Pregnancy: A Temporary Handicap

Katie Young
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Wednesday - October 08, 2008

Some people compare pregnancy to being temporarily handicapped, which I have to say, in some ways, is true.

I’d like to think that I can do all the same things I’m used to doing, but the truth is that I walk slower, can’t bend over as easily and I get tired and out of breath quickly. I also find it very uncomfortable and exhausting to do things like vacuum the house or wash the dirty dishes in the sink. No joke.

I think sometimes my husband might think I’m milking this pregnancy thing for all it’s worth, not realizing how frustrating it can be to not be able to do all the things you’re used to doing.

Other pregnant women have encouraged me to relax and let someone else take care of me. “Let your husband do all the housework,” they’ve said. “Let him do all the cleaning. You’re growing a whole new life inside of you. That’s a lot of work!”

“That’s true!” I thought to myself. “I am growing a whole person inside of me, so why not be pampered?”

So I started letting my husband do more around the house without feeling guilty about it. I also started letting friends and other family members do things too, like fix me a plate at a potluck or help me carry things to my car. This special treatment, my friends with children warned, would quickly disappear once the baby arrives so I should take advantage of it while it’s being offered.

Of course, some people don’t believe pregnant women should get any sort of special treatment. I am constantly made aware of this while shopping at the grocery store where, on a busy day, people run into me with their carts, sigh loudly if I move too slowly or get annoyed if one of my items fails to make it all the way onto the conveyer belt. I’ve even had people cut in front of me in line for the public bathroom, which, if you know anything about a pregnant woman’s bladder, you’d realize is a big no-no.

So do you think pregnant women should receive special treatment? In some Mainland cities (though I haven’t seen them in Hawaii), special parking spots close to the entrance of stores have been established to help pregnant women avoid the long walk through the parking lot. These “stork” parking spaces are a life-saver for new and expectant moms but are an annoyance for motorists who don’t believe in the special treatment.

I certainly don’t condone taking regular handicap spaces away from other individuals who might really need it, but there is something to be said for giving pregnant women the option of a shorter walk from the parking lot to the store, especially on days when it’s scorching hot or pouring rain.

Now, some pregnant ladies might opt for a regular space anyway, wanting the extra exercise. But I can’t tell you how exhausted I can get parking far away from the grocery store entrance, walking in the hot sun, pushing a cart down the aisles, waddling back to my car and then loading heavy items into it. Some days, even if I might need something from the market or drugstore, I just can’t face a crowded parking lot.

The reality is that being pregnant (especially later in pregnancy) can create physical challenges for some women.

Being pregnant might not qualify me as “disabled,” but on a day when I’m tired and wish I could head home for a nap, an extra close parking stall or a helping hand would be a welcome convenience.

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