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The Pregnancy Police

Melanie at Parenting.com

19w, 2d. Given that this is my third pregnancy, I’ve had plenty of experience with folks who think that my body = their business. I’ve gotten my fair share of dirty looks and comments from people who think I’m misbehaving during pregnancy during everything from carrying too many bags or a child while pregnant to drinking what they thought was beer—well, I guess it was beer, but of the non-alcoholic variety. Luckily for him and me, my husband knows better than to second-guess what I’m eating or doing while pregnancy this time around—but unfortunately there’s a new sheriff of the pregnancy police, my 5-year-old son, Ben. 

I’ll preface this by saying that Ben has only the best of intentions, but I’m feeling a little harassed these days. He’s got a lot of questions about everything from how big the baby is and what it’s doing right now to why I use a pregnancy pillow (to help me sleep comfortably on my side), to why I take three pills in the mornings (prenatal vitamin, DHA supplement and baby aspirin—the latter for my high blood pressure), and most commonly whether I’m “allowed” to be doing whatever it is I happen to be doing at that moment. Here are a few examples from recent weeks:

We had a two-hour drive back into NYC the other day, and while I had packed snacks for the kids, I hadn’t thought to pack anything for myself aside from water. Of course, I got hungry and remembered that I had tucked away some special candy from Sweden a friend had brought as a hostess gift. Admittedly, I might have gone a little overboard with the candy-eating, but I was about to put the bag away on my own when a little voice piped up from the back seat, “Mom, I think you’ve had enough candy. You need to put it away now ‘cause it’s not good for you or the baby… I’m not saying you can never have any candy again, but just that you can’t have any more right now.” Sigh. He was totally right.

Ben recently came into my bedroom one afternoon and found me reclining in bed on my back. “What are you doing?! You know sleeping on your back isn’t good for the baby! You need to be on your side!” I tried pointing out that I wasn’t really fully lying on my back, but he wasn’t hearing any of it. I guess I only have myself to thank for that one, as I had explained to him that it’s recommended for pregnant women to sleep on their side so as not to decrease blood flow to the baby.

At a dinner out last weekend, I ordered a non-alcoholic beer while everyone else was drinking wine. (In the past, I’ve felt OK about having an occasional glass of wine during pregnancy, but given that I have to take these baby aspirin which shouldn’t mix with alcohol, I’ve steered completely clear of any booze this time around.) When Ben saw that I had a bottle of O’Doul’s in front of me, he freaked out. “But, Mom?! What about the baby? You’re not supposed to drink alcohol while you’re pregnant!” I explained to him that it was a non-alcoholic beer—at which point he asked if he could have one too… I demurred.  

Have you ever felt harassed by anyone about your behavior during pregnancy—friends, family or a stranger? Leave a comment.

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