18 June 2013

To judge or not to judge, the pregnant one who smokes.

When you see a pregnant woman smoking, what’s your first thought? Mine was, ‘nahhh, it can’t be.’ This was followed by opening and closing my eyes, in an effort to clear any obstructions. ‘Am I seeing this correctly?’ In essence, I did a double-take. I see this woman quite often, standing in front of my office building, chatting with her colleagues and smoking, and noticed her stomach was quite distended a few weeks ago, yet concluded that she had either gained some weight or had a beer belly. Yes, it was a beer belly, I rationalized. The thought of her being pregnant occurred to me, but the logic portion of my brain reasoned that there was simply no way. 

Today, as I approached the building in the morning, seeing her stomach fully distended, pregnancy-belly in full bloom, I continued walking but was struck by a certain sadness. I thought about the fact that the baby didn’t have a choice. Then I wondered, why? How could she do this? Should I approach her and scold her for doing such a thing to the detriment not only to herself but to her innocent, unborn child? I was faced with a moral quandary. Should I tell her off for harming the health of her baby? I understand it’s not my place, but the urge to do something about the situation surfaced anyway. The reality is, I yet again rationalized, it is not my place to tell another person how to conduct themselves, with or without child. It just saddens me, that’s all. To harm an innocent being, to harm oneself by smoking when pregnant, just makes no sense. Is this judgmental on my part? Maybe, yes. However, I can't help it. My question to other women out there I would then pose is, what is such a woman thinking? How can she? Why does she?

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