I’ve been a bit grumpy since I got home from the doctor. Leo assumed it was from the speculum prodding, but when I growled at an old man who gave me a funny look, I got asked ‘What is the matter with you anyway?’
I didn’t want to tell him because it was embarrassing. Eventually admitted that a rather nosey middle aged woman outside the doctors surgery had said something that had got my back up. The gem I got from her, as I was smoking a cigarette was ‘You shouldn’t smoke when you’re pregnant’.
This had the quadruple whammy of being OFFENSIVE, JUDGEMENTAL, WRONG and also just plain NONE OF HER DAMN BUSINESS.
I gave her a withering look and informed her that actually, I’m not pregnant, just fat. It will forever irritate me that some people seem to have the idea that women cannot possibly be allowed to be fat unless they are pregnant. I also told her that I have two health conditions which cause my stomach to be bloated, and that comments such as hers didn’t particularly help. I then continued on to say that in fact, it was none of her damn business even if I was pregnant and smoking, because she’s a complete stranger and it has nothing to do with her.
I don’t think people should smoke when they are pregnant. However, being pregnant was a very stressful time physically and emotionally for me, and it would be been quite understandable for me to have a cigarette, which I still didn’t do. I may have the occasional wibble when I see a pregnant woman smoking, but I remind myself of several important facts.
-Firstly, it really is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It’s not up to me to tell strangers what to do.
-It could be her only cigarette of the day. She could be quitting or cutting down. Maybe she’s decided that one cigarette a day is a good compromise when she’s previously been smoking 40 a day and the one that she has stops her wanting to put peoples head through windows. Both pregnancy and quitting smoking make you want to do those things, combined isn’t going to be much fun.
-I have no idea what stress she’s under, what her life is like, if her pregnancy is easy or if she is suffering. It’s not up to me to judge peoples coping mechanisms.
I would much prefer people didn’t smoke when they are pregnant. However, your lungs filter out most of the toxins as does the placenta, so I’m not going to begrudge someone a cigarette, no matter how many people turn their nose up at this. Women who smoke FREQUENTLY AND REGULARLY are at risk of complications with themselves at a baby. But one cigarette is not frequently or regularly, and you cannot assume this from a chance meeting on the street. Even if you can see someone smoking a lot, maybe sat in the garden of a pub or a club, it still remains none of your damn business (as well as all the other points above).
Above and beyond this, I am amazed and horrified at the absolute GALL of some people. I would never presume to comment in this fashion because my delicate sensibilities were offended by something they were doing, unless it was extremely dangerous/immoral/unsanitary/illegal. I accost people that let their dogs shit on the floor and make no pretence that they are going to clean it up. I take issue with people being violent to each other in public. I get annoyed at people that pee in alleyways or puke in the street when they are drunk.
But people, whether or not YOU like it, a pregnant person still has her own mind, her own personality, her own body and her own choices. She still exercises control over these things and she doesn’t become a walking incubator, subject to the whims, orders and opinions of others when she decides to bear children. Smoking when pregnant is not illegal. So if you see it and get your frown on, remember it’s none of your damn business and walk away.
The only person whose choices you control are yours. Don’t want to smoke when you are pregnant? Fine then, don’t. But you’re not such a special snowflake that you get the deciding vote over what other human beings are allowed to do.