The secret is out: Mothers-to-be are superwomen

Elise T. Chisolm

October 25, 1990|By Elise T. Chisolm

SOMETIMES I wonder whose side they are on. I'm referring to these male doctors who send their findings to the New England Journal of Medicine -- the bible of the medical profession and the publication that should be a no-no for gullible hypochondriacs like me.

Here's one of their latest headlining pronouncements after a study of more than 8,000 women: "Hard work not harmful while pregnant; Hard work and long hours do not by themselves hurt a woman's chance for a normal pregnancy and delivery, new research suggests."

Well shucks, how many times did I get out of fixing dinner, waxing the car, or washing dishes because of morning sickness when I was pregnant? Even hearing the garbage disposal was a yukky happening in my early pregnant days.

How many times did I get out of baking cookies for the PTA when my legs were hurting from standing too long in my kitchen making a tuna casserole for the family?

Ah, those were the days, when pregnant women were treated aif they were delicate.

This study, which focused on female medical residents working about 70 hours a week, casts doubts on previous studies suggesting long hours, night work and prolonged standing might lead to premature delivery and other problems.

Now doesn't the results of the survey sound like a conspiracy ba bunch of married male doctors whose pregnant wives have said: "Dear, you'll have to take over cooking dinner or get your own breakfast at the hospital because I've been hanging my head over the toilet bowl a lot recently"?

Oh, how many times during the end of my pregnancies did I say"Darling, I can't lift this watermelon, I feel like one, remember" or "I can't possibly lean over and unload the dishwasher tonight dear, I think this may be it"?

And now they're telling us that pregnant women can work a 70-hour week and do night work. Don't they know that mothers always do night work. When the baby cries in the night, it's the mother who breast feeds little junior. And it's the mother who listens to the 4-year-olds nightmare at 3 a.m.

The news bulletin goes on: Dr. Mark Klebanoff of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who headed the study cautions, "This should not be used as an excuse for pregnant women to work more than they think they should or any excuse for employers to ask women to work more." Here that you bosses who still ask women to get them coffee.

I just knew that the head of a study would be a man, but isn't it nice that he put in that disclaimer and mentioned that employers must not look on pregnancy as a terminal disease that prevents women from being promoted.

I bet the reason the 8,000 medical residents don't think their pregnancies interfere with their workload is that they smell big bucks, pleasure boats and summer homes down the road

Seriously folks back in the old days I would not have complained as much if I had known that eventually I'd be a radiologist with monthlong vacations, no unpaid bills, making about $1,000 a day and commuting to work in my Mercedes.

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