The pregnancy police's favourite song: "The Word is No"
The pregnancy police. It’s a phrase I came across early in my pregnancy that I’ve since adopted to refer to, well, any experts/forums/strangers that have very strong opinions about my body and/or unborn child.
Instead of serving and protecting, as police should do, they exist to preach, judge and scare.
“Don’t touch receipts!” one article warns.
“Are you ready for stretch marks?” an online newsletter threatens.
"You're so small!" and "You look ready to pop!" strangers bump-assess. Sometimes on the same day.
"Decaf, right?" asks someone who's never been pregnant but has "read things."
“Don’t eat your husband’s shoes!” this tag says:
And I know it’s only going to get worse. Enter the mommy brigade.
“Don’t let your kid ride the subway alone!” says…America.
I’m fortunate that I have a laid-back, everything-in-moderation midwife who doesn’t lecture me when I tell her I still drink a cup of coffee or two a day. A husband who doesn’t stop making hollandaise sauce just because the egg isn’t totally cooked in it. (I avoid restaurant hollandaise sauce, though, as I don’t know how long it’s been sitting around.) Parents and in-laws who let me set my own food-and-lifestyle boundaries during this short 40-week season.
Refreshing articles like this one help, too.
As a general rule, I try to assess food-poisoning risk and make smart decisions. I won’t eat mall sushi, but might give it a go at a reputable restaurant. I avoid raw sprouts, but I’m not going to sweat the deep-fried spring roll. And I won’t line up for an out-all-day deli platter, but have no problem frying up a slice of ham for a sandwich.
I avoid cat litter. But I don’t have a cat, so that’s not hard.
I don’t use skincare products with retinol or salicylic acid in them. I’m careful with essential oils and avoid questionable herbal teas.
I don’t attempt to ski. Because I can’t. (Literally. I’m the worst athlete. Even when not front-heavy.)
I suppose my approach is: avoid the forums, trust my gut, chat with my midwife, don’t stress. Oh, and don't do drugs. (Unless pie is a drug. I do pie.)
And I hope that I will extend this same freedom to other friends who are/will be pregnant. Some will drink wine occasionally. Some will abstain. Some will ditch the aspartame. Others won't. I want to be nothing but supportive. I don't want to judge the temperature of your bath water or your tuna-consumption frequency. Just do your thing, mamas. Love your babies and bellies. I'm on your side.
A lovely friend (and new mom) recently gave me some great parenting advice:
“Ignore what other people say. Walk away from the computer. Do what works for you and your family.”
I like that.
Sorry, pregnancy police, but I’m not listening. (And, no, I’m not “ready” for stretch marks. Ask me again next week.)
And who eats shoes?!