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Friday 15 December 2017

Sorry boys, but strapping on a pregnan cy suit isn't even the half of it

What would you like for Mother's Day? A bunch of flowers? A box of chocolates? A nice piece of jewellery, perhaps? Well, how about your other half strapping on a huge pregnancy belly and wearing it to 'honour' you?

It might sound outlandish, but this is exactly what three English men are currently doing, all in an attempt to really understand the toll that pregnancy can take on the average woman.

All three, publishers of a new personalised book for mother's day called the Book Of Mum, are wearing 33-pound pregnancy bellies to work, social events and to bed. They're only allowed to remove the bumps to wash.

Surprise, surprise, the boys aren't finding their 'pregnancies' plain sailing.

The suit, which includes huge breasts, is designed to put pressure on the bladder, stomach and lungs. The three are reporting that their bodies ache and that they can't sleep at night. Welcome to our world, boys.

Ask any woman who's had a baby and she'll tell you that, while it's a heart-warming, miraculous experience, it can also have the sort of very uncomfortable side effects that no pregnancy suit could ever replicate.

Lugging the massive bump around is the easy part. If these men had to cope with the constant urge to wee, heartburn, piles, constipation, stretch marks and swollen ankles, then we might give them a little sympathy.

That's before we even mention the morning sickness. Although, newsflash boys, morning sickness doesn't have the good grace to confine itself exclusively to only those hours before midday.

Imagine being on a ferry journey from hell for nine long months and you might have some idea what it's like.

But it's not just the physical effects of pregnancy that can take its toll.

In these days of celebrity bump watch, many ordinary women feel a ridiculous pressure to look good for the duration, even if they're feeling terrible.

God forbid you pile on too much excess weight or develop anything other than the sort of neat little bump that the celebrity mums rock on the red carpet. You need glowing skin too, by the way, so if you suffer from pregnancy acne or itchy patches then hard luck.

Of course, the idea of having to look perfect while pregnant is crazy, and I bet that this aspect hasn't even occurred to the men.

They're not worrying that people think they're looking grossly bloated or that their bump is enormous. They're probably just concentrating on getting from A to B without toppling over.

CLUE

To be fair, at least they're trying to empathise. Most men haven't a clue what carrying a baby is like - and they don't want to know either.

It's heartening to hear that, by wearing the pregnancy suits, the three participants have a new-found respect for what women endure to bring life into this world.

It's a pity for them, though, that it's not possible to mimic the many upsides of pregnancy as well as the negatives.

For example, a man will never know what it's really like to feel the magical fluttering of your child moving inside of you for the first time, or the agony and sweet ecstasy of giving birth.

The ability to grow a human is a phenomenal privilege, and one that only we women can experience. So, hats off to the men who try to understand what it feels like to become a mum.

It's unlikely they will ever truly know, just as we will never know what it's like to be a dad, but it's sweet that they tried.

Mind you, I certainly don't want my other half to do the same to 'honour' me for Mother's Day. I'd much rather those chocolates, please.

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