No, Men Shouldn’t Have Baby Stags

After nine months of not carrying a baby it’s been suggested men should celebrate with a baby stag.

Baby stags

by Olivia Foster |

Ever heard of a ‘baby stag,’? We’re not sure you’ll want to. The latest trend to make it over from the States is sometimes known as a ‘Dadchelor Party,’ and is designed to help soon-to-be fathers ‘not be forgotten,’ in the lead up to the arrival of their child. Because heaven forbid men not be the centre of attention for five minutes – especially not while their partners are carrying a literal baby.

The idea – in addition to ‘wetting the baby’s head,’ which comes after the birth – is that baby stags should be organised much like a traditional pre-wedding stag do, featuring trips to the father’s favourite haunts and a whole load of alcohol along the way. According to Wikipedia, ‘These parties consist of masculine activities to celebrate a gift that isn't always considered to be quite masculine, his new promotion into fatherhood. These parties can also be viewed as the "one last pre-fatherhood bash”.’ But why do men need this? Isn’t it just another way to infantilise and celebrate them for literally doing the bare minimum?

Because let’s get real, in 2021 the parenting gap persists at large. Men are praised for being ‘hands on,’ for changing a single nappy, while worn out new mothers are left at home holding the baby – often quite literally. Fewer than 1-in-5 new mothers will return to full time work after having a baby and while shared parental leave was introduced 6 years ago it remains true that only three in seven families are eligible, with only 1% of those actually taking it up.

You might have been mistaken for thinking that during the pandemic, when many parents were stuck at home together, things might have shifted. But research actually shows that the last 18 months have only served to deepen the issues women face when it comes to childcare and motherhood. With schools and nurseries closed women took on a greater share of home-schooling than men with 53% saying they were struggling.

What’s more, more and more women are opening up about what it is actually like to have children. Whether it’s influencers and celebrities sharing their birth stories or friends admitting how tough it is to spend hours alone with a new-born on very little sleep. We’re hearing more about the physical and emotional tole that being pregnant can have on our bodies and learning about the long-standing impact that having children can have on our mental health. Revelations which make the idea that men need some sort of stag to celebrate all the hard work they haven’t done all the more ludicrous.

If men really want in on the action then give them proper baby showers, make them sit through hours of cupcakes, tea and organised fun, gift them with stacks of muslins and a changing mat, devise a game to remind them subtly of their responsibilities as a father. Make them have elongated conversations with their mother-in-law and give them a pinata in the shape of a dummy.

Because really, the idea of a baby stag wouldn’t be half so offensive if it wasn’t entrenched in the idea that men should celebrate their ‘last days,’ before becoming a father, when research and evidence shows that ultimately their lives will not change in half the ways that a mother’s will. Women give up their bodies, their lives and sometimes even their livelihoods to bring children into the world. So if men really feel that having a baby represents having their freedom taken away so badly, perhaps they shouldn’t be having them at all.

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