An Open Letter to the Drinking Police – Kveller
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An Open Letter to the Drinking Police

Kate Hudson is a lovable, sassy pregnant Jewess. So as you can see, she and I have a lot in common (much like me and my Oscar-winning doppelganger, Natalie Portman).  Kate’s pregnant with her second child, fathered by her beau, Matt Bellamy of Muse, and is on a little jaunt through Argentina with Bellamy and her 7-year-old son, Ryder.  I totally wish she had called me before she left, because I love Argentina and could have given her a lot of hot tips. You snooze, you lose, babe.

One of the hot tips I would have given Kate would be something like this: “Hon, when you’re pregnant and out to dinner, whatever you do, don’t sit near the window and take even so much as a sip of what appears to be red wine, because the paparazzi will get you and you will generate an undeserved Internet shitstorm.” Shoulda called, sweetie.

But she didn’t call (sigh), and now, here we are, with articles on line showing the photo sporting obnoxious headlines like, “Pregnant Kate Hudson drinks wine?” “Kate Hudson drinking? Call the pregnancy police!” and “Don’t Cry (or Wine) for me, Argentina.”  “The mom-to-be worked up quite a thirst during her stint in the South American country, although her choice of beverage came as a bit of a surprise to onlookers,” one schoolmarmish publication wrote. Can’t you just hear the “tsk tsk”ing in the background?

How about “Don’t Preach To Me, Argentina”? All of this bitchery from the anti-drinks-for-preggos crew is a bit much.  Earlier this year, a woman in Illinois was told to leave a bar, because she was “heavily pregnant.” (If anyone EVER calls me “heavily pregnant” in print? Seriously, I’ll sit on you. It’s bad enough that my boys go around the house singing “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovic.) Not that it matters, apparently, but the pregnant woman at that bar was at a friend’s shower, and was just drinking a glass of water. But you know, proximity to alcohol even outside the body can be dangerous to the fetus. PLEASE.

Many American sources recommend total abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy, saying they don’t know what kind of effect even the teensiest amount of alcohol has on the fetus. I know America has its roots in Puritanism, but let’s lighten up a little, people.  The French think there’s nothing wrong with red wine during pregnancy, but feel salad is an anathema cesspool of dangerous bacteria.  My ob-gyn says not only tuna is potentially dangerous, due to high mercury levels, but I should watch my intake of salmon as well. Just think: all this, and cankles too! A girl just can’t win.

Well, it’s time to come out of the closet. I’m 26 weeks pregnant (that’s not the coming out part–it’s obvious to anyone I lumber by) and I would say I’ve had a sip of wine about once a week, and about 4 or 5 glasses of wine in total, since knowing I was pregnant. I drink a cup of coffee a day. I don’t exercise as much as I want to or should, in no small part because I work and already have two children, all of which keeps me pretty freaking busy. I have eaten salmon while pregnant, and have abstained from tuna, but have done so because I don’t like tuna. For that matter, I have eaten sushi while pregnant, numerous times. While we’re in the confessional booth here, I also rode at least 3 rides at Disney World with my kids where it explicitly said that “expectant women should not go on these rides.” And all signs thus far (pu pu pu!) are that all’s well inside my burgeoning belly.

Look, I read Michael Dorris’ book “The Broken Cord” about his adopted son with fetal alcohol syndrome when I was in high school, and it made quite an impression. That’s powerful stuff. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying: I don’t feel that regular drinking during pregnancy is safe, and certainly believe that those who have a problem bordering on alcoholism should seek treatment, ideally before conceiving.

But I don’t actually believe that all the allegedly horrid things I’m doing will really cause my baby harm. If I did, I wouldn’t do them–examples of things I don’t do are smoking, drugs, and bungee jumping off a cliff. What I resent is that we live in a society where it’s even controversial to say or think these things, and articles like the ones about my BFF Kate are written solely for the purpose of making me and those like me feel intensely guilty, worried and scared for doing them.

And all the preachy would-be Puritans writing these articles? I am willing to bet that they’re out there, driving without seatbelts (you know how I feel about that one), having unprotected sex with strangers, eating foods drowned in pesticides, depleting the ozone layer, eating nuts from the common container on the bar, re-using the same sponge when they wash their dishes, using untested beauty products, getting manicures twice a week…the list goes on and on.

Our ardor and ink is ill-spent on idiocy like taking a pregnant woman to task for having a sip of wine. If we’re genuinely concerned about the health of pregnant women, how about improving health care for them in this country? Or making sure that baseline health insurance programs cover all the tests pregnant women need to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth?

Start fighting about things that matter. I’ll drink to that.

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