I get it. I am a woman. We, as women, have a huge responsibility to take care of and protect the tiny beings that develop inside our bodies if and when we get pregnant. Therefore, I sympathize with women when some argue, “It’s my body, not a man’s. Why should a man have any say in what I do with my body?”
However, whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice or pro-bananas, we need to stop discouraging responsibility; taking men out of the pregnancy equation altogether deters them from taking ownership in the life of the child and well-being of its mother.
We have to change the pregnancy conversation and stop holding onto prejudices against the fathers in order to help our future sons and daughters become responsible.
It’s true, pregnancy isn’t all showers and baby’s breath. The movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is a good reality check to the hell our bodies go through: we get fat, we get stretch marks, we have to pee approximately every 20 seconds. We want our swollen feet rubbed while we, at the same time, crave a Taco Party Pack at 2 a.m. from the Taco Bell on the other side of town.
Yet, when the men in our lives offer to get us our tacos, we chastise them from getting us tacos by tossing the “My body. Not yours. So be shut up about it” argument their way.
Why are we telling the men that are at least 50 percent responsible for the life growing inside us that they have no say? Before we even allow them the chance to prove themselves, we push them out of the picture that they are a definite part of.
This claim is often used in the abortion conversation. For whatever reason a woman may consider an abortion, a 2004 study done by the Guttmacher Institute stated that the majority of the reasons for abortions is that women are “not ready for the responsibility that raising a healthy, successful and happy child brings.”
This is a terrible place to be in. A woman may feel alone, trapped and helpless when she shouldn’t have to. She should feel like the other half in this situation will help her and take responsibility. Why would any woman discourage that? Why are we shutting men down by telling them that after they have sex with a woman, they no longer have any resemblance of responsibility to what happens next? We be doing the opposite and saying, “Hey bro, we did this together. Now let’s figure this out … together.”
Changing the conversation is imperative. If we don’t, we’re doing women everywhere a huge disservice. Not only is it discouraging men, it is harming our future generations of mothers. The “my body” argument teaches women of all ages to believe that the responsibility of a baby falls solely on their shoulders. Why would we put that weight on our sisters when someone could be sharing the load?
It seems that in our society, it’s celebrated if the father decides to stay and be responsible for a child, because it’s assumed that he won’t. This is outrageous; it should be an embarrassment when the father chooses not to stay, because it’s assumed that he will.
Furthermore, the “my body” argument has taught young men that they’d better stay out of the pregnancy conversation or the women in his class will whoop his ass for being sexist. What if he wants to take responsibility? What is he wants to get his child’s mother Taco Bell at 2 a.m. in the morning?
We, as women, need to stop assuming all men are evil and irresponsible. If we continue to do so and refuse to hold or allow them to hold themselves accountable, nothing will change. We need to stick to high standards of responsibility and accept nothing less. We are making men think that whatever mess they make, we’ll clean it up for them because we’ve assumed they’re not capable or willing. Ladies, stop cleaning things. We clean enough as it is, and isn’t this the stereotype we’re trying to get away from?
We shouldn’t judge a pregnant woman just as much as we shouldn’t judge the man she’s pregnant with. We need to stop assuming men aren’t responsible before we given him a chance to step up. If women don’t hold men to certain standards, or allow men to own up on their own, we are ultimately doing ourselves and ladies of the future a disservice.
Your body is ultimately your body. But please, don’t tell people to not help take care of your body if they are responsible for the body inside of yours.