Saturday, November 5, 2011

When I was prego and living OCONUS, all my Euro friends offered me a glass of wine or a harder drink on the handful of occasions we got together for social events. I was shocked - fetal alcohol syndrome is ingrained in us from birth, and it's one of those things we know like instinct. It's ingrained in American women that we're nothing more than human incubators for a ball of undifferentiated cells, and all our base are belong to everyone else. Once people know we're with child, the world is given permission to ask any kind of prying question, judge our behavior or diet and lecture accordingly, touch our stomachs, check our cervixes, etc. It's nuts.

Recently, some prego friends have mentioned things going on in their lives that have brought to mind how paternalistic we are towards pregnant women. I dug around and found that American women are far more likely to have a child with FAS than a European woman is...yet in Europe, a woman isn't treated like a piece of trash when she has a glass of wine with her dinner. I wondered if maybe this isn't yet another example of our puritanical and paternalistic restrictions causing a more severe reaction than we might otherwise have.

Not that FAS is a minor issue. Of course not. It can be devastating. But so is displaying an unrealistic image of a pregnant or post-pregnant woman, like on the tee vee when a woman gives birth and suddenly voi-fucking-la, her huge ass baby bump is all disappeared and her uterus isn't all HEY MOTHERFUCKERS WHAZZUP SOMEONE BRING ME A FUCKING BURRITO AND THE TEE VEE REMOTE WHILE I MAKE LIKE A FUCKING BEAN BAG CHAIR ON YOUR PELVIC FLOOR. Y'know, since panic ensues when we realize how incredibly huge we're getting, and instead of increasing our daily caloric intake by 500, we're decreasing by 1000 and hoping to gods that the sudden fullness around the face is just the incredible hormones all taking up residence in our skin cells and not actually an indication that it's going to take longer than the usual 9 months to a year to fix the lumpy pile of good our post-natal bodies will be.

Not that I decreased my caloric intake. I lived in Cheez Its and apple juice because it's the only thing that didn't set the yarfing and/or acid reflux into overdrive. And I don't know if you realize, but Cheez Its are not low-calorie. Nor are they healthy. Which is why I drank the apple juice. You know, to offset the pile of shit and chemicals in the Cheez Its. And over yonder, across the pond, the juice was all fresh and had minimal if any sugar added, and there was pulp and shit, so at least there was a little fiber to slow down the BLADOW of sugar and insulin.

Anyway. FAS. What's bad is that in my digging, I found the most ridiculous image EVER CREATED. Ready? Prepare yourself. This is seriously fucked up. Let's see how many ways we can snark the shit out of it, mkay?

Apparently, pregnant women, when they drink, drink NEKKID.
Also, they shove a wine glass up their cookie because good moms know to puff, puff, pass.
And also, when your fetus is getting his crunk on, he does so with his head embedded firmly in your ass. Or possibly crowning, since you can be nekkid on these health websites, but we can't show a cookie to confirm. Really, she could probably wait five minutes and let the kid suckle the wine right out of her boobs. Unless this kid's gotta bust alien-like from her thigh to get free of her uterus, which appears to be migrating down her leg.
And is it just me, or is she not a real blonde? I guess OB/GYNs get really good at guessing who's natural and who's not. I wonder if they make a drinking game out of it at work.
Also, I'm guessing from what we can see of her face and her terrible physical anomalies that she's a zombie. And who knows? Maybe FAS is the cure for the zombie virus. Maybe it sets up a road block of crunk-ass ninjas in the placenta and takes those rogue virus DNA strands down.

Hey, CDC! Get on that. FAS blocking zombie viruses across the placenta. You're welcome.


Natalia said...

Hahaha! Great photo. I'm currently pregnant and will have a sip or two of red wine from time to time. I offset it by eating organic and using organic beauty products. So far being pregnant has been a great study in American anthropology. It's really interesting to hear people's reaction to a)the fact I have a midwife, b)I want to give birth squatting, and c)that I have NOT had an ultrasound yet, and may not have one until week 20. People can't seem to figure it out, as if I'm some crazy, irresponsible and reckless mom-to-be. Whatever. Women have been giving birth for thousands of years just fine thank you! BTW, have you seen the documentary The Business of Being Born? It's fascinating!

the Derpster said...

My take on the difference between American and European FAS rates is that European women tend to drink small amounts regularly while Americans tend to binge drink (in other words, there's a tendency here to drink large amounts irregularly because alcohol is not viewed as a normal, daily partaking. It'd be like the difference between having a small slice of cake after lunch every day versus eating an entire layer cake on Friday and Saturday night.)

And yeah, I couldn't believe how many MEN (no woman ever did this to me) thought that my visible pregnancy allowed them to come up and tell me what to eat/not eat, how to act, etc. It's been a while since my last one, but I vaguely recall reacting poorly to such "advice".

Jennifer said...

"all our base are belong to everyone else"

For this comment alone, I love you.

Personally I stayed away from alcohol completely during my pregnancy. I did get a lot of people and their "helpful" opinions while I was pregnant though. I have selective hearing all the time, but it goes into overdrive when I'm expecting.

Amanda said...

Is there a situation that people don't find it's their business to comment? Job, no job, kids, no kids, married, not married....people just can't mind their own damn business about anything. Honestly if it's not a health and safety issue, to each their own. Keep those thoughts in your head.

Carolyn said...

I think Derpster is exactly right - I suspect the exact reason FAS rates are higher in the U.S. is that so many of us just can't do a damn thing in moderation. If we're gonna drink, we're gonna DRIIIIIINK. And some of that drinking may well be during critical developmental stages, before the women even know they're pregnant.

Brittany said...

I'm 23 weeks preggers, and have had a couple of glasses of wine over the course of my second trimester. I was lame, and measured them out to make sure each one (not all on the same night, of course!) was an "appropriate" amount. I sort of had a tendency pre-pregnancy to polish off a whole bottle. I don't make it common knowledge, but you're right ... FAS is higher in America because we like to binge drink here. FAS is more common in babies where the women literally drank and drank and drank. But a couple of glasses here and there isn't going to hurt anybody. PLUS ... it helps my anxiety issues!!!

Krista said...

the mom should have done a keg stand instead so her baby didnt have to drink upside down.
that mom is an asshole.
also i drank wine while pregnant. because i wasnt like oh one drink here and there = bottle of 151, my kid is fine.
people are true assholes when you are pregnant. i told people i was just fat.