A funny and informative memoir of a husband who grows from a disgruntled observer of his wife’s pregnancy to an active, even co-pregnant partner.
Churchwell has written for magazines, television, and medical centers (which helps him to negotiate the wealth of medical and scientific information camouflaged within his wit). The greatest dangers of pregnancy and parenthood, as initially seen by this Gen-X, yuppie author, are the threats they pose to his perfect, self-indulgent lifestyle. Friends warn him that sex will change (and his wife will soon resemble a “hard boiled egg on stilts”) and they’ll no longer be welcome in movie theaters and finer restaurants. His pregnant and transformed wife, however, forces the author to realize that “men don't really live in their bodies,” whereas “women carry time in theirs.” Churchwell is intimidated by the husband’s limited role in this consuming adventure, and feels “reduced to being a barnyard animal at your own nativity.” At first, he resents his wife buying a baby seat and clothes for a fetus the size of a dragonfly nymph, but soon he gets sympathetic symptoms of pregnancy, including morning sickness. Churchwell’s frightening new life revolves around OB/GYN appointments, and he discovers other husbands who felt abandoned (and even some who broke off relationships during pregnancy). Some anxiety is relieved viewing humorous pregnancy scenes from TV archives, and even more from the amniocentesis promising a healthy daughter. After a boot-camp scenario of birthing exercises, the memoir is taken over by the natural birth vs. hospitals debate. The newly sensitized author explains that, with the impersonalized (albeit sterile) conditions of hospitals, the midwives’ case has its merits.
After nine months and a healthy birth, the author’s love of cooking has shifted to a love of nurturing. Churchwell delivers a bundle of anxious joy and gives us hope that parenthood can drag children, kicking and screaming, into adulthood.