Australian radio and television personality, Chrissie Swan, was caught sneaking a cigarette in her car. She’s pregnant. As you can imagine – everyone is up in arms. It’s amazing the different things we label as “forgivable” or “unforgivable” in regards to pregnant women. I think everyone should just mind their own business.
A tearful Swan admitted to being unable to control her addiction as well as unable to explain it.
“It’s a horrifying situation and people are rightly disgusted,” she said, adding that she only told her partner and her mother after the photograph was taken. She also said she hoped that the incident was dramatic enough to help her give up the fags for good.
She said her latest pregnancy had been a “massive surprise and I had tried to go cold turkey like I did with (oldest son) Leo and I was confident I could do it, but I couldn’t. I just failed and failed, time after time.”
Smoking during pregnancy can potentially have awful repercussions. I’m not defending it as a choice – I’m just saying that being pregnant doesn’t automatically give you an iron will or make you infallible. People make mistakes. Pregnant women do things that people may deem “unhealthy” all the time.
When I was on the Babycenter boards with my last pregnancy, there would be thread after thread devoted to what crazy cravings women were having. Women would admit to eating Taco Bell every day or having insatiable cravings for Big Macs and apple pie. All of these anecdotes were taken lightly – brushed aside with “well, you’re pregnant!” I’m not convinced that having the occasional cigarette is any worse than dumping all of that crap into your body.
I think pregnant women dealing with addictions need help. It would be easier for them to get that help if they could be forthcoming about what was going on instead of hiding out of fear of judgement. No matter how pro-woman, pro-choice, or pro-feminist people are – they never seem to have a problem judging pregnant women who make poor health choices with disgust. No matter how open-minded you are, it’s hard to stop seeing a pregnant woman as merely a vessel for her growing fetus. Myself included. I have certainly been guilty of judging women made choices I deemed “unhealthy.”
So maybe the answer isn’t that people should “mind their own business.” Maybe the answer is that people should understand that pregnant women aren’t infallible – and treat them with a little more compassion.