Don’t booze shame pregnant women or moms with kids

Last month a woman shopping at Wal-Mart with her 20-year-old twin daughters was told she was not allowed to purchase alcohol because her girls were underage.

Iowa mom Julie Lauridsen wasn’t doing anything illegal. In response, Wal-Mart representative Brian Nick said, “We specifically don’t have a policy to ID minors, because they are not the ones buying the alcohol. It’s the adults. We have the policy, of course, to ID the adults.”

But alcohol shaming of moms and expectant women is certainly not an isolated instance. And it’s not just narrowed down to alcohol, either. These moms share their experiences with waitstaff, cashiers and even family members shaming them for their choices during pregnancy.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, cocreator of Science of Parenthood, says that she was denied entrance to a bar/restaurant because she had her newborn in tow. She says, “I just wanted to sit outside on the patio and have the martini that I’d been waiting for 10-plus months to have. But the fashionable guy at the front, not a bouncer, not a maître d,’ was so smug about it. It made his day to turn me away and try to shame me about having a cocktail with my baby alongside.”

Kim S., new mom to a 2-month-old baby girl says, “I’ve had a couple relatives say I couldn’t have wine-based salad dressings.” Umm, that’s definitely taking it to the extreme. Now where can one purchase said wine-based dressings?

Chaunie B. says she was refused the purchase of wine (for cooking, she explains) because she was pregnant. She says, “I was using my husband’s wallet and he was in sight taking the kids on the pony ride, but [the cashier] still wouldn’t trust me.” Until her husband came over to vouch for her, that is.

Though Amy V. has never been alcohol shamed, the pregnant mom admits that she really wanted to order a glass of wine with dinner recently but did not. Why? She says, “The judgment of others is what stopped me.”

Mary F. wasn’t refused a not-so-healthy choice during pregnancy — but she admits perhaps she should have been. She says that though she was experiencing severe water retention with one of her pregnancies, which led her doctor to put her on bed rest, she just had to have a salty, greasy meal from a fast food chain. She reveals, “The clerks behind the counter thought nothing of it. Our fellow patrons never gave us a second look. But my check-in nurse was beyond mortified when we told her about our stop along the way. Considering my condition, a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or even a shot of whiskey would have been healthier than what I had just eaten.”

Maria M. says “I had a once a week brunch date at the same diner during my entire pregnancy. One week, I was finally showing, and I had a new server. When I ordered coffee, she said, ‘Don’t you know you’re not supposed to have that when you’re pregnant?'” The server brought her a decaf instead, and Maria admits she was so flabbergasted that she didn’t argue.

Angela A. says, “I wasn’t refused, but I did get quite the look when I bought moonshine while pregnant.” Now that’s more like it. Kidding.

Of course we’re not condoning boozing it up while pregnant, but judgment upon a pregnant woman or a mother has gone way too far. It is the responsibility of the expectant woman or mother, not a complete stranger, to know her allowances and limits when it comes to any substance.

More on pregnancy and motherhood

Mom arrested after toddler found dead at Oregon resort
Shoplifting mom was so worried about getting arrested she left her kids behind
It’s time to stop shaming moms who don’t breastfeed