Lyz Lenz. Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women. New York: Bold Type Books, 2020. 240pp, $26.
At church, I was taught that if a woman denied sex to her husband, he would find sex elsewhere. At church, I was taught that a man’s sexual desire was so great, it was a need – not a want. At church, I was taught that men were biologically different from women; they craved sex, while women simply endured it. As I did with most sermons, I internalized this message.
I began to think that if my one-day husband cheated on me, it would be my fault – for not being available enough, for not being skinny enough, for not being pretty enough. I was terrified of pregnancy and childbirth, not for the normal reasons, but because these are times that couples often need to practice abstinence for medical or physiological reasons. When I thought about the prospect of marriage, I was plagued with images of my husband leaving me just as I was preparing to give birth to his child….