New research appeared this week saying that mothers who don’t take enough iodine when pregnant risk the baby being a bit dim when it grows up. (I’m paraphrasing, you understand.) My first thought when reading this was: thank God I’m not pregnant so I don’t have to take this crap any more. Closely followed by: I didn’t even know iodine was something you ate; the only time I’ve ever come across it is in old novels where they use it to treat people for cuts.
This kind of research or, as I prefer to call it, yet another stick to beat women with, seems to be everywhere at the moment. Not a day goes by before something else emerges. Last week it was co-sleeping creates a higher risk of cot death, there was something about only children being better at something than ones with siblings and a few weeks back they told us that it was ok to have a drink when pregnant.
The cot death research seems to have attracted a bit of a backlash. A lot of people got huffy about when they would sleep and how, thanks very much. I’m not that sympathetic, t be honest, though I think this is mainly because I dreamt about E suffocating in the bed every night for the first three months of her life.
But I wonder if this has something to do with the scattered nature of families these days? If there’s just the two of you and one of you’s at work, then sleeping on the sofa, especially when the baby is still very small is soooooooo much easier all round than trying to get it to sleep in the moses basket and then you relaxing enough to sleep yourself. I don’t know.
I do know, however, that it’s now far too late for me to affect E’s progress by making sure I have enough iodine in my diet. *Googles what iodine is found in* Seaweed, organic strawberries, cranberries, organic yoghurt, navy beans, crystal salt and potatoes. Bugger. Don’t eat seaweed, don’t know what navy beans are, crystal salt? What? I don’t suppose I ate many strawberries while pregnant as I only eat them in season and I only have cranberries as a sauce at Christmas. Thank goodness for potatoes eh?
Apparently this means E may be less alert and intelligent than other children her age (though reading that list, I’m going to hazard a guess that not many other parents round here ate iodine either so she won’t be shown up at school among her classmates). If I was the worrying kind, I’d worry about this but what is the point? This bloody research is only there to fill column inches in parenting magazines and to make women feel like crap. These days we’re not only supposed to have all good things while pregnant and breastfeeding, we’ve got to get into pre-pregnancy mode too. Planning a baby? Even vaguely thinking about one? Eat more navy beans! And don’t forget folic acid.
In case you weren’t aware, it’s the Twenty-first century. Women are allowed to go out to work these days and vote and live on their own and have a credit card and all that. (Thanks feminist movements of yore.) Yet more and more I seem to be reading about what “women of childbearing age” should and shouldn’t be doing.
(That’s before we try to consider what we’re referring to as childbearing age these days – 16, 25, 40? Who knows?)
We should all be watching what we eat, to make sure our bodies are ready for childbirth and motherhood. But, according to some commenters on a webpage I was reading last week, we should all be ready to sacrifice our careers for the sake of childless people. Yes, from age 16-40, get ready to do menial jobs women! (The commenter didn’t consider men being parents at all, in his view all children were a selfish decision by irresponsible demanding women who had the gall to want it all. He wasn’t alone in his opinions, before you wonder, he was one of many – I read these things all the time.)
Is it me reading too much into this or do we seem to be experiencing some kind of backlash? As laws and cultural taboos are changing to welcome children and flexible parenting, so the number of people complaining about them seem to increase. Or at least complaining and dictating to women seems to increase.
OK, I’m over ranting now. But can someone please tell me how it’s bad if I don’t eat navy beans and crystal salt while pregnant but it’s still ok to have a beer?
Lies, damn lies and research into the habits of women of childbearing age.