I went to Babies R Us this weekend to pick up something for a client, which got me thinking about their expectant mom parking spots. I don’t like these spots, I think they are counterproductive. With a few exceptions (and these exceptions tend to get handicapped placards), pregnant women need to be walking. A few extra steps between their car and the store’s doors are probably going to be a very good thing. Staying active during pregnancy is crucial for maintaining your health and comfort, keeping your baby healthy, having an uncomplicated birth experience, and ensuring a speedy and uneventful recovery after birth. Parking a little further away at the few stores that offer these posh spots may not do a lot to keep you fit during pregnancy, but offering the spots does contribute to the cultural perception that pregnancy is some kind of disability, and that pregnant women should be less active, and I dislike them for that.
You know who really could use special parking spaces, though, is new moms. Women in those first six to twelve weeks post partum, when you really should be taking it easy and not over exerting yourself, because you are recovering from birth and adjusting to life with an infant. You are sleep deprived and bleeding and sore and possibly healing from tears or incisions and making another human beings entire good supply with your body. You should be resting AFTER your baby is born. That’s when you should be thinking about being less active. Not to mention you have this little infant who probably needs to spend as little time out in the elements as possible, and it would probably do the infant good to have a closer parking spot too.
But in our society, we have it backwards. We encourage the perfectly healthy woman to be lazy, at the expense of her own and her baby’s health, and then we ask the woman who is still recovering from birth to buck it up and get right back to life as normal again. It must be extra hard to get back to normal too, when you’ve spent the last nine months getting out of shape because society told you pregnancy is an illness.
I just don’t like the social messages these spots send, so I refuse to park in them.
Then today, as if my irritation with expectant mom parking was not quite enough, I hear that an organization in Denver is attempting to sell pregnant women placards that would allow them to park in handicapped spots.. The placards aren’t legitimate, so please don’t waste $20 on one, but even if they were, this would drive me UP THE WALL. This is an organization that believes in normal, healthy, and primarily unmedicated birth, so how can they in their right minds think this is a good idea? Surely they must know that maintaing physical activity during pregnancy is important for having a healthy birth. It’s like people just don’t think these things through. Everyone likes to feel like a princess when they’re pregnant, sure, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of our health. And not just our individual health, but also the health of our pregnancy and birth perceptions as well. Giving pregnant women permission to park in handicapped spots is like calling pregnancy a disability. It is not one. And treating it like it is for convenience’s sake just contributes to the cultural myth that pregnancy and birth are these terrible things that happen to women and must be managed by professionals outside themselves, rather than pregnancy and birth being normal life events that women own and experience with assistance from experts.
Guess my baby stats!
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