The Pregnancy Police

I had never shown much interest in pregnancy before conceiving. I haven’t bought any preggers books because so much of the “pregnancy culture” is nauseatingly syrupy [not to mention judgemental]. The least I know the better; I realise childbirth will hurt, but I presume women have been doing it for rather a long time. I’ve got up, gone to work as normal, and worried most about my thunder thighs. Obviously I’ve kept my midwife appointments, and have chatted to like-minded friends who have children …. but pregnancy isn’t an illness. It should be an exciting time, a relaxing time, the beginnings of a remarkable journey.

What I’m getting to, is the current news concerning drinking in pregnancy and the legal case criminalising women who are knocking back bottles of vodka a day. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say this level of drinking is acceptable; it is selfish, abusive, and will obviously have severe repercussions. HOWEVER, let us not confuse heavy irresponsible drinking with the odd glass of wine or  Guinness, and condemn every pregnant woman with a wine glass in her hand. There is NO evidence that one or two glasses of wine a week harms a foetus. NO evidence. Nowhere. Indeed, one study has shown that women who consumed one or two glasses a week produced more intelligent offspring. If you choose not to drink during pregnancy, fine – but don’t judge those who partake of the odd glass. Prior to pregnancy I had a glass of wine every evening whilst getting supper ready. I enjoy wine, I find it relaxing, and have Mediterranean friends for whom this is the daily practice, pregnancy included. My small glass of wine twice a week is most welcomed; and I have no fears this will damage my baby boy, who is currently somersaulting inside me.

I had no idea how militant the pregnancy police had become. Apparently I’m not supposed to sleep on my back, eat runny eggs, clean my house, swim too far, run too fast, sit on new sofas, ride horses, lie in hot baths, eat too much fish, or generally behave in any way which doesn’t reflect my sole occupation in life as foetal host. Absolutely bloody ridiculous. My mother, who gave birth to me in 1982, wasn’t aware of any of these stipulations, and somehow got through the whole experience without being arrested.

Having spent many months over several years working at a street clinic in Calcutta …. I can assure you that it is entirely possible to get through pregnancy without reading glossy alarmist drivvle; to deliver a healthy baby despite appalling conditions. Our own grandmothers delivered their children at home, no epidurals to yell for, and no nonsense.

If I had a horse to ride at the moment who I knew and trusted, I would most definitely still be riding. If I happen to fall asleep on my back, I trust my body to move itself during the night if it’s uncomfortable. If I’m craving some tuna, I have no guilt at eating a tuna sandwich [yes, with shop mayonnaise! Gosh!!]. I will not lie in a luke warm bath ….

Have I ranted for long enough now? This bump protruding from my stomach is not an open invite to comment on my life choices. Nor is it an invite to touch it.

Have a super Friday!


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