11 Signs You've Accidentally Joined The Pregnancy Police

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I don't need to explain the Pregnancy Police for you to know exactly the kind of people I'm talking about. Sometimes it's worth going a little more in-depth, though. Specifically, I want to point out the signs you've accidentally joined the pregnancy police, because from where I stand, I feel as though it's kind of like joining a cult: you don't always know what you've gotten yourself into before you're in really deep.

You don't necessarily need to experience pregnancy to be a member of the pregnancy police (though most have at some point). You don't even need to be especially interesting in pregnancy, birth, or parenthood (though most usually are). You just need to have opinions. Like, lots and lots of opinions. Oh, and you need to think those opinions are The Right Opinions. Most importantly of all, you have to voice those opinions loudly and insistently.

A tiny little fraction of me is sympathetic to the plight of the pregnancy police. After all, as a society we're told pretty explicitly that treating women's bodies as objects for public enjoyment, judgement, and consumption is perfectly acceptable. My sympathy is extremely limited, though, because WTF, you guys? Pregnancy Police are all in the Mounted Officer division, and they can barely see a damn thing from atop those high horses.

You Talk To Other People About The Details Of Someone Else's Pregnancy

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Being gossipy isn't all that great in and of itself (even if we all indulge from time to time because we're humans, goddamnit!), but when your gossip routinely revolves around the details of someone else's gestation and birth, look around you: there's pretty good chance you're in the squad room of the pregnancy police and didn't know it. How did you get here? Why do you stay? Why do you believe the existence of this force is necessary in any way?

Stop. Disband. Live your life without poking around other people's private affairs.

You've Suddenly Become A Nutritionist

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OK, so you're not officially a nutritionist. You didn't get a degree or certification or anything. You know you don't know everything, but you're pretty sure you know better than everyone. After all, you've read a book about what to eat when you're pregnant. (Well, mostly read it. You skimmed some parts.) You've shared countless articles about healthy eating on social media with some great hashtags, too, and we al know that counts for something. So, really, it would be a disservice if you didn't tell pregnant women when they weren't eating the right foods.

If this is you, you're definitely in the pregnancy police.

You're Secretly A Midwife Or OB-GYN

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Is "extensive specialized training" any better than "having an opinion on the best way to be pregnant or give birth?" Do you really have to "be familiar with someone's medical history" to know the best way for them to deliver? After all, you've given birth (or you're going to, and it's all totally going to go exactly the way you think it will because you wrote it down in your birth plan), so that definitely gives you the same qualifications as someone who has spent years studying medicine and practicing caring for pregnant people.

No, Officer Know-It-All. No. Cease and desist.

You Demand Explanations

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Just as the regular police are empowered to confront you if they have probable cause, the pregnancy police feel they are empowered to confront you if you're doing something they question or disapprove of.

"Why are you still working out? Has your doctor said that's OK?"

"Are you really going to work until your due date? Is that a good idea?"

"You want to get an epidural? Did you know it's full of toxins and your baby is going to be born high? Have you even considered doing it all-natural?"

No one has to answer your questions, pregnancy police. They don't even have to be in the interrogation room.

You Contradict Or Dismiss Explanations

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Someone is kind and patient enough to address your questions or concerns (even though, again, they are under no obligation to do so) and it goes something like this:

You: Why are you scheduling a c-section? You know doctors just do that to make money, right?

Them: Actually, the baby is in a transverse lie position, which isn't really compatible with vaginal delivery.

You: That's ridiculous. Talk to your doctor and demand to go into labor on your own.

Do you see how, in this scenario, you're dismissing someone's choices despite a lack of knowledge about their pregnancy and discussions they've had with their doctor? Also notice how you're brushing aside totally valid information because it doesn't conform with what you've already decided is "the right thing to do?" This is a really good indication that you're on the force.

You Look For Things To Comment On Pregnancy Related Social Media Posts

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You see that your pregnant friend has posted pictures of her baby shower. You immediately dive into the images, zooming when necessary. Is that sushi she's eating? She has a coffee cup in one picture and then again in another? Is that two cups of coffee in one day? Is she going over her allotted caffeine intake? Oh god, the cake is chocolate! Chocolate has caffeine, too! Oh, she got a car seat as a gift. Is that The Best And Safest Car Seat on the market? She got a stroller, but did she get a ring sling? Shouldn't she be using a ring sling over a stroller? And what is she wearing? Should a mother show that much cleavage?

Even if you were pregnancy policy, even if that were a real thing, you're off the clock. Just stop. Step away from the social media accounts.

You've Uttered The Phrase "Well, I'm Sorry If I Care About That Precious Baby!"

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This one is very specific. I'm not saying that making a declaration about your love of unborn babies means you've joined the pregnancy police, but whenever I've heard someone self-righteously and indignantly say "precious baby" (or, alternatively "innocent baby") it's someone who is somehow offended that you aren't agreeing with 100 percent of everything they're saying.

You Have Passive Aggressively Recommended Someone Watch 'The Business Of Being Born'

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"It just really makes you think. Because most people just don't know. Like, I know. After you watch this totally unbiased movie you'll know, too. And when you know better, you do better."

It's hard to see through smog sometimes, but it's never hard to see through smug.

You Offer A Lot Of Unsolicited Advice & "Encouragement"

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Let's take the example we used earlier, but take it in a different direction.

You: Why are you scheduling a c-section? You know doctors just do that to make money, right?

Them: Actually, the baby is in a transverse lie position, which isn't really compatible with vaginal delivery.

You: Have you tried techniques to get them to flip?

Them: I'm actually OK with the c-section.

You: What about going to a chiropractor for an adjustment?

Them: I don't think...

You: Here, I'll give the number for my acupuncture guy. He's amazing. I went to him and my baby went from frank breech to posterior overnight!

Them: That's great, but I've done a lot of research and had some great conversations with my doctor and I think a c-section is the best option for me.

You: No! Trust your body! It was designed to do this! It's your natural destiny as a woman!

Them: "Designed?" "Destiny?" That sounds a little Handmaid's Tale don't you think?

You: MAY THE LORD OPEN!

(OK, probably not that bad, but you get the idea. So, if you've been the "encouraging" side of this discussion, you're probably in the pregnancy police. You're at the very least overstepping your bounds and not picking up on important social cues.)

You Hold Yourself Up As The Platonic Ideal For A Pregnant Person

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Members of the pregnancy police often take their own experiences and hold them up as the only viable experience a pregnant person can have. If they had a good pregnancy, your uncomfortable pregnancy is because of something you're doing wrong. If they had an unmedicated birth with no problems then your not going that route means there's something fundamentally flawed your choice, probably due to ignorance, according to them. If they had an epidural and you don't want one, they'll assume you're only doing it to make them feel bad about themselves. The pregnancy police are nothing if not myopic and insistent that everything is personal.

You Have Strong Opinions On Someone Else's Birth

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But why? Why? If someone else wants to hear your opinion or try to learn from your experience, by all means share away. There is no dearth of pregnant people who will take you up on it. Otherwise, just leave people alone. Please, for the love of God, turn in your badge. Because it's not a real badge. It's one you made yourself and have been metaphorically flashing all over the place and it makes you look ridiculous.