Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Pregnant Woman Walks Into a Bar...

A pregnant woman walks into a bar and is soon approached by a guy who says, "Can I sit here with you?"  
She says, "No, I'm expecting someone." 

Ba dum bum, CHING.  Get it?  She's "expecting" someone!?  Credit for this knee slapper goes to a George Voiland.

I seem to be writing about pregnancy and alcohol a lot lately (recent posts include here, here and here).  I'm not sure if it's an important issue or just important to me and the seemingly boozy company that I keep.  Like many issues relating to pregnancy, alcohol use can stir up heated and differing opinions - when to drink, how much to drink, to drink at all.  Pregnant and childless, men and women, old and young, all have something to say.  The mere presence of a pregnant woman in a bar turns heads. 

How do you feel about pregnant ladies in bars?  While you're thinking about this highly philosophical question, watch this somewhat related movie clip.  By now you realize that I love movies, especially critically unacclaimed ones.

I've had multiple experiences with pregnant women in bars.  Before delving into such experiences, let's nail down the nomenclature.  By "pregnant women" I'm talking about the gonna-pop-any-moment kind and not the I-never-would-have-guessed kind.  Both kinds are pregnant, but only one kind is pregnant to the unacquainted stranger.  Another point of clarification, by "bar" I mean a place that makes its primary business by serving alcoholic beverages. 

I was a cocktail waitress in college at a sketchy, local pub.  Once in a while a pregnant woman would come in to shoot pool and drink Bud Heavy (read: Budweiser, not the light kind).  I remember feeling incredibly uncomfortable when this would happen and I would avoid serving her.  In more recent times, I've observed pregnant women in bars that I patron and I've actually been to bars with pregnant friends.  It's a rare occasion, but when it does happen I'm not nearly as stressed by it.  My understanding of pregnancy health has increased and my judgmental nature has decreased. 

My personal comfort/discomfort aside, I think people in general are disturbed by pregnant women in bars.  Maybe "disturbed" is too strong a characterization.  Weirded out?  Concerned?  When pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow was spotted drinking a pint of Guinness during her 3rd trimester with Moses (her son, not the biblical prodigy) it made national tabloid news.     

The stylist for this photo shoot has
successfully confused the hell out of me.
Between the 1989 Barbie-esque hair and makeup,
the faux fur jacket, the hippie brown skirt...
image HERE

Being aware of the negative effects that alcohol can have on an unborn baby is just smart.  Pointing out such knowledge to the unknown pregnant lady sitting next to you at the bar borders on self-righteous.  As judgy as we may all feel about the topic, and I'm not judging you for being read that correctly, consider leaving the pregnant ladies alone.  Let's judge in our heads, not with our eyes or our words.  Whether you see a pregnant bar goer sipping Guinness or sipping cranberry juice, let her be.  If anyone is going to have a serious discussion with her about pregnancy health it's gonna be her doctor.  And, probably, she's already had that conversation.  Who knows?  What we do know is that I'm no expert.  And neither are you.  Unless, of course, you're her doctor.


Chrissy said...

While I completely agree with you, I think you're sort of asking for it if you are super pregnant and drink alcohol in public. Enjoy your glass of wine or pint of guinness in your own home. If you are trying to make a point, then enjoy that drink in public, but you should probably expect some comments. And is it fair to get upset, angry, or bothered if you expect people to say something? I don't think can only control what you do.

While I'm choosing to abstain from alcohol for the duration of my pregnancy, people have asked me about certain food (poptarts) and drink (coca cola) choices that I have made. So I would full on expect someone to ask me about my choices if I was actually eating something my doctor expressly forbade (i.e. raw Sushi, alcohol).

But in my dream world, people would keep their thoughts to themselves! And let me enjoy my poptart!

Emily said...

I tend to agree with the previous comment. If you're about to pop but you want to have a drink without the possible condescension of fellow bar-goers, you may be out of luck. However, it's also important to remember that there is no law barring restaurants from serving pregnant women. Whether or not it feels as though society's on your side, every woman really can make a decision for herself.

It can definitely be a hassle to go out with your boozy friends and be relegated to non-alcoholic beer, but I think that the lesson to be taken away is that pregnancy is temporary and once the baby is born, your diet can begin to return to normal. People will always be judgey, but it's up to the individual to handle that responsibly.

Leah (it's me) said...

Chrissy - I love your perspective as always. I think it's fair to say that if you're going to engage in controversial behavior you can expect a little...controversy!

Emily - A new commenter?! A new and spot on comment!!! Others' judgments can't be controlled, so rolling with the punches and making good personal choices sounds about right to me.

Jessica said...

So funny, "the seemingly boozy company that I keep". I feel the same way - I'm not a boozer but I love my microbrews, as do most of my family and friends. Alcohol as been a major factor in the pre-pregancy discussion with my husband, along the lines of "everyone would know you were pregnant if you didn't drink at Charger's game/Halloween Party/upcoming wedding".

In relation, I think a great post idea would be talk about the "last hurrah" before trying to get pregnant, to ask if people had one last event/activity/boozy Labor Day weekend at the cabin :) that they wanted to have happen before laying off the sauce and generally becoming a more responsible person.