Monday, April 21, 2014

Don’t look that way or you will kill your baby!

Don’t look that way or you will kill your baby!

I wager there is a post on the internet with a dedicated audience that concerns that particular issue. I just came across a post that concerned the issue of whether an expectant mother could eat blueberries (oh, the peril!). The answer - blueberries are a great nutritious addition to your diet and good for you and baby, but cautioned that “there have been no studies on above normal consumption of blueberries.” So cancel the lorry of blueberries I ordered?

I voraciously, with increasingly ferocious nail biting read and read and read all the things that I shouldn’t do and all the things I must do and embroiled myself in all the contradictions (which resulted, as I related above in my first prenatal appointment, in ambushing my OB with a barrage of questions and was immediately prescribed a period of non googling). In fear and not wanting to give up one my guilty water-guzzling pleasures of taking a warm bath with himalayan salts and lavender oil, I decided to have a safe, lukewarm bath. I doubt the meddlers that advise you to take a lukewarm bath have actually undertaken this horrid deed by themselves. They would probably realize that not only does it take all the relaxation out of it as you are increasingly uncomfortable but a lukewarm bath gets cold fast - and then not only was I cold and uncomfortable, but freaking out that I was going to get a cold and harm my baby. So I quit baths for a while until I realized that a warm bath was not a devil to be feared and that a lot of what you read is bollocks. Jumping in scalding water is inadvisable and so is maybe getting into a hot tub, but a warm bath is a relaxation that is harmless and which you may well need.

And how do you even make sense of all this varied and often contradictory and mostly ridiculous advice out there if you wanted to be extra cautious, just in case? The way to follow without being overwhelmed is actually quite simple - think of all the things you want to do and strike a big line through it because you won’t be able to do it. Some studies say even thinking about getting in a hot tub will kill your baby. A glass of red with dinner? I don’t think so lady. Order your fillet mignon medium rare? Forget it. A herbal tea in the afternoon? What have you been smoking? A latte? Seriously, now, aren’t we getting a little bit lax, here? Some paté? Incorrigible. Mortadella? Do you even care about your kid?  Feta? Somebody call the police! Sushi? Murderer! A nice warm bath? Witch! Peanut butter? Certifiable. Continue with my yoga practice? Have you not heard of prenatal yoga, you selfish bitch? Continue with my ballet bar classes? Don’t you see it’s not all about you? Travel? Who the fuck are you kidding, fatty?

I even read advice that you should detox after using your computer and mobile phone and keep your phone and computer activity down to at most two hours a day. Well that would all be well if I were a farmer, but considering my life is spent writing at a computer, I’m going to have to question the basis of your advice. Oh, you were talking to a ghost through a seance? Moving along... And for that matter, how did they come to the clear unit of O for alcohol intake for your pregnancy? It seems from my brief research that the studies that this purportedly sage advice is based upon involved binge drinkers and alcoholics. How exactly does regular binge drinking compare to a glass or even half a glass of red wine with your dinner each eve or a few nights a week? Are there studies that show that women that did everything else right, in fact, that they lived in a glass case eating only yoghurt (pasteurized of course), well cooked meats and various fruits and vegetables and who had a glass of wine with dinner had babies with learning difficulties, congenital defects or foetal alcohol syndrome? I would wager, possibly due to the fact that I am attorney and my mind is never far from the litigious aspect, that the real issue is doctors saving their own backs or being told by their insurance companies that they must uphold the zero tolerance rule. Another reason may be that as members of the fairer (read dim witted) sex, we are just not be trusted to have only one glass a night. As known lushes that can’t control our emotional impulses unlike the ruling sex which views itself as clothed by strict reason, albeit they have led the world to utter destruction, the patriarchal rule from on high is zero tolerance to prevent our predicted faulty reasoning that if one is OK, well surely, three is not bad?

The best doctor is your own body - when I nearly had a heart attack from a super stealth attack from my thyroid with an uncontrollably racing heart rate and before I knew I was experiencing anything but extreme fatigue, my body told me that caffeine and alcohol were out - a sniff of alcohol was intensely nauseating.

So go ahead and enjoy that glass of red with your medium rare steak. If you don’t like its taste or don’t feel like drinking more, your body will tell you. I know that I am satisfied with half a glass of wine and with half a coffee but that doesn’t mean that there should be a strict half glass policy. And if there were - pour into a bigger glass as my dad once said.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS RESPECTING YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR BABY, TALK TO YOUR PRACTITIONER.

I have to protect my booty too.

No one is inoculated against the epidemic of giving out unsolicited advice ( by telling you to listen to your own body above, I just did it too- everyone is infected!) as to what you shouldn’t and what you must do during pregnancy and nursing, and probably to child rearing itself, although I have only had the privilege of being bombarded with mellifluously delivered malicious advice as to what I am doing wrong in my pregnancy. There is disturbing ownership of pregnant women in society with your belly becoming an object of public debate and censure and everyone entitled to comment and criticize. Indubitably, this control results from the continued prevalence of misogyny in our society. Growing life and giving birth remains the primary and essential difference between us and men that will never change. It is the one aspect of our society that they cannot control. So how do they remedy their biological redundancy? By controlling us. Well, fuck that. We own our own bodies and know what is good for us and not. There’s a reason nature gave this job to us. Can you imagine men going through all these emotions, all this fatigue and pain? We would probably have really good “maternity” leave though. And t-shirts.

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