We need to bully pregnant women

2012-06-04 07:56

Chris Moerdyk 

I am pleased to say that unlike far too many South African men, I have never assaulted or raped a woman.

I have also been particularly kind and caring toward pregnant women.

But, I have to say that in the past few days I have started to change my mind about being kind and caring to absolutely every pregnant woman I come across.

In fact, I am going to unashamedly bully women who drink excessively when they are pregnant.

What opened my eyes to the problem of alcohol and pregnancy was that I sat on a panel of judges for the Responsible Drinking Media Awards which is the brainchild of Brandhouse, that same company responsible for those ad campaigns featuring the scary people drunk drivers will meet when they end up in jail.

Hunt down pregnant women

The overall winner this year was Kim Cloete and her M-Net Carte Blanche team for a documentary on foetal alcohol syndrome.

The judges were unanimous in their choice of winner and equally unanimous in their horror of the consequences of FAS.

My immediate reaction was to go out and hunt down pregnant women with glasses of booze in their hands. And then to bully them into submission.

Now, while companies such as Brandhouse and SAB do a lot to educate consumers on responsible drinking and with government weighing with legislation to try and cut down on alcohol abuse, I believe that every man, woman and child in this country can make an even bigger contribution than government and the business sector.

Quite simply by making things socially unacceptable. By not laughing and applauding when some wise guy tells the story about how he managed to get off a drunken driving charge or avoid a roadblock. But rather telling him to his face that he is a complete arse and that you are not in the least impressed. And will be less impressed when he eventually kills someone’s child by driving after a night of drinking.

And to do the same thing with pregnant women who drink and smoke during pregnancy. They won't like what you do but their kids will.

The problem that exists in South Africa with substance abuse is that, particularly when it comes to alcohol, there is very little social unacceptability. I am not against alcohol. I like my daily Scotch and a couple of gasses of wine every now and then. But, my father taught me all about moderation.

Bully the drunk drivers

And while we need to applaud companies such as Brandhouse for all their efforts, I believe that if each and every South African decided to declare drinking and driving and excessive boozing by pregnant women as socially unacceptable things would start to change.

Try it next time you are with friends - bully the drunk drivers and boozing preggies. But wait until they are sober for heaven's sake, otherwise they will have forgotten all about it in the morning.

You might well upset them and put a strain on your friendship. But that's better than them killing their own child or someone else's.

It sounds corny, I know, but this old adage is true - "friends don’t let friends drive drunk".

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  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-06-04 10:22

    fully agree writer!

  • Stephen - 2012-06-04 10:33

    Agree, let take responsibility for our friends.

  • Chez - 2012-06-04 10:35

    Wondeful article, thank you. I agree 100% with you. I have a friend who co0nstantly drives drunk and after his 3rd bust, got community service. He is still arrogant and laughs at his "sentence". My moaning at him does nothing but thats because all his friends also drive drunk. First time offense should be house arrest and weekends in jail for 6 months - FIRST offense, not 4th!!

  • frank.hubris - 2012-06-04 10:55

    I couldn't agree less! If a woman as a right to chose to abort her baby, she sure as hell has the right to poison and retard their fetus with alcohol! I think you are silly to try and save people from their own stupidity and worse than that you are antidemocratic in infringing on a woman's right to choose.

      Bruce - 2012-06-04 11:08

      You forget, you are not saving the mother, but the child and society as a whole. We do not need people damaged and retarded by their parents stupidity. Why should they be punished, after all, you cant's choose your parents!

      Anthea - 2012-06-04 11:17

      Frank was being facetious.I think it is a sharp dig at people huffing and puffing about their right to choose. Unforunately a lot of extremely dumb choices impact innocent defenceless others(foetuses,children, animals and the elderly)and there is absolutely sweet fanny adams we can do about it. Try telling a mother to buckle up a child- they will tell you to F.O and mind your own business.Try telling someone to keep their dog in their yard and then try not to cry when you see that dog lying dead on the road.Try not to cry when you see nine large body shaped pools of blood on the road because some taxi driver was going too fast with shocking brakes.Lovely sentiment, but nobody is listening, they are too busy listing their rights.

      Raven - 2012-06-05 09:52

      I completely agree with frank - fair is fair - how can you choose my rights for me? Have i no freedom of choice? Villifying alchohol, nicotine, drugs, etc. will not address the societal reason for abuse. It will only inhibit those who consume responsibly anyway.

  • Jane - 2012-06-04 11:24

    @frank.hubris. I assume your mother drank when she was pregnant with you, hence your STUPID comment. How can you say if a mother has the right to abort her child she should have the right to "retard and poison her fetus" So a child should suffer its entire life because its useless mother was so selfish she couldn't be bothered to stop drinking while pregnant. Have you seen a baby born with FAS? They go through excruciating pain while their tiny bodies suffer through withdrawl, and this also applies to mothers who take drugs during their pregnancy. Any expectant mother who drinks/smokes or takes drugs is not fit to be a mother.

  • Corne - 2012-06-04 11:31

    Applause - and yes, tell them to their face that you are not amused at all by the narrow escape they had whilst driving drunk. I am pregnant and I will sacrifice anything as long as my baby is healthy. There is enough that can go wrogn during pregnancy that is not the mother's fault. But keep the human errors to the minimum - because somebody is going to sot with that baby that can't see or can't socially adapt or will never finish high school. And don't blame the child for a pregnancy that you didn't want. For a lifestyle that you didn't want. It's not the child's fault. Maybe you were raped and it's not your fault - but that baby is innocent of anything.

  • claudevn - 2012-06-04 11:50

    I fully agree! If only people saw it that way... DRINKING OR SMOKING DURING PREGNANCY IS SHAMEFUL, DANGEROUS and dead right STUPID!!! Even just smoking causes a huge chance for the child's development to be severely flawed... IF you are pregnant you MUST respect the life that you are carrying, for you too will be judged for the damage you have inflicted on that poor soul... if not by the laws and courts of man, then at least in the next phase of life...

  • Chez - 2012-06-04 12:12

    My son was born ar 28 weeks and weighed 1.2kg's. The doctor told me i should get down on my knees and thank whatever god i pray to, that i did not smoke during the pregnancy. he said that without a doubt, my child would have died if i had smoked - without a doubt!! imagine how i would have felt. He is now a very healthy 26 year old.

  • Meloney - 2012-06-04 12:22

    Thats why I entered this photo into Picture the Change -

  • allison.steedman - 2012-06-04 13:57

    Many years ago I worked with someone who smoked and drank during pregnancy. Whenever I told her how much damage she could be inflicting on her child she said "it is my body and my baby and if anything is wrong I will have to live with it" Baby was born with major heart issues resulting in open heart surgery for the first time at 3 days and then regularly through childhood as the child grew. No mother has the right to inflict that type of pain and misery on their child.

  • Howsit - 2012-06-04 14:21

    Agreed women drinking alcohol during pregnancy is something we need to stop. However, the article irritates me in that its such a very typically white south african male stance. First, self congratulatory on not committing crimes of abuse ( it should be a given, dear sir). Then onwards to patting large corporates such as SAB and Brandhouse on the back. "Jolly good job". Lets not raise the issue that their biggest market are the poor and persistently flood and supply alcohol to shebeens and taverns in every poor settlement in the country, thereby being the biggest contributors to FAS, alcoholism and the social destruction it causes. And then finally on to a bit of more judgmental brow beating of some new group they disdain, as they quaff whiskey from their lounger. This time of all people its pregnant women. Although writers like this one are not WRONG, their judgmental holier than-though (but MY father taught me moderation you SEE) attitude somehow sticks in my craw. His conclusion is to bully a group of people. I've never heard of snobby white men walking around bullying people to change societal behavior, but then again...

      arthur.hugh - 2012-06-05 10:20

      Thumbs up for you sir.

      Michaele - 2012-06-07 15:53

      I agree with you totally, and don't forget the two markets that they (SAB and the likes) "attack", the developed market [middle to upper class] and the developing market [poor class], 90% of focus is at the developing market. Got the tee-shirt!

  • bmaestro - 2012-06-05 11:12


  • Vaaldonkie - 2012-06-05 16:39

    Stop lumping the Bourgeoisie in with the proletariat.

  • natalie.samson1 - 2012-06-07 08:25

    Brilliant article! So true! If parents want to throw their lives away then let them be but when it comes to the lives of innocent and unborn then its a totally different case! there is no excuse for recklessness or being irresponsible

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