Why you shouldn’t judge a pregnant woman’s decisions.


In the past 24 hours, I’ve read two separate threads on Reddit where a waitress and barista have come under fire for how they served a pregnant woman.


In the ‘Am I the A**hole’ subreddit, users post asking for the opinion of other users whether they were the a**hole. In this case, the first user talked about how they overheard a customer talking with friends about being ’14 weeks’ along. The waitress then took it upon themselves to secretly change the woman’s cocktail order to being alcohol-free, on the assumption the woman was talking about herself.


In the second post, a barista explained that they secretly changed the espresso order of a woman who was ‘very clearly pregnant’ to an order with far less caffeine. This was done even though there was an explicit conversation between the pair about how the customer “needed her caffeine” and to “be sure (the barista) included the extra shots”. The barista’s rationale for changing the order was that it was ‘helping the child’.


While there were some users in support of the waitress and the barista, the vast majority called them out as being a**holes.


And the comments reflected sentiments around exactly what is wrong with our culture when dealing with a pregnant woman, or even someone who may appear pregnant.


In these situations, a complete stranger took it upon themselves to make a decision on behalf of a woman they presumed to be pregnant. They both did so because it was ‘better for the baby’.


There are so many things wrong here.


Firstly, they assumed the woman was pregnant. Perhaps the first woman was talking about a friend who was 14 weeks along. Perhaps she was talking about being 14 weeks along with different pregnancy. Maybe the second woman ‘looked pregnant’ but was really post-partum and was needing the caffeine to deal with her newborn. Or maybe that was where she carried her weight.


Secondly- Let’s assume for a second that the women in both situations were pregnant. Who knows what their situation was. Perhaps the first woman had just found out she had lost the baby and was out drinking with her friends with her for support. Or maybe she had decided she was going to have an abortion the next day, or maybe there was a whole lot going on in her personal life. Or maybe she was just having a drink with friends.


And maybe the second woman was getting that post-newborn coffee. Or she was taking the coffee to share with someone else. Or she simply wanted a coffee.


Thirdly, who the hell gets to decide what is best for baby except for the woman themselves? Most Mums-to-be aren’t out to intentionally harm their baby. Even if the waitress or barista didn’t agree with the woman’s choices, it wasn’t on them to make decisions on the woman’s behalf.


And yet it happens. All. The. Time.


A pregnant woman is not just an incubator


Why is it that, all too often, as soon as a woman becomes pregnant, all she becomes is an incubator. An incubator that isn’t capable of making her own decisions. An incubator that doesn’t have her baby’s best interests at heart. An incubator that becomes subject to the judgment and opinions of everyone who she crosses paths with.


And it happens constantly.

From the unwanted, uninvited belly rubs. To the comments on what a woman is eating, or not eating, or drinking. or not. Or the exercise she is doing, or not doing, Or the pregnancy and birth choices she is making.


Being pregnant does not make you public property. Nor does it render you incompetent. And yet this is so often how a pregnant woman is viewed.


The vast majority of women, as soon as they find out they are pregnant, will do their research. They will talk to their careproviders about what is safe during pregnancy. And they will make informed decisions – whether anyone else agrees with those decisions has nothing to do with it.


You only have to look at the United States at the moment to see this playing out on big scale. Laws like the ‘Fetal Heartbeat Law’, which aimed to prohibit abortion after about 6 weeks pregnancy, were brought forward. A woman being charged with manslaughter, after she was shot in the stomach – which ended her unborn baby’s life. Although these charges were ultimately dismissed, she still had to go through the whole ordeal of being arrested – right after being shot and losing her baby.


In Spain, a court ordered that a Mum be induced at 40 weeks after she declined the intervention.


Closer to home we have birth centres shutting down. Birth photographers being denied from photographing the actual birth. All of which are stripping choices from pregnant women, just like the two users on Reddit did.


It has to stop.


Just because a woman is pregnant, or you think she is, it does not give you the right to judge her. Or make decisions on her behalf. Nor does it give you the right to treat her like public property.


How about instead of judging each other we support each other  – regardless of our pregnancy status. Even if you don’t agree with someone else’s decisions – and you don’t have to agree – remember that it’s not your decision!


So don’t be the a**hole. Keep your opinions to yourself and your univited decision making to yourself.






Kate Vivian is a Mum of three and pregnancy and birth geek who helps Mums-to-be find their voice during their own pregnancy and birth.

After a less than fantastic birth of her first baby that ended in a caesarean section, she realised that having a positive birth was all about being empowered to make your own decisions. Kate went on to have two incredible, positive vaginal births after caesarean (VBAC) having found her own voice.

Regardless of the journey you walk during your pregnancy, Kate will be your biggest cheerleader. She will be the voice behind your voice as you walk your journey with confidence.

To find out more about Kate, check her out here.