I participated in a focus group today on alcohol and pregnancy. It’s a touchy subject and one that really brings out the Holier Than Thou in people. There were 9 of us in there, all of whom have had a child in the last year and all of whom have had a drink in the last 30 days. I was the newest mother with a 2.5 month old I believe the oldest was 8 months.
To start things out the moderator asked the question “Is it okay to drink while pregnant?” Everyone around the table began, “No!” “Absolutely not!” “It’s irresponsible.” “If a woman drinks when pregnant she must not want the child.” The judgment spewing out of them made my blood boil. I knew what they were doing, maybe not all of them, but most. I knew they were immediately thinking of the extreme, you know, the idea of someone out clubbing every night sucking down beer and throwing back shots.
Then I spoke, “I drank when I was pregnant. I had a total of 3 glasses of wine. One at Thanksgiving, one at Christmas and one a day or so before before our daughter was born. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a glass of wine or maybe a beer on a special occasion. Most likely, all of our mothers drank when they were pregnant with us, and probably a bit more than would be considered safe; the human race managed to survive, and it has for thousands of years. ”
As soon as I said it, all but two of the women around the table said “Oh, yeah, well a glass of wine on occasion, sure, that’s fine, you just can’t overdo it.” Well wasn’t that the question to begin with? Frankly they did what all of society expects women to do, act like we’re the purist thing on earth simply because we’ve had a baby. And ridicule anyone who doesn’t fall inline with what we’re told a mother should be.
As the conversation went on, they all fell back in-line with what they thought their answer should have been. And when the question about why shouldn’t you or why didn’t they, their answer always fell to “Why risk it? There’s no way I’m going to do anything to risk my babies life.” And I really wanted to ask, “Did you get into a car during your pregnancy? Did you walk out the door? Hell, did you sit in your living room during your pregnancy? Because I know at least three different people who have had a bullet go through their living room window at some point and you know how many instances I’ve heard of a baby having fetal alcohol syndrome as a result of the mother having one glass of wine on the rare occasion during her pregnancy? Yeah, none.”
Frankly, I feel like the CDC has to say don’t drink at all during pregnancy only because they have to target the lowest common denominator. They have to publish their recommendations and guidelines for, yes I’m going to say it, the stupid people. The people who don’t know better. The people who aren’t smart enough to use simple common sense. It’s a Cover-Their-Ass recommendation; the same as when I told our Bot’s pediatrician that we co-sleep. The doctor has to ask us, “you know the risk of SIDs” because of the risk of malpractice. Of course we know there are risks involved with co-sleeping but we’re adults and able to make intelligent decisions for our child. Decisions we’ll be making for the rest of our life.
So yes, I drank when I was pregnant and I’ll continue to drink in front of our daughter in order to teach her that you can consume alcohol in a sensible manner. Of course that right there is a topic for a future post.