We all know that alcohol in pregnancy is not recommended and that women are not supposed to be drinking wine when pregnant. Medical advice is to avoid alcohol when trying to conceive and when you are pregnant.
Personally, for me, drinking anything alcoholic wasn’t even an option during pregnancy even if it was allowed because I was so sick for most of both my pregnancies.
I avoided alcohol before we got pregnant and during.
However, I did, one day, decide to buy wine. And I got told off for it.
Here’s the picture. I’m heavily pregnant with my second child. I’m out shopping with my first child who is about to turn 3. It’s just before Christmas and I’m out getting gifts for our beloved childminder. She loves good red wine so I popped into a well known shop with a slightly fancier food section (ahem, M&S) because I knew they did a wine she liked. I found what I wanted and we toddled, (or rather I waddled because at that point I had horrific pelvic pain because the boy was a big baby and I had pelvic and back issues during his pregnancy and SPD) to the payment area and tils. I loaded up the bottle of wine and some other bits I wanted to buy and waited for the cashier to process them.
It was a male cashier, probably aged about 25/30. He took my shopping and started to beep it through the til.
As he picked up my bottle of wine, he looked at me, looked me up and down, with my obvious pregnant bump, and said
“You can’t drink wine when you are pregnant”
I looked at him and replied “yes, thanks, I know that” and expected him to proceed with my shopping.
He then proceeded to tell me “you shouldn’t be drinking when you are pregnant, it’s bad for the baby”.
I stopped packing my shopping, and looked him in the eyes and said
“Thank you, I know, the wine isn’t for me, it’s a gift. But if I needed advice on what I can and can’t do when I’m pregnant, I wouldn’t be asking you, please mind your own business”
He then looked me up and down again, and clearly he’d decided that I was some hideously irresponsible person who was going to leave the shop, crack open the bottle of South American red and make sure me and my unborn baby enjoyed it. He probably thought I’d be pouring the three year old with me a glass too.
At this point I was tired, needed a wee, the three year old was mutinous because I’d refused to buy her a large packet of Percy Pig sweets, and I was, frankly, pissed off.
I paid for my shopping. I then asked “Mr concerned about the welfare of my unborn baby” if he could get his manager. I think at that point he realised he’d picked on the wrong pregnant woman to lecture about alcohol consumption. He rang the bell and a manager came over.
I then proceeded, far more politely than I felt like being to say
“Would you mind telling me if this shop has some sort of health policing policy in place where staff are allowed to give medical advice?” and went on to explain to the manager and “mr concerned about the welfare of my unborn baby” that I was over the legal age to buy alcohol, and that I didn’t need a lecture from someone younger than me, male and not medically qualified to advise me on what I could and couldn’t do when pregnant.
The manager was very apologetic. Faced with an annoyed pregnant woman, brandishing a bottle of wine with a stroppy toddler in tow, I think he had no choice but to be.
He assured me that I was perfectly entitled to buy whatever I wanted to within legal rules and that it was not appropriate for anyone working in the shop to be telling me I what I could or could not do whilst pregnant.
Meanwhile the queue of people behind me looked on judging me for holding up their shopping time and probably for buying wine when in the family way.
We finished off with the staff member apologising to me and I left.
The moral of the story?
Don’t tell pregnant women what they can and can’t buy or do, unless you are the medical team caring for her pregnancy and her and her baby. She likely won’t take kindly to it and may make you regret it…