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Terry Womble thought he looked pretty ridiculous as a "pregnant" man.
The 6-foot-7 business owner couldn't control his laughter as he was fitted for a pillow that would serve as his "baby bump" until Sept. 5. He said he knew a man of his stature would definitely attract more than one stare if people saw what looked like a pregnant woman's expanded belly.
That's the idea, he said. He could use the stares to his advantage and make sure people knew exactly why he decided to walk in shoes that typically belong to women. Womble will be "expecting" for the next 12 weeks as part of the annual Men in Labor fundraiser for the March of Dimes.
"Hopefully it'll get people talking about the March of Dimes," he said. "If they see a guy my size with pregnancy gut then they're going to have to tell someone about what they saw. That'll help everyone."
The annual Men in Labor fundraiser gives men synthetic baby bumps for 12 weeks. The men wear the bumps to events around the community and at their jobs in order to raise funds and awareness for the March of Dimes and proper prenatal care. This year's fundraiser has a $20,000 goal.
Womble said he knew he wanted to be involved because all families deserve a shot a healthy, full-term pregnancy. About 29,000 babies are born at less than 36 weeks of gestation, and more than 6,000 are born with birth defects – two statistics the March of Dimes wants to change.
"I was lucky to have two kids who went past 40 weeks (gestation), but that can be a very stressful time for families," he said.
Joe Burgess, who is on the Chapter Board for the Big Bend branch of the March of Dimes, said participating in the fundraiser requires the ability to "laugh at yourself." Burgess, who is also the principal of Chiles High School, has participated in the Men in Labor fundraiser twice.
This year one of his school's history teachers, Brian Welch, is participating in the fundraiser. Each man wearing a baby bump has a personal fundraising goal of $1,000. They fundraiser will end with a Sept. 29 golf tournament.
"This is important to everyone," Burgess said. "Life begins at birth. This affects everyone. Even if you're not having a child, this is part of our community. We believe in our kids. We're trying to make sure there's awareness for good prenatal care for our families."
Welch laughed and said he has no intentions of taking off his bump, no matter where he is in the community.
"I'm used to looking kind of rotund," he said. "Now I'll get to experience what it was like for my wife to be pregnant all of those times."
He added he's expecting plenty of laughter when his wife sees his new figure.
"This is pretty good comeuppance for all of her struggles," he said. "I have very little shame so I'll probably be wearing it everywhere."
From Tallahassee Democrat
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