Existing on the internet as a pregnant person has always been a little hazardous for one’s health. With access to information about what could possibly go wrong and a million message boards that are fraught with judgment and terrible grammar, it’s best to stay away from the computer if possible. Take a walk. Cook a nice meal. Go for a low-key tubing jaunt on the lake.
On second thought, you’d better scratch that last one, since that’s precisely what Olympic gold medalist and FC Kansas City soccer star Sydney Leroux did, and boy, did the hammer of internet judgment ever fall swiftly on her for daring to post a picture of the summer fun.
Leroux, who relies on the health of her body to make a living, is expecting a child with her husband, Sporting Kansas City’s Dom Dwyer, who also relies on the health of his body to make a living. Between the two of them, we can safely assume that the decision to go tubing — yes, even while pregnant — wasn’t something they decided to do for a rush of adrenaline or to push their physical limits. It’s tubing, for Chrissakes, not hiking Everest.
Not so, insist Instagram commenters with doctorates from Google University. According to them, this is a picture of Leroux doing a Very Bad Thing:
And of course, they’ve got a nice little diagnosis to go along with their pregnancy policing. “You gonna kill that baby,” mouth-tooted one erudite troll. “There’s no way her baby is still living after she did this,” agreed a commenter whose own hobbies appear to be drinking and talking about drinking. And finally, a real, live, internet doctor of babyology weighed in with 110 percent “true” Internet Fact©: “if the boat is making a wake…..um that’s going fast. it’s advised to not even go on boats while pregnant, and if you do…for it to be calm waters. smh. why risk it. hope is an old picture.”
Man, Sydney Leroux is so lucky to have all these people concerned about her health and the health of her baby. She didn’t seem particularly grateful, though, because she followed up with a heartfelt message asking people to please stop telling her how dead her unborn baby is:
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It's unfortunate that I have to say something but after a number of comments like: 'you're going to give birth to a dead fetus' or 'you just killed your baby' I have to remind you that this is MY body. MY body is the body that is creating life. MY body is the one that has stretch marks and cellulite and varicose veins and sore hips and back pain that runs down my legs. MY body is the body that is tired and sore and emotional and the happiest it's ever been. So if I want to jump in a pool, go on a tube and slowly ride around with my husband, dance like an idiot or work out I am absolutely going to. Leave your awful comments to yourself and let me enjoy MYSELF and MY body the way I want to.
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And good for her too. There are risks during pregnancy and ways to mitigate them, but these tend to vary from woman to woman, and so do the conversations they have about them with their doctors. No doctor worth her salt would continue to perpetuate the strangely persistent myths that require women to find a comfy (but not too comfy — babies hate when moms are comfortable) chair to quietly sit in while they wait for their only role in their child’s life — incubating inoffensively — to be over.
Most doctors want moms to stay active if the pregnancy is relatively risk-free. In fact, most doctors don’t even cotton well to the whole “don’t lift things while pregnant” myth that assumes women are fragile flowers, just one butterfly trample away from being bruised to death.
Plus, can’t you just hear the Google U grads on a post of Leroux sprawled out on a La-Z-Boy? Then she’d be lazy and endangering her child with her reckless sloth. There’s no way to win. We’re not sure what causes people to weigh in on the choices that people they’ve never met make during their pregnancies. It’s not like the soccer player is going to call them up and thank them for saving her and her baby from herself. If anything, the stress of reading the words “dead baby” in conjunction with a picture of yourself during pregnancy is bound to cause a lot more stress to both Mom and fetus than a little tubing at trawl speed could ever do.
If you’re a Google U alum, here’s one thing you ought to remember: Unless the pregnant person in question has a cigarette dangling from her lips and a 40-ounce of malt liquor in her hand, you should refrain from typing.