RE: Pregger Tweet

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Something similar once happened to me, only it was the morning of Obama’s inauguration, and I was trying to visit my son’s father in a DC hospital.  He had a collapsed lung, and it would have been impossible to drive in that day.

I was visibly pregnant, and there wasn’t even enough room to sit on the floor.

I wasn’t about to ask someone to give up their seat (because: pride), but after about an hour, the woman who’d been leading the incessant chants of “OBAMA! OBAMA!” finally insisted that someone (anyone, male or female) needed to give up their seat for me.

Not one person was willing — presumably because I’d refused to join in the chanting, even after being prompted to do so by multiple people.

The woman was visibly embarrassed, and she went from chanting about Obama to vocalizing her disgust with everyone who was seated.  Which was kind of her.  She even insisted I take her only bottle of water.

I think she was trying to make their behavior into a feminist issue, but the reality was, those people were simply assholes.

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Tennessee Criminalizes Drug-Related Pregnancy Outcomes

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The number one problem with this law isn’t that it goes after pregnant women who use drugs, but that it assumes a causal connection that might not even be present.

I have a friend whose mother smoked crack while she was pregnant with him, and he was born missing a finger. I have another friend whose ex-wife didn’t use drugs during her pregnancy, yet their baby was born missing her entire right hand.

We’ve known for decades that use of certain drugs during pregnancy increases the risks of premature birth, low birth weight, and both mental and physical handicaps. We’ve also known that not consuming enough folic acid during the first 28 days of pregnancy or consuming too much Vitamin A leads to anencephaly and miscarriage. What’s next, punishing women whose babies are born defective due to dietary deficiencies?

Second, there’s the issue of criminal culpability. Yes, everyone is aware of the risks of using drugs while pregnant. But what if the drug use occurred prior to a woman’s knowledge of her pregnancy?

I smoked about a pack of cigarettes per day and drank an insane amount of espresso and energy drinks during the first couple months my pregnancy — which is when the majority of birth defects occur — yet I quit cold turkey as soon as I learned I was with child. Not quite the same as smoking crack, I know, but by the time most women learn of their pregnancies, whatever major birth defects are going to occur have most likely occurred!

It is highly unethical to hold someone accountable for the outcome of their pregnancy based on what they did prior to its discovery, especially if they never planned on getting knocked up in the first place.

The application of this law could easily turn into witch hunt against poor women, young women, and racial minorities who miscarry or whose babies are otherwise born with complications. “Baby born missing fingers? Call CPS — let’s grill the bitch. She must’ve used at least once during her pregnancy.” Even if Mom and Baby are both testing clean, this law provides new grounds for CPS to get involved on suspicion alone.

Can’t say I’m a fan of pregnancy drug laws… period. I was offered narcotic pain medication during my third trimester because my “arthritis” (i.e., leg-eating tumor) pain had gotten so bad that I could hardly even walk. I declined the prescription despite the fact that I was spending 10+ hours on my feet each day at work, but I wouldn’t negatively judge someone for making the opposite decision if they were in my place.

Pregnant women can feel agonizing pain too, you know. Would you deny a pregger painkillers if they fell and broke their leg? What about after medically-necessary surgery, such as the removal of a tumor? Fibromyalgia?

Maternity Parking

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When I was preggo, parking was an absolute NIGHTMARE — I’m talking up to a twenty-minute walk just to get into the building. They offered special maternity spots exclusively for the third trimester, but unfortunately they never enforced it. People were constantly parking in my spot, which was so unbelievably frustrating because it was a rough pregnancy and I was already on my feet at work for a good 10+ hours per day.

Most of people who parked unauthorized in these spaces WERE in fact pregnant, yet they were so early on that they didn’t even show, and they certainly weren’t having any problems getting around. I managed to confront a few of these assholes, who would generally snap back with, “well, I’m pregnant too” and if SOMEONE ELSE’S maternity spot was still open, they’d suggest that I park there. Only one woman who claimed to be 5 weeks along (wtf?) had the decency to apologize after parking in my spot two days in a row.

Pregnant woman can have trouble getting around some of the time, most of the time, or almost never. These spots SHOULD be reserved, but that doesn’t meaning having a fetus (or an embryo) inside you automatically entitles you to park there. Just have some fucking decency.

Prenatal Puritanism

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I was a complete 100% purist about everything I consumed during my pregnancy.  No caffeine, no nicotine, no alcohol (not a drinker, so it wasn’t a problem), no medications (not even tylenol), only pasteurized eggs, organic whenever possible, no sushi, no tuna, no lunchmeats, no feta cheese, no artificial sweeteners/colors/flavorings/whatever — you name it, if there was any hint of a suggestion I should avoid it, I would have dropped it in a heartbeat.

The only thing I refused to surrender was restlessly dying my hair, which some people found hypocritical.  (It’s not like I was “sampling” the stuff, than you very much!) The fact that I was doing all these other things for myself and my fetus seemed to slip completely under the radar.

When my boss’s boss finally asked what I would do if the baby came out with blue hair and skin, I shrugged and replied, “Exploit him over the Internet.  Charge admission.  Why, what would you do?”  (He found this hilarious and let me keep the color.)

While the science on most (if not all) of the above is a little bit shaky, I’m pretty sure that if you’re eating a crappy diet AND regularly consuming caffeine / alcohol / raw eggs / OTC medications during your cigarette breaks, there’s a pretty good chance the baby WILL come out with blue skin (if not the hair).  Fortunately, most woman have sound enough judgement to decide for themselves what lifestyle modifications their pregnancy calls for.  And if they can’t figure it out on their own, that’s what prenatal care is for.