Stop the Judgement: Laughter Doesn’t Make it Funny

I got really fired up after a recovery gathering last night. Like, beyond my usual passion for the recovering mother. In my community, there are a number of not-so-funny "slogans" that have become commonplace.

I'm not into controlling anyone else's words, but there is one particular slogan that's “supposed to be funny,” and needs some attention. Our 12-step group gives out tags for clean time; to recognize and congratulate certain lengths. This is supposed to be a joyous occasion. For a while now, when the nine-month tag is announced, some can be heard yelling out, "pregnant with recovery, not by someone in recovery."

I do not think this is funny, or cute.

When did it become acceptable to shame scared, pregnant women?!?!? I'm pregnant for the second time in recovery, but this comment made me angry long before. It’s not the pregnancy hormones that are upsetting me; it’s the fact that I was that scared, pregnant woman years ago. I found out I was pregnant when I was 60 days clean!

I saw people measuring the size of my belly and felt them judging it against my time free from drugs and alcohol. It almost caused me to stop going to meetings.

I saw people measuring the size of my belly and felt them judging it against my time free from drugs and alcohol. It almost caused me to stop going to meetings. I sat in those rooms blushing with shame when that stupid comment was said, and I WILL NOT allow anyone to shame a mother, her children, or a mother-to-be away from recovery.

I will speak up Every. Single. Time; and not worry about what anyone thinks of me because I do.

The world is hard enough on mothers AND people in recovery. We cannot afford to be so hard on each other. This is one of the reasons the Sober Mommies mission is so important to me. I never want my sisters to feel ashamed for being who they are, or afraid to enter recovery out of shame or embarrassment.

To the pregnant woman in recovery I say this

I love you, because if I love you, I love me. I support you, because if I support you, I support me. You have a place here; no matter what. We will protect you so you can be the best mommy you can be. Most of all, I promise to never shame you; because we’re in this together.

6 Comments on “Stop the Judgement: Laughter Doesn’t Make it Funny

  1. Rachel this story is so important for all women! I didn’t go to meetings at all during my pregnancy with my youngest just for that exact reason! I didn’t want the extra added stress of feeling others judge more than I already judged myself! I applause your courage in stepping up and being the voice for every woman! Pregnant women deserve extra love and need to feel that as the baby also feels it too! To every pregnant and nonpregnant woman out there reading this…I love you, you are important, you are beautiful, and your never alone

    • Thanks, Linds. I just can’t allow humor to hurt anyone anymore. I think ahead to all of our precious little ones being raised in the room & I cringe that THEY may one day feel ashamed of themselves purely because their parent/parents chose recovery. Not on my watch!

  2. I have read several posts regarding humor at the expense of alcoholics, and it has caused me to stop and think. I am someone who uses humor as a means of coping, and have at times unintentionally offended people, and they have let me know it, which I appreciate. I have learned that communicating with others about my personal boundaries is a healthy practice for both myself and for others. That being said, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. For years I never discussed the fact that I drank the first 20 weeks I was pregnant (as soon as I was showing, the gig was up). Thank God my son is healthy but I suffer from a disease, no different than any other, which had the potential to cause great harm to my son and myself. I did not ask to be an alcoholic, I was born this way and have had to forgive myself in order to move forward. My amends to my son, to continue in sobriety. I have run into lot’s of people over the years who have offended me in one way or the other. When this happens, I am reminded to “place principles before personality” (I use this “slogan” on a daily basis). I have the choice to speak up or to let it slide, but I do not get to blame others for my hurt feelings. Stand tall in recovery, no mater who you are or how long you have been sober – Especially mothers, because if you haven’t picked up today, than you are taking care of yourself and you deserve a standing ovation!

    • Absolutely! My community is fed by a treatment center specifically for pregnant women & women with kids. So a scared pregnant newcomer is a daily attendee. She hasn’t learned to hold her head up high yet, and needs to have a safe place to recover. I speak for her. I also use “principles before personalities” a lot, and sadly the personalities spewing pregnant shaming are my friends. The principle behind the phrase I object to is shame, which has no place being directed at anyone.

  3. i was pregnant this last time i got sober i got pregnant probably within my first few weeks of getting sober . i rember my councilor telling me because i went to meetings all the way till my little one was a couple months and life got in the way , how proud she was a kept going she said its important for you to go to show woman just because your pregnant doesnt mean you dont need help or want to be sober . i felt stares and heard whispers but i also had woman stop me and say you know i didnt do it i wasnt sober when i got pregnant i drank my whole pregnancy , with this sad look in there eyes. we are all woman some of us mothers some of us not but we still need that extra push so what if gettign pregnant was just that big enough push to make someone want to clean up its no different then a court ordering you to aa . anyhow i love that you posted this .

    • Exactly Ginny! I want everyone to feel safe & protected in recovery, no matter what! I have & will rock my belly & never accept shame

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