“My husband will shake his head wondering why on earth I am admitting this to the greater public …”
That’s an excerpt from a blog post written by the wife of a congressional candidate. And our guess is it will probably hold true, even if the wife’s lack of filter strikes us as refreshing and provocative … albeit at times a bit insulting.
Amanda Cunningham is an integral part of her husband Joe Cunningham’s campaign for South Carolina’s first congressional district. She has appeared in his campaign commercials, stood beside him at his press conferences and even designed his campaign website.
For those of you who don’t live in the Palmetto Lowcountry, Cunningham’s campaign is national Democrats’ top takeover target in bright red South Carolina following the implosion of Archie Parnell, who was viewed as an even money bet to defeat “Republican” Ralph Norman in the state’s fifth congressional district. Unfortunately for Parnell, news of a decades-old domestic violence incident broke earlier this year – prompting national Democrats to abandon his race.
That’s been good for Cunningham, though, although most analysts believe he remains a decided underdog in his race against Katie Arrington – a first-term state representative who upset #NeverTrump congressman Mark Sanford in the GOP primary for this seat back in June.
Anyway, Amanda Cunningham has some deep thoughts … about sex, body image, you name it …
And on her business website, the web designer/ yoga instructor is sharing these thoughts for all to read … whether you want to or not.
One post entitled “Getty Frisky While Pregnant” details a sexual encounter with her husband during the second trimester of her pregnancy last fall (the Cunninghams welcomed their first son, Boone, into the world in earlier this year).
“When I straddled him on the couch, it had probably been a couple weeks since we connected this way,” Cunningham wrote. “It felt good, both physically and emotionally to be intimate again. Not to mention the second trimester makes everything feel heightened and intensified!”
(Click to view)
Don’t get too excited though …
Upon falling into a “mutual trance” with her husband, Amanda Cunningham quickly broke out of it when she “peered down and was startled by a body that did not resemble my own.”
At this point, her narrative shifted from the ribald recounting of a sofa sex romp to what amounted to a dirge mourning the loss of her pre-baby body. Oh, and a borderline feminist rant.
From the post …
Goodness, it’s hard to explain to a man how a woman feels as her body, mind and identify is shifting.
A man will never see his body expand as it creates space for another life to emerge. He will not look in the mirror and wonder who he sees. He will never experience the rush of hormones that leave you feeling on top of the world or at your darkest point – sometimes both in the same 2 minutes. A man will never need to redefine himself. He will not need to relearn the workings or functionality of his own body. His ability to move freely will not be altered. He will not mourn the person he was to become the person he needs to be.
Interject the commoner…
“You are creating a new life, it’s magical!”
“Your body will go back to normal eventually.”
“Don’t be so negative.”
“You don’t look big, you’re glowing!”
“You should be enjoying this special time.”
“You have to sacrifice yourself for your baby.”
“Pregnancy is beautiful.”
All leaving me with the ladylike response of please, f**k off.
You know, the last time we checked – and the founding editor of this news outlet has a bit of experience on this subject – the hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy is something experienced directly by one but shared intensely and intimately by two (especially when girl babies are on the way).
Furthermore, to suggest that men do not “look in the mirror and wonder who (they see)” or experience the “need to redefine (themselves)” or “mourn the person (they were)” is patently unfair. Especially in the context of the life changes that go with becoming a dad.
In fact, such a suggestion is downright insulting to fathers who have a healthy understanding of their parenting role – and the sacrifices and identity shifts it entails.
Do men sacrifice as much as women to bring life into the world? Of course not. We would never assert equality (or even parity) on that count. But good fathers give up broad swaths of their identities and freedoms in assuming responsibility for their children – and those sacrifices should not be dismissed or minimized.
In addition to Amanda Cunningham’s starring role on her husband’s campaign, Joe Cunningham often invokes his son on the trail – calling him “the gas in my tank.”
“I think the most a father could ask for is for his son to be proud of him, that his dad stood up in a tough time, in a tough district and stood up for what was right and for his interest,” he told reporter Anne Emerson of WCIV TV-4 earlier this summer.
Is running for office really a “sacrifice” in his wife’s book, though? Is it an example of Joe Cunningham “mourning” who he was?
Amanda Cunningham delves into several other intensely sensitive and deeply personal topics on her blog – including a treatise last spring on her decision to have her breast implants removed at the age of thirty-four as part of her decision to “let go of the parts that were not me.” And while these musings have been posted publicly for all to see – as Cunningham acknowledged in the quote at the open of this article – we are not going to dive too deeply into those posts out of respect for her. Because ultimately we do respect her.
And if we are going to get attacked for “dragging family into it” – a common refrain from politicians who use their spouses and children as props/ human shields – then we want the record to reflect there was a line we not only recognized but declined to cross.
The bottom line is this: Cunningham is an incredibly gifted writer who has an admirable capacity for introspection. At times, we found her writing nothing short of poignant. The question is whether her turn in the spotlight will help her husband connect with Lowcountry voters … or turn them off?
Our guess is it will probably be a wash …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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