Every pregnant woman has been there -- the stranger who touches your belly, the weirdo in the locker room who stares at your naked form a little too long, the man who tells you soft cheeses are verboten. We all have had that moment during our pregnancies where not only are our bodies suddenly hijacked by a baby, they are also now open for public judgment and scorn.
No one knows this better than a pregnant woman in Washington who accused 24-year-old Justin Dain Palmer of pulling a gun on her after he screamed at her for smoking while pregnant. He denies that he pulled a gun, but not that he confronted her, saying: "Who the heck smokes when they're pregnant?"
It's a good question, to be sure. Smoking during pregnancy is not all that bright. But it's also something else: none of his damn business. Oh yeah. I went there.
Unless a pregnant woman is actively stabbing herself about the midsection in broad daylight, then whether she eats brie or cold cuts or chooses to smoke or have a drink or two is NONE of anyone's business. Judge all you want. But do it silently. It's her baby. It's her body.
Look, I can't defend smoking while pregnant and Lord knows I was a stickler about every little thing that went into my body both times I was pregnant. But I also know that pregnancy is hard on a woman, and if smoking is something she can't quit, well then, it's not really my place to yell and scream at her.
Parenting is so much about other people's opinions sometimes. I can't stand when someone looks at me funny or makes a comment about my "cold" daughter when it's 50 degrees and she is in short sleeves.
Would it make a difference to know that my daughter happens to run extremely hot and never wants a jacket? What about if I told you one of my main parenting philosophies is to let my children dictate their own bodies? If they're warm, I'm not going to force them into a jacket. That is a battle not worth having, especially when it would only be for appearances.
I realize it isn't the same thing as smoking while pregnant. And I realize a pregnant woman's body isn't completely her own and the baby can't speak for him or herself. But even still. It isn't the place of a person who knows nothing about a pregnant woman's back story to step in and say anything.
This is especially true of men. Guess how much I care what a man who will never be pregnant thinks about how I am as a pregnant woman? Yep. That much.
Do you think people have the right to confront a pregnant woman?
Image via west.m/Flickr