When I found out that I was pregnant, there was one thought that pervaded all others, and it was this: My best friend was getting married two weeks after my due date. The thought was all consuming and I was deeply concerned with taking the correct course of action, both as it pertained to my closest friend and to my unborn child. So when I had my new patient consultation with a potential OBGYN and she asked me if I had any questions, the first thing out of my mouth was, “My best friend is getting married 2 weeks after my due date. Tell me I can still go?” The doctor was rather amused and asked if there weren’t any other pressing questions I’d like addressed first. I must have looked at her as if she had 3 heads. This WAS the most pressing question I had in my arsenal. And so I simply looked at her quizzically, until she reassured me that all would be well and that we’d discuss my options in depth and formulate a plan. Hired.
A few weeks passed and I began to cycle through my options, realizing that new questions arose with each alternative. Was it preferable to take my newborn on a flight with me or to leave her behind? And if I were to leave her behind, how much would I have to pump? Would I be able to supplement with formula if I weren’t able to pump enough? I needed answers. So I turned to the pregnancy message boards I had begun to frequent and ventured on over to the “Babies: 0-3 Months” forum in order to present my query.
Never could I have predicted the response that followed. These women acted as though I had asked for their thoughts on infant waterboarding. The amount of vitriol spewed in my general direction made me double-check my license to make sure I wasn’t, in fact, Casey Anthony. I half expected Child Protective Services to show up at my door and put a lien on my unborn child. It was incredible. I was called a bad mom, cursed at, and generally treated with a remarkable amount of disdain. According to them, if I took my baby on a plane, she’d most assuredly come down with a case of the West Nile virus, and were I to leave her at home, it’d inevitably disrupt the bonding process, causing her to grow up to be a serial killer. In the end, I was told in no uncertain terms that this was impossible and that I needed to get my priorities in order.