How bad could childbirth actually be? men ask.
These two guys found out. Sort of. A pair of men from Kensington Church in Troy, Michigan, decided to celebrate Mother’s Day 2013 by subjecting themselves to simulated labor. They didn’t share their names, so we’ll just call them Cranium and Earrings, for reasons that will become clear when you watch the clip.
“Did you know that, according to men, women exaggerate everything?” asks Earrings, playing the heel in a 3-minute video that documents the men’s brief tour of childbirth pains. A minute later, he’s not laughing.
These men contracted (so to speak) the services of a gynecologist named Julie Masters for their experiment. In the video, Masters attaches electrodes to their abdomens and slowly dials up the current, simulating the stages of labor by shocking the guys’ muscles into tightening and releasing.
So how did they like it?
“It feels like someone’s taking a Sawzall and just carving up my abdomen,” says Earrings. Meanwhile, their wives stand by with steaming cups of Starbucks coffee. They laugh, taking wicked glee in their husbands’ painful enlightenment.
In early labor, as the cervix is thinning out and dilating, women experience pain that they’ve described as feeling “kind of like the muscles inside were slowly twisting harder and harder until it became almost unbearable, and then it would slowly subside.”
As Masters cranks up the voltage to simulate this stage of childbirth, Cranium and Earrings grimace in pain. As the “contraction” subsides, Cranium is incredulous.
“That was early labor?” he says.
Next comes active labor, in which the cervix opens quickly, and contractions come faster and faster. The labor pains at this stage are more intense, as evidenced by Earrings and Cranium groaning and writhing on their hospital beds. It’s just a simulation, but the expressions on these guys’ faces will be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched a woman give birth.
Minutes or hours later, active labor gives way to the second stage of childbirth. At this point, the cervix is fully dilated. The baby’s ready to enter the world. Some women call this the “pushing stage” of the birth, because, well, that’s when you start to push.
Earrings and Cranium do not push, which is why we can share this video with you in the first place (decency standards, folks). They just scream. They scream and scream. Their wives high five one another; the men have learned their lesson.
“That sucked,” says Earrings. “That was horrible.”
“I’m telling you right now, I felt like I was having a baby,” Cranium says.
Earrings ends the clip with a heartfelt message to his own mother: “If anything I just experienced is anywhere close to what I did to you all those years ago, I’m sorry. You’re like a superhero.”
Watch Earrings and Cranium simulate labor in the video below, and if you ever run into a guy who claims that childbirth can’t be as painful as women say it is, call your local gynecologist and set up a date between the naysayer and a set of electrodes.