cysto suite stat … indeed.

  10. 13

    Seriously, ‘tap out’? They really want to try it, they would have foregone the option to tap-out until the birth is complete.

    Ethically problematic…

    1) the 9 month prep work, complete with aching joints, water retention, back strain, low iron, and stabbing pain in the hips every time you roll over in bed; and
    2) the emotional roller-coaster of relief (because you’re about to not be pregnant anymore) and the fear of a process that can go easily wrong.

    Well yes, surely it goes without saying that a man is not going to completely feel the full pregnancy experience with just a device, that he is being something of a tourist.

    So no, I’m not particularly entertained by these guys making real women’s pain into more entertainment (because really what they’re saying, oh look, we’re as tough as those childbearing women, come watch us suffer and be entertained!).

    It seemed to me that they conclude more or less the opposite of that, especially since they all opted out at some point.

  11. 14

    Seconded, pain management should absolutely be part of the medical approach to pregnancy; the fact that it is for virtually every other painful condition / procedure makes it a glaring omission and blatantly unfair. But then, hospitals as a profit based enterprise is a disastrous from the outset; American exceptionalism strikes again I guess.

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