STFU Parents: Mothers Who Expect Special Treatment — For Being Mothers

Last week the Huffington Post ran an article titled, “Pregnancy As Disability: Professor Wants Coverage Under American With Disabilities Act.” The article, written by Jeannette Cox, a law professor at the University of Dayton (Ohio), focuses on Cox’s argument that “”pregnant workers currently have less legal standing” than people with comparable limitations,” and therefore pregnancy should be protected under the ADA. Cox’s argument sounds pretty reasonable, but after giving it further thought and posting the link on the STFU, Parents Facebook page, several other factors worth considering came to mind.

First, many STFU, Parents readers pointed out that pregnancy is a condition one (usually) has by choice, and a disability is often something a person must involuntarily live with forever. That distinction alone is hard for many people to swallow when considering labeling pregnancy as a “disability.” But beyond that, many people (including dozens of pregnant women and moms) noted that women are already protected if they have complications resulting from pregnancy, so this “temporary” disability claim isn’t really necessary (and is actually a little insulting). However, I think it’s fair to say that Cox’s push for this disability status has more to do with employers who treat their pregnant employees badly, and her main interest is to ensure job security.

What all of this tells me is that there are many sides to this argument, and all are worth acknowledging. Yes, Cox’s hypothetical solution to the employer problem has women’s best interests in mind, but it could bring about a slew of other issues, as well. For me personally, the potential problems that came to mind have more to do with subjects I’ve read about in STFUP submissions.

As we saw last week, sometimes moms are not particularly sensitive to “old people,” and based on prior posts on my blog along with current submissions, they’re not always especially understanding of the needs of handicapped people, either. In fact, while I’m not saying Cox’s idea of ADA protection is a bad idea, I’d propose that some women would actually abuse their rights as a “temporarily disabled” person both during and after pregnancy. Some already do, minus the official status recognition.

Here are a few examples:

1. Bathroom Stall Expectations

STFU Parents

This is an ongoing debate that seemingly has no resolution. Technically the large bathroom stalls are for people with disabilities who need extra space to maneuver in the stall, be it because of a walker, a wheelchair or some other reason. Any mom knows that those stalls are the ideal stalls to use whether you have a baby in a giant stroller or an older toddler who still needs a little help. BUT, that being said, mothers are not entitled to using those stalls, because they are not in fact handicapped. This presents a problem when a person who has no kids and no disability walks out of the handicapped stall after a mother has been waiting with her child and becomes irate.

Don’t believe it can happen? Oh, it can. This is an email I received last week ago from a reader:

STFU Parents

I have to say, I’d have done the same as Kristin. What else can you do but laugh off a person who’s yelling at you for taking up a handicapped stall when that person has no disability? Whether the person is trying to get to the changing table, park her stroller, or just help her son use the toilet, the only real solution for parents is to – gasp! – wait their turn. But my question is, if a woman gets labeled as having a temporary disability because she’s pregnant, would she have automatic and immediate access to these stalls? And how would that access play out once she’s had the baby and now has a stroller to contend with (but no “disability”)? Something tells me scenes like the one Kristin described could become much more common.

2. Hockey Game Expectations

STFU Parents


I don’t know who Stephanie’s friends are, but I’m impressed with the way they speak up in this thread. I think this is an accurate example of the way many women feel about motherhood, and also a great example of why labeling pregnancy as a disability could be a bad thing. After all, if you’re told you have a temporary disability for nine long months of pregnancy, it could be hard to go back to thinking that you’re just an “average person” who can’t claim the same rights as a disabled person once the baby is born. That may sound ridiculous, but clearly some mothers equate their post-pregnancy struggles with those of a disabled person, so it’s something worth discussing.

3. Expectant and New Mother Parking

STFU Parents

I don’t know that it’s a law that pregnant women can cut to the front of any line in Paris, but it’s certainly a fact that France is rated as having some of the best health care in the world. There’s no doubt in my mind that if pregnant women were treated the same in the US as they are in a country like France, I might not even be writing this article. But unfortunately that isn’t the case, so instead of receiving the health care we deserve, pregnant women and mothers cling to the things that make their lives easier, like “special” parking rights at stores and malls. These parking spaces are a hotly debated subject on STFU, Parents and might even warrant their own column someday. But for now, the main issue lies in the fact that: A) Some women believe there should be far more of these spaces (and some even think there should be more expectant mother spaces than handicapped spaces), and B) People become outraged when someone who isn’t a parent (or doesn’t have a child with them) parks in one of the spaces.

I happen to like it when a parent tackles such a conflict with a sense of humor:

STFU Parents

Remember, moms: Whether pregnancy will one day fall under ADA or not, if you’re not actually having a rough pregnancy, and you don’t actually suffer from a disability, you’re the same as everyone else. You may be a superhero to some, but to the person using the handicapped stall in the bathroom, and the person parking at the grocery store, and the usher working at the Metro Center, you’re just another lady with a baby.

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  • WMDKitty


    • WMDKitty

      Stop. Just STOP.

      It isn’t funny, clever, or cool to go around impersonating other people, and I WILL track your ass down and pursue legal action if this continues.

    • WMDKitty

      Not. Funny.

      If this continues I WILL pursue legal action against both the individual posting these comments while impersonating me AND against Mommyish for not stopping this horrid form of harassment.

    • SiulaGrande

      Kitty, someone’s doing this on the latest STFU post. I gave B. the heads-up, but you should probably get in touch with her so she knows for sure it’s not you.

    • bob bobington


    • What a Moron

      I guess WMDKitty supports SOPA since she thinks you should be able to “sue” entire websites for having “mean people” in their comments section…just think of a world where every website with a comments section could be shut down because one person cant handle some idiot trolls…maybe if you got off the internet and went outside once in a while, this wouldn’t be such a big deal…seriously WHO FUCKING CARES. lmao go call a lawyer, I bet you will try to sue him after you tell him your “case” and he laughs his ass off.

    • Miss Norris

      Can’t believe you’re barking at WMDKitty and not the troll. How very classy of you.

  • Miss Norris

    **big friggin eyeroll** Way to block the wrong person, Mommyish. You should’ve blocked the troll, not the REAL WMDKitty.

    • HAHA


    • Kit

      watch out, I heard WMDKitty is planning on suing the internet for being mean! even though she was the one who told a woman that miscarried that she deserved it…

    • Miss Norris

      Hello again, Kit, my favourite person in the whole world. Say what you will about WMDKitty, but she’s tons better than you, you childish little blabbermouth.

  • barg

    wow. just wow.

  • lisa

    Those stalls are **disability-accessible**, not **disability-exclusive**. It’s only rude to use them if you’re taking them away from an actual disabled person. Otherwise, they’re fair game.

    • Rachel

      fair game for who? If a disability stall is not exclusive for those who are disabled, then who gets to decide who they ARE for? Yourself?

      What if you chose to get knocked up and because of that you give yourself permission to use the disability stall, but then an ACTUAL disabled person comes along and has to wait while you finish your business. And because they can’t drive, they may need to catch public transport to their next destination, meaning that they need to use the restroom right away so they don’t miss their bus. Also, disabled people would probably take longer than the average person to use the restroom, so why would you even take the chance of inconveniencing their lives even more?

      In other words, leave the stall free for them. Leave your stroller outside the stall or go find a parents/family restroom. Disabled people have more inconveniences in their lives than you could imagine. If you are using the disabled stall and a disabled person comes along while you are in there – you ARE taking away from a disabled person.

      Doesn’t seem very fair to me.

    • Leigha7

      I was taught that unless it’s the only stall available, you don’t use the handicapped stall. However, I don’t think it’s a terrible horrible awful thing if you do use it. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times in my life I’ve had to stand in line waiting for a stall. If no one but disabled people ever used the handicapped stall (even when there was a line), it would kind of be unfair, since most disabled people would essentially never have to wait for a stall ever yet everyone else would have to do so fairly often (and for slightly longer).

      And how do you know they can’t drive? Many handicapped people can, even ones who can’t use their/don’t have legs. And even if they can’t, they may very well be with friends or family. It’s ridiculous to assume they’re any more likely to be in a hurry and need to catch the bus than a non-disabled person. What if a non-disabled person is poor and can’t afford a car so they have to take the bus everywhere? Do they get to use the handicapped stall if it’s the only one open so they can avoid missing the bus?

      Yes, disabilities suck. Yes, people with physical disabilities need and deserve accommodation. However, they do not have a right to be exempt from things like waiting in line. THAT’S special treatment, and I’ve always been under the impression that most disabled people don’t want to be treated differently any more than necessary.

    • babycarrot

      I don’t have kids and I’m not disabled, but I use the handicapped stalls all the time. They’re bigger and cleaner. It takes me about 15 seconds to pull my pants down, pee, and pull my pants back up. I seriously doubt I’m inconveniencing anyone.

  • Wilwy

    There are no laws in Paris that allows pregnant women to cut a line. However, it’s a courtesy, to let them go before you, and not doing so is bad manners. But no laws. I think the only thing we have is special seats in buses. But it’s “pregnant women, disabled people and eldery”. Not just pregnant women.

  • Tori

    It looks like this woman can carry her child and her things by herself without a stroller, why can’t Stephanie?

    P.S. I also doubt she’s going somewhere as fun as a hockey game so Steph and mothers like you, STFU about your “problems”.

  • Maber

    The story about the handicapped stall cracked me up!
    1) Bathroom stalls are not sacrisant, everybody wants the big stall and when the others are full they will get used regardless.
    2) The sign says handicapped, not “toddler stall” lol!

  • lawyer

    Actually this article is incorrect. Pregnancy arguably was already covered as a disability under the ADA and courts found it met the definition. But since there was confusion, Congress specifically passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to make clear employers could not discriminate against you for being pregnant.

  • Xantippi

    People just don’t understand invisible disabilities. I have a brain tumor, it has caused complication requiring over 30 surgeries. There have been times my illness “shows” (e.g. I was in a wheelchair, on arm crutches, or had lost me hair,) and times I looked “normal”. It was INSANE how differently I was treated! I was just as sick, in just as much pain, but if I didn’t have an obvious disability, I was treated like dirt. I got screamed at for using the larger stall. I was mocked for “being bulimic” when I threw up (in the bathroom…). These women have no idea. A child is not a disability!

  • Audrey

    You people make me sick. There is a reason why there is changing tables in handicapped stalls. what about parents with newborns? Should they put their newborns on the floor and change them there? Your parents must have done that to you because your filthy, fucking disgusting people. And its quite clear that a great number of you have either no children or pregnant women in your family, or at least not for a while. You people are sick really, you deserve the karma that comes for your bitterness.

    • babycarrot

      I always thought the reason changing tables are in handicapped stalls is because a handicapped person might need to change his or her baby’s diaper, and the ones outside of the stall are too high up to be reached by a person in a wheelchair.

    • Fluffy_1

      The floor is not disgusting; it probably gets cleaned more than your floor does, cuz you’re too busy playing Angry Birds and bitching on Facebook to get off your fat arse and mop it.

  • Audrey

    put fucking bars on the sides of the smaller stalls as well, problem solved. Someone will not steal a walker, but think of cities where if you leave a stroller outside a stall your shit will get stolen, holy shit use your fucking heads.

  • jales

    to the writer: you are a fucking retard! There are reasons while pregnancy is treated as a disability. If people were not told to get up and give us priority to sit in a bus for example they would not and sudden stops could cause us to fall injuring a HELPLESS FRAGILE life. Fucking retard. Also I would like to argue that having a small child is very much like being disabled and we do deserve special treatment. Do you know how often I have gone onto buses with an infant in my arm and NO one gave me a seat. Really, really often cause it’s not told to people no one thinks about it and if I fall the outcome is just not the same as if there was no baby on my arm. People should give us special treatment in certain cases. And it is very much a disability to have an infant on your arm, and many mothers do not have the luxury of óptions’ like a babysitter or whatever other bullshit you come up with. People need to be more sensitive. You see someone having a hard time, whether because of a child they are taking care of or because of a missing limb stop being a jackass and give them a seat or a bathroom stall or a helping hand or simply shut the fuck up!

    • Ciara Aisling O’Hagan

      Wow you’ll be a great mother with casual use of the word retard to a stranger on the internet. It isn’t a disability to have a baby on your arm. A disability is having no arms at all.

    • Fluffy_1

      You had sex that took. Hate to break it to you, but that doesn’t make you special. Mammals have been doing that for billions of years.

  • jales

    I just want to make a comment and say that I have had a baby in Jamaica and in the Netherlands and the experience was much easier in Jamaica. There are no signs saying to give women with babies special treatment in either country. But in Jamaica 9 times out of ten if I had a baby in my arm I would get a seat on the bus. This almost never happened to me in the Netherlands. The problem in the Netherlands is that they are people like the writer of this article. They are extremely DISCONNECTED from the realities of life with children. Maybe the writer has kids but from this article I can be sure that he or she is not the one raising those kids. He or she is completely disconnected. In Jamaica people are more connected. People actually understand what life with a baby is like and so they are nicer without needing to be told to be so.

  • jales

    Also having an infant on your arm is a disability. You can not function as well as without an infant on your arm. You lose the mobility of one of your arms, your balance is off and the child can move at any moment throwing your balance more off. Children are also heavy and you can’t just put down an infant.. they cant walk or crawl, some cant even hold up their heads and will quickly hurt themselves on the floor. It causes exhaustion holding a baby for very long and you simply do not function as you would if your hands were free. If having a broken arm (which is also temporary) is a disability; having a child on your arm while traveling is a disability. And the argument with choice as far as kids are concerned is just dumb. We take chances and end up pregnant, just as a solider takes a chance by joining the army. Is it then his fault if he loses a leg while in battle and therefore he should never get special treatment?

  • caro0905

    at my old job maternity leave was 100% paid. when i had to take time off for my CANCER it was at 80%. poor mommies.

  • Snerrk

    My mother used to park in expectant mother places and if anyone ever asked her about it she would say “I am an expectant mother; I expect my children to be good citizens of the world.”

  • Rebecca Erickson

    Just want to speak up here… I am pregnant, and I do not think I am disabled. I expect no special treatment. I don’t need my own bathroom stall or my own parking space or to be allowed to cut in line. My legs work just fine. Being considered “disabled” would really offend me and every other mother I know. The fact that my uterus is currently in-use does not make me disabled, and anyone who insists that is the case will bear the brunt of my neo-feminist rampage.

    So you found some rude people on facebook. Good job! But please don’t act as if ALL or even MANY mothers/expectant mothers are like that. Some of the comments on this article are making very general statements about “women” or “mothers” when you are really talking about one professor at U Dayton and 5 anecdotes from facebook. Lets keep that in mind and avoid rude generalizations.

    I, of all people, can understand a visceral reaction to rude people. But please understand that you are talking about six moms out of billions. Those rude ladies are the exception and not the rule.

  • Ri

    I think we need more understanding towards pregnancy/motherhood from our employers (re job security, needing breaks to pump, etc.), but, even with my being pregnant now, I do not equate pregnancy with disability. That’s ridiculous. Though I did not purposely become pregnant, this is not a life-long problem or even a life-long inconvenience. I won’t hate on any pg women who uses a large stall, the same way I won’t assume a supposedly-healthy looking person isn’t disabled. But I don’t assume that is a right, or even think it needs to be, for pg ladies. Life changes when you get pregnant and after the baby(ies) are born, and your life needs to adjust to that. The world doesn’t necessarily have to (over)adjust to you.

  • BubbleyToes

    I’m not pregnant, but I am disabled. You can’t see it outright, but I have severe orthopedic issues with one of my legs and I have had 6 surgeries for it. Because of this, and the constant pain I have almost every day, I have a handicapped parking tag, and I use it! Sometimes, on a bad day, I even use the little motorized carts at the grocery store. You should SEE the looks I get, because I can walk properly and if I’m wearing pants that hide my scar, you would never ever know. So, comparing a pregnancy to what I deal with (and so many more that have it WAY worse than I do) IS just rude.

  • Emily Clocke

    For #2 – Leo absolutely deserved a Gold Star. Why didn’t he get one? EDIT: Anne deserves one too

  • beth

    I think both Kristin and the mom who yelled at her are jerks. She was just as entitled as the woman she was calling out for being entitled!

    The handicapped stall is not a bathroom Plaza Hotel for special people who like their space. It’s for HANDICAPPED PEOPLE. If there is a regular stall open, use the regular stall. You never know when someone who ACTUALLY NEEDS IT is going to walk in. Get over yourself, be thankful for your health and able body, and “squeeze” in the normal stall.

  • Fluffy_1

    All these pregnicapped women need to get a life and get the fuck over themselves. They chose to get pregnant.

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  • CFandHappy

    Stephanie needs to F-OFF!!! I love how all her friends jumped on her and pwned her with their comments. Yes Stephanie, stay home with your sprog if that’s the attitude you have. Honestly… moaning that she doesn’t get as many ‘perks’ as a disabled person? Pretty sure they are not ‘perks’ bitch, but just adaptations to help them live as close to a normal life as possible!!! What a self-absorbed bitch!

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