male-breastfeedingI BELONG to the extremely rare type of fathers who get pregnant with their wives. What I mean is that I will be offended if you approach me and say, “When is your wife due?”

If you want to deal with me during these bumpy days of our pre-natal excitement as a couple, the more

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politically correct thing to say would be, “When are you both due?” Because that would mean it’s me and my wife who are pregnant. Cute? Wait till you finish this article.

Call it my Freudian desire to grow a uterus and fallopian tubes. So far, I’ve only succeeded in growing my hair long like a frustrated seductress with limited budget for shampoo. And you know what? I sometimes find myself stuffing a pillow under my shirt to look like I’m eight months pregnant, to the delight of the wife during those boring spiels of her, I mean our, pregnancy.

And it’s because we are pregnant together that I and the wife share all the experiences that go with “infanticipating (it must be hormones that some slang words that I used to find corny now sound cute).” We visit the ob-gyne together, we exercise together, we talk to our baby bump together, we crave for the same food together, we window shop for baby stuff together. And if it were not expensive, I would be drinking that formula milk especially designed to meet the needs of pregnant and nursing mothers too. It is low in fat and lactose, high in calcium and iron to meet the extra requirements… Oh, sorry I was reading the milk’s label here.

And so it happened that I attended the Mothers’ Class this private hospital had organized for its pregnant clients. And for a moment right there, I doubted if my decision to be one with the wife in her pre-natal tutorial was a wise one, because the day’s topic was… “Mother’s Milk and the Benefits of Breastfeeding.”

You don’t have to be in the class to know that it was three hours of nothing but boobs in all shapes and sizes, nipples in various stages of protrusion, and areolas that came in different shades of pink, brown and beige, and the proper way to suck it and squeeze it and fondle it and all other acts that have to do with it. It was Boobs 101 all the way till the end.

And when the doctor started using a rubber breast – complete with a well-protruded nipple, an areola with those tiny funny bumps, and I swear some hair around the perimeter – to drive home some important points, I looked around the room for the nearest exit in case I’d feel the urge to smoke. I suddenly understood why that while there were 50 mothers in the class that day, there were only three of us fathers. One was asleep and the other was a Canadian national, who laughed at all the wrong places, until he fell asleep too.

And then my worst fear that day came true. The doctor saw me slouching at the back. She congratulated me for sharing in the wife’s pregnancy and announced that fathers can help make breastfeeding easier for the mother and the baby by sucking their wife’s breasts too! I was so flustered to think straight, but I think I heard something about encouraging milk production and making it easier for the baby to suckle, or something like that.

If our lady readers would please excuse me, we men have a different concept for breasts and nipples and areolas. And I tell you all of them have nothing to do with babies, and breast milk, and the propagation of the Human Race.

And the doctor continued, “Do you know that in theory, fathers can breastfeed too?”

That was it. I found the exit and made it outside in a split second, sure that I will never look at my breasts the same way again.

(SUN.STAR CEBU, MARCH 8, 2011)