If my wife can give birth, I can do a few more pushups

Kate has dedicated herself to a pretty solid exercise routine. She’s kept in great shape throughout her pregnancy, and she’s bound to reap the results in labour. There’s really no better incentive for staying fit than knowing it’ll making the birthing process easier.

But Kate’s not the only one who’s been inspired by her pregnancy. I’ve typically done what I can to stay healthy, both for my wife and for myself, but during the past few months I’ve taken it up a notch.

My wife deserves a lot of the credit for motivating me to exercise more. Watching her stick to her routine, and seeing the results, has definitely been inspiring. But to tell you the truth, it’s also helped to know that whatever physical challenges I might choose to tackle are nothing compared to the challenge she’s about to conquer.

Roll your eyes all you like at the sensitive man, but it’s true. Whenever I don’t feel like exercising, I can remind myself that Kate doesn’t get to decide she doesn’t feel like having a baby. Whenever I don’t feel like seeing it through to the end, I can remind myself that Kate doesn’t get to cheat. Hell, even when I break new ground, I do it with the knowledge that a few extra reps or another five minutes on a machine is a pretty pathetic achievement compared to giving birth.

The other day, Kate sent me a couple of clips from a Channel 4 program called One Born Every Minute, which is all about “providing helpful insights into the realities of giving birth.” In this clip, which you absolutely shouldn’t watch unless you want to see what a Caesarean section looks like, one of the mothers tells herself it’s time to “man up.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, because a) I hadn’t seen the C-section yet, and b) it struck me as a really weird choice of words. I use the phrase often enough myself, despite its casual sexism. Saying you’ve got to “man up” to get through labour, though, is like saying “I’d better make the like the gender that talks a big game but never actually has to do this sort of thing.”

I’m not saying one gender’s any better than the other. All I’m saying is I live with a woman who’s about to do something I could never do, and something I doubt I could do “like a man” if the tables were turned on me. And it really puts all the other little things I feel like I can’t do into perspective.

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