Hey, I'll be the first to admit that, when you're pregnant, a lot of stuff just gets harder. Morning sickness in the first trimester (or your whole pregnancy!) makes eating a chore. That baby heaving against your bladder means you have an urgent "going problem" all the damn time. As you get further along, your belly is huge and you're starving and your feet are swollen and your back aches and you can't bend down.
It starts to feel like you can't do much of anything ... besides lie on your couch, chowing on pretzels. Considering all of the issues above, yes, you've reserved the right to take the last roll in the bread basket, cut the bathroom line, or take the only available seat at a cocktail party.
But just because your stomach is so large that it now has its own gravitational pull doesn't mean the world revolves around you. There's a limit to how much you should really play the pregnancy card, and it seems that many women often abuse the privilege.
Earlier this week, a very-pregnant Victoria Beckham and Gordon Ramsay were eating at Gjelina, easily one of the best restaurants in LA. It's a casual, hipster spot that serves only local, seasonal, organic fare, with an extensive menu that includes salads, small plates, main dishes, and the best butterscotch pudding that you'll ever eat. Anyway, the menu clearly states that they won't make changes or substitutions -- okay, cool, that's their deal. Apparently though, all poor Posh wanted was a smoked trout salad, without the avocado, grapefruit, red onion, and lemon it usually comes with. Oh, and she also wanted her dressing on the side, natch. Well, the restaurant refused to accommodate her order. Oh diss -- Posh got denied! And then, Gordon Ramsay got all huffy and bitched about it to the LA Times, complaining about the restaurant's treatment of a pregnant woman.
Now, I haven't had too many food aversions, and certainly not this far along in my pregnancy, but it seems to me that "smoked trout" might be a little more offensive to the palate than some avocado and grapefruit, no? And when it comes to overall pregnancy health, I'd say smoked fish is a lot more iffy than citrus fruits. For the record, I've been to this restaurant while pregnant and there were plenty of things on the menu that I could eat. So, one has to wonder if, perhaps, she was just using the pregnancy excuse to dodge the "no substitutions" policy. Was this really about Posh being preggers, or more about her feeling entitled?
Let's be honest: every pregnant woman milks her big-belly status to some extent. Some abuses are benign, some are totally bratty. A friend of mine, during the last uncomfortable weeks of her pregnancy, nicely canceled plans or just told friends she wasn't up for socializing -- totally okay, I think! One girl I know made her husband sleep on the couch for the last two months of her pregnancy because his snoring was disrupting her sleep -- totally bratty!
Shamefully, I too am guilty of being a pregnant brat, although I do my best to watch it. Just yesterday though, Home Depot called to tell me that the nursery doors we were promised two weeks ago still aren't in. As a rule, I have always tried to be really patient and understanding with customer service people. Of course, that was before my pregnancy. In my hormonal rage, I got pissed at the poor guy, ranting about how I was pregnant with twins, yes, twins(!!!), and they could come at any time, and my poor babies will have to live in a room with old, splintered, broken, 100-pound doors thanks to you, sir, thanks to you! Really, it probably would have been okay if I had just expressed my general disappointment with the fact that this order was taking so long. Did I really need to throw in the whole pregnant-with-twins thing? Nope, probably not.
So, yes, I think it's okay to pull the pregnancy card when you need to satisfy your insatiable hunger, or ease your aching back, or avoid peeing in your pants. And if you want to see if they can make that salad without Gorgonzola cheese, absolutely, you should ask, and they'll likely accommodate you. But, as a pregnant woman, the rules still apply to you too. You don't suddenly get carte blanche to do or say whatever you please, and you shouldn't expect any special treatment, beyond what friends, family, and strangers are willing to graciously offer.
What do you think of Victoria Beckham's request? Do you think pregnant women are entitled to special treatment, no matter what?
Image via abbybatchelder/Flickr