Moderation in All Things — Except One?

So, yeah, drinking while pregnant. I saw this topic first in the New York Post, and then again at Slate.

I think we can all agree that drinking a lot of alcohol at any point in a pregnancy is bad. And by “a lot” I mean daily, even one serving a day. That seems like it would be excessive. Even more than one glass of wine or beer a week, especially in the first trimester, seems needlessly risky.

What slays me about this topic are the comments, especially on the Slate article. The ones I especially hate are the ones who are like, “Good luck with your FAS child.” (FAS = Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.) That’s a terrible thing to say to someone. Of course, we all know that the Internet comment board is not the most civil of places, but come on. A mother who has a glass or two of wine in the entirety of her pregnancy, or even in the course of the third trimester, is not going to have a child with FAS. Now, whether or not a doctor should tell a woman that… well, that’s between a woman’s doctor and her.

And for that matter: Doctors and midwives are probably not going to change the party line on this, and they probably shouldn’t. “Moderation” means different things to different people.

The second type of comment that I don’t like are the ones that are like, “It’s the patriarchy trying to keep women down!” I mean, really? Suggesting that abstaining from alcohol while you are pregnant is keeping women oppressed? I would be tempted to look into that “equal pay for equal work” thing first.

When I got pregnant with Gabriel, Dan said to me sternly, “You are not allowed to drink alcohol.” I freaking blew my stack at him. We had a HUGE fight.

But it wasn’t because I was set on drinking. I had no intention of drinking alcohol while I was pregnant.

It was because he was telling me what to do. I HATE being told what to do. (Ask my dad about telling me I to take typing in high school. Like on a real typewriter. That went over with me like a load of bricks.)

(I did it anyway. And now I can touch type 80 words a minute, TYVM.)

The night before I went into the hospital to be induced with Flora, Dan and I — on midwives’ orders — went out to dinner, including, for me, a nice glass of red wine. A man at a nearby table remarked, “I’m sure that wine is good for the baby” clearly meaning NOT, and I smiled at him and said, “I’m being induced tomorrow. My midwife told me to have a glass of wine tonight.” That shut him up.

It’s the whole culture of judgement that revolves around pregnant women that really frosts me, I guess. The list of prohibitions is endless, and suddenly everything I am doing or not doing as a soon-to-be mom (again) is everyone’s business. Look at the prohibition against caffeine. I didn’t even hear about that when I was pregnant with Gabriel or Flora. Now women lament the loss of their lattes, too.

I guess my point is: I am an educated woman with healthcare providers I trust. I will get the care I need and take the proper precautions to deliver a health baby — you better believe it! Whether that involves a cup of regular coffee every day or 4 ounces of wine two or three times in my final trimester isn’t anyone’s business. (Except for Dan’s. He does still sometimes tell me what to do. It’s cute.) I don’t know why we are bothering to revisit the debate. Unless it’s exactly to stir the pot and get lots of nasty, judgmental comments on a site. In that case, carry on.