September 2013 Moms

Empathy belly

We had our second class last night and the focus was on late pregnancy through early labor. We talked about the role of the SO and labor partner. The instructor had an empathy belly for helping the SOs relate to what the expectant mothers were experiencing, and my husband volunteered to give it a shot.

She had him put it on, added weights, then added measures to constrict his breathing and put extra pressure on his bladder. This was all done in front of the other couples, and I could not stop giggling. I've never enjoyed another person's discomfort before as much as I did last night! Naturally, I snapped pictures as he tried to pick up things from the floor, tie his shoes, and get up from a lying down position. Those pics are going to be perfect for the baby book. ::mobile smiley::

The instructor ended her demonstration with, "Now your wife has to be pregnant for 9-10 months, but you can wear that for as long as you want tonight. You can take it off right away, or you can leave it on through class." DH, bless him, responded, "Well it wouldn't be an empathy belly if I didn't wear it for as long as I could so I could empathize more realistically." FWIW, this is the sweetest he's been about the pregnancy in a LONG time, so I soaked it up! I also wish he could have worn it home so he could wear it on a run with me this morning...

Has anyone else had a SO put on an empathy belly?  I think the comical value of the process of loading on the weights and restrictions was well worth the class fee, and we learned along the way!

Re: Empathy belly

  • bwahahahaha! That's awesome!

    I haven't had the chance to do that yet, but I would TOTALLY have my SO do that! LOL!

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  • ejb23ejb23
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    I had a class last night and was hoping they would pull that out but sadly they did not!  Glad to hear your SO was such a good sport about it!  Sounds very funny!

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    -My step-daughter is 12 years old.

    -BFP #1 on 9/2/12, D&C 10/18/12 no heartbeat on US @ 10 weeks.

    -BFP #2 on 1/7/13, R was born on 9/22/13 via C-Section

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  • By the end, he was a little cranky because he had consumed a whole bottle of water in the second half of the class and he had to pee so bad he couldn't stand it. Once we were in the hallway (rushing to the bathroom, for him, not me), he asked me how to stretch out his ribs because they felt sore from trying to breathe with such restriction. The fun just didn't end in class!
  • I was thinking about doing this with DH. Obviously I don't have any 'empathy bellies' laying around at home, so I was just going to use a backpack filled with some heavy books or canned vegetables and he could just wear it on the front. LOL
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  • image Shanmarie1083:
    I was thinking about doing this with DH. Obviously I don't have any 'empathy bellies' laying around at home, so I was just going to use a backpack filled with some heavy books or canned vegetables and he could just wear it on the front. LOL

     Hey, whatever works, right?! The neat thing about the EB she had was that there was a pendulum inside so he could feel "movement" as he was adjusting his positions. After that experience, I think it should be a pre-req. for SOs! Only half kidding...

  • My DH has a bit of a beer belly he has been working on getting rid of for a while. We both eat healthy and work out but he struggles with his weight while I'm pretty tiny normally so he now feels that I am the one growing the empathy belly! Of course his doesn't kick, squish his bladder, and pry on his ribs or try to suffocate him, lol. He is pretty sympathetic these days now that baby girl is kicking so hard and he can see my belly jumping all over, he gets all serious and tells her she needs to settle down and be nice to her mother.
  • image dhaueisen:
    My DH has a bit of a beer belly he has been working on getting rid of for a while. We both eat healthy and work out but he struggles with his weight while I'm pretty tiny normally so he now feels that I am the one growing the empathy belly! Of course his doesn't kick, squish his bladder, and pry on his ribs or try to suffocate him, lol. He is pretty sympathetic these days now that baby girl is kicking so hard and he can see my belly jumping all over, he gets all serious and tells her she needs to settle down and be nice to her mother.

    Haha! I love that he can relate. I also like his sincerity in making sure that LO knows she needs to be nice! That bodes well for the future when she's here! 

  • Haha - no empathy belly needed here, either. My husband was heavy before I got pregnant and he has been packing on the pounds ever since then. I really don't think even at full term my belly will be as big as his. It is going to be interesting to see which body type our daughter inherits - mine or his! 
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  • aw what a sweet thing for your DH to say. 

    Also--you still run? Good for you! because of my spd I can't run at all (like, starting 6 weeks in) but I'm actually just impressed with anyone who is staying that active 30 weeks in. You'll be in great shape for labor!

    As for the empathy bellies, I think they are great in theory, but I can't imagine they really simulate pregnancy that well. They can't cause your hips to separate so that you're forced to waddle and/or be in pain when you walk & move. They can't cause heartburn. They really can't cause nausea. They can't make your breasts hurt. They can't cause swelling all over. And a whole host of other symptoms that I never got but other people get commonly. I think carrying around extra weight, being lopsided, and having a giant belly in front of you are actually the easiest parts of pregnancy. It's all of the pain & discomfort/nausea that really make it unpleasant. 


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  • image kat81again2:

    aw what a sweet thing for your DH to say. 

    Also--you still run? Good for you! because of my spd I can't run at all (like, starting 6 weeks in) but I'm actually just impressed with anyone who is staying that active 30 weeks in. You'll be in great shape for labor!

    As for the empathy bellies, I think they are great in theory, but I can't imagine they really simulate pregnancy that well. They can't cause your hips to separate so that you're forced to waddle and/or be in pain when you walk & move. They can't cause heartburn. They really can't cause nausea. They can't make your breasts hurt. They can't cause swelling all over. And a whole host of other symptoms that I never got but other people get commonly. I think carrying around extra weight, being lopsided, and having a giant belly in front of you are actually the easiest parts of pregnancy. It's all of the pain & discomfort/nausea that really make it unpleasant. 

    Oh I definitely agree! DH brought this up when we returned home. He said the weight was too "localized" and it probably wasn't realistic in that respect. Unfortunately, I think it was about as close as he'll get to experiencing the pregnancy for himself. I bet if he had done it with a hangover and after a night of eating lots of salty food, it might have been closer to the real deal! I'll settle for the sweet pics I nabbed until an opportunity like that presents itself!

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