Alright, ladies! Michael Gillings, Professor of Molecular Evolution at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has posited a bold theory on why women experience PMS. From an evolutionary standpoint, PMS is biological encouragement to find partners who will impregnate us, and who will keep us pregnant during our fertile years (see: decades).
The argument is that, prior to the invention and implementation of contraceptives and comprehensive sex-education, women had less control over and understanding of their reproductive cycles. We were captive to the moon and gods and whatever dude knocked us up. A woman who had a sterile partner would find a new partner – one who would presumably impregnate her so she could avoid the horrors of PMS and, instead, opt for the smooth-sailing and hormonal bliss that is pregnancy. Let me just repeat that for you: women evolved to have PMS, a condition SO AWFUL they’d rather stay pregnant in an effort to avoid experiencing it, and if her partner were unable to impregnate her, she would, with no consideration of shared history, love, or companionship, ditch him for someone who could free her from the chains of PMS.
I guess Gillings’ theory would be plausible if pregnancy were a cake walk – a 40 week vacation from the stresses of everyday life, but I think we all know that is not the case. I have never been pregnant, but I know many women who have been. When I was 12, I watched my pregnant sister slam a full cup of coffee onto the kitchen counter, shattering the mug and sending its contents cascading across the linoleum and onto the floor simply because her husband used the last of the coffee creamer. I’m not saying that’s par for the course, but I will casually point out that I did the same thing four years later while, wait for it, PMSing.
Hormonal rage aside, any woman who has ever been pregnant will tell you that even the easiest and most comfortable of pregnancies results in a helpless, squirming, squalling baby. I cannot imagine a scenario where pre-historic women would find the danger of caring for a child while trying to find food and dodging predators preferable to eating every single berry on the bush while doubled over in tears. Gillings may have wasted his time and energy on something any woman could’ve told him: our bodies and behavior fluctuate with our hormones. Now, hand me some snacks.