Perhaps you've seen the videos circulating on facebook or elsewhere where men are hooked up to machines that cause them abdominal pain every few minutes simulating contractions? I see women posting these videos and laughing it up.
It's actually disturbing to me and makes me angry. I don't think it's funny. For one thing, inflicting abdominal pain on someone every few minutes has almost no relationship to childbirth whatsoever.
1. It isn't a normal bodily process regulated by one's own hormones.
2. There is no point to it.
3. The pain isn't accomplishing anything.
4. There is nothing these men can do to make themselves feel better.
5. There are no hormones to help deal with the pain and discomfort.
6. What is the point?
I think the whole thing just plays into people's misconceptions about childbirth. As if childbirth is just a woman's ability to endure hour upon hour of excruciating pain. A woman's labor is regulated by surges of oxytocin that her own body is controlling. Oxytocin actually makes the uterus contract. Not only that, but that oxytocin crosses into the brain and is responsible for feelings of love and intimacy. Are they simulating that in their little experiment? Additionally, the uterus is a big watermelon sized muscle that is contracting. And by contracting I mean getting shorter. The same way you contract the muscles in your arms--you shorten your biceps. All these reps of that big muscle contracting puts the body under a little bit of stress and the response is to produce endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good hormones that help your body cope with that stress, feel good (like a runner's high) and diminish pain sensation. Are they accounting for that in their little simulation?
Contracting of the uterus is the way the baby comes out. The cervix has to open up from closed to ten centimeters and then it has to push a baby out. So that thick cervix disappears and the thickness builds up at the top of the uterus for pushing. Can you even imagine a muscle changing shape in such a dynamic way? It is in no way the same as just hitting someone in the gut to cause them pain and saying, "Hey, that's like a contraction." The pain that these men are feeling is the pain of their bodies saying "something is wrong. Don't do that again or you'll damage yourself." The pain involved in childbirth is that uterine muscle getting the biggest workout of it's life to accomplish something. Two totally different sensations.
In a real labor, there are things that feel better and things that feel worse. That's because helping your baby to navigate through the tight fit of the pelvis is a dynamic process and there are different forces at work. So there are things that women can do to make themselves feel more comfortable. And generally this is done instinctually if you will let a woman alone. But there is no response these men can have to lessen the pain or make themselves more comfortable.
So what is the point of the simulation? The only thing I can think of is that it's to get a good laugh at men. Ha ha! They aren't strong enough to handle labor pains! The whole human race would die off if men had to have children. What a joke men are! I find the whole thing demeaning--not only to men, but to women also. Women are strong and amazing. That does not mean that men are not. And honestly, in my state 95% of the women have epidurals anyway so what are they thinking by making fun of these men who can't handle the pain?
I think the whole thing is disgusting.