I'm Committed To My Boycott of The NFL, Even If You Think It's Stupid

It's fall, which is my favorite time of year. The days start to get a little shorter, the air is a bit crisper, and the kids are back in school. It's also time for my favorite sport - football. But this year, I'll be watching only college football, cause I just can't bring myself to watch any NFL games this season.

Before I explain exactly why I'm not watching the NFL, let me give you some context. I grew up in a football house - everything revolved around football season. My dad went to college thanks to a football scholarship, where he was a running back. As a kid, I always remember seeing football on in the house. In good years, my parents would bless us with trips to the Silverdome to see the Detroit Lions play. My dad started also started a Pop Warner football club, and both of my brothers were on his team. One of my brothers followed in our dad's footsteps and also played college football as well. 

I was a Detroit Lions football fan before I fully knew all the rules of the game. I remember vividly watching football with my dad during the Barry Sanders years, and how excited my dad was to see him in action. I wasn't really a college football fan, but I loved watching Lions games with my family. When I became an adult, that love of the team carried with me, and I spent many a Sunday at the sports bar, or at home, watching my beloved team. Even when I moved and couldn't get games locally, I'd use various avenues to at least see the highlights of my team, if I wasn't at a sports bar downing wings and beer.  But I wasn't just a Lions fan - I was a football fan. I'd gladly spend my Thursday night, Sundays, and Monday nights watching football, regardless of who was playing. There was a short list of teams I wasn't interested in watching, but for the most part, I'd watch an NFL game over anything else on TV.

I'm not a casual fan, by any stretch. And that's one reason why I felt a personal responsiblity to take a stand this season, and not watch any NFL games. Over the past few years there's been a lot of things within the NFL I've disagreed with, including:

·       The countless incidents of domestic violence committed by players;

·       NFL teams paying their cheerleading squads less than minimum wage (and essentially pimping them out);

·       The lack of opportunities for Black head coaches despite the Rooney Rule; 

·       The arbitrary way that the NFL levies punishments against players; 

·       How the NFL uses NCAA football as a de facto development league (yes I'm one of those people who believes that college athletes should be paid); 

·       The health risks heaped on players, both from CTE but also the amount of pain meds heaped on players.

But Colin Kaepernick not being signed by any team in 2017 is what has pushed me over the edge. Yes, I"m boycotting because of Kaep, but honestly, it was simply the last straw that broke the camel's back. I've found the NFL problematic for years, but I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. I've now reached the point where I find nothing redeeming about watching the NFL. 

I've seen a lot of comments about people boycotting the NFL this season that boil down to, "this is stupid, unless you're a Nielsen home it won't matter anyway". True, I'm not in a Nielsen home, but I also know that my dollars aren't enough to bring down a billion-dollar industry. That's not my intent in the least. 

I'm the type that votes with my wallet. I don't give my support - financial, time, etc - to institutions I don't believe in. That's why I haven't sent foot in or bought from a Walmart in about fifteen years. I've even stopped shopping a brand I love (Modcloth) because it was purchased by Walmart. Now, me not shopping Walmart has zero effect on their bottom line, but it does have an effect on my conscience and wallet. I could give ~$5000 a year to Walmart, a business with numerous problematic business practices, or I could give that money to brands who practices and ideals align more closely with my own. I'm taking the same approach with the NFL, and I've resolved to not spend money at the sports bar, or buy tickets or merchandise, or add NFL Redzone to my streaming package. These are all things I've done in years past, but I can't bring myself to continue to support the NFL with my money or my time. 

You may think I'm stupid, or misguided, or that I'll cave in by Week 4. I might be all of those things, but I'm also principled. Until the NFL makes a significant change, I simply can't support their activities. So this fall, I'll be spending my time doing other things, like knitting and writing. I expect I'll be a lot more productive this fall, and that's a great thing. 

I'm Ready To Start Freelancing, But I'm Afraid To Pitch!

I feel like I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again: I fell into writing by accident. This blogging this started on a lark, as a way to vent about the stress of my PhD program. I didn't expect to do it long-term, and I didn't expect anyone to read it. But people did read it, and they kept encouraging me to write. And then I fell into my internship with A Practical Wedding. Over the course of my year-long internship, I learned so much about writing for the web, and got plenty of practice writing different types of pieces - essay, sponsored, roundup, etc. When I started my internship, my goal was to develop my writing skills so that I could start pitching as a freelancer. I know I gained the skills, but I didn't gain the confidence! I feel so intimidated by freelancers who have training (like degrees in English) and have published pieces for respected outlets. Beyond my APW community, I don't have connections to editors. All I've got is a list of outlets that I'd love to pitch to and publish in, and a growing list of piece ideas that I'm a bit nervous about.

I think I'm suffering from imposter syndrome. I'm worried that my attempts to pitch will be seen as amateurish. I'm worried that my ideas will be rejected. My fear of rejection is paralyzing me. I haven't even pitched anything to APW, and I have a blanket invitation! My brain is struggling a bit - I don't wanna blame it on the baby...but it's the baby. Maybe when I go back to work, my brain power will come back too? But beyond that, I'm trying to work on getting past my fear and just jumping into freelancing. I know that "no" is the worst thing that can happen, and yet I'm still nervous and afraid to truly put myself out there.

Any tips on how to get over my fear and just do it?


Maternity Leave Is Giving Me The Time To Watch All These Shows Yall Been Talking About For Years

During my pregnancy, I really looked forward to my maternity leave. I was pretty much over work by the end of my pregnancy - waddling into the office, running to the bathroom every five minutes, and I found it hard to focus. I was ready to stay home and snuggle with my baby girl, which I've done since she was born.

I planned to breastfeed, and I knew going into it that I'd spend a lot of time feeding the baby...but I had no idea just how much time I'd spend in front of the TV! Especially in the early days, with Phi cluster feeding, it seems like I stayed glued to the TV while she nursed for hours. Initially I was watching my go-to faves, like Grey's Anatomy and Archer but that got old fast. One night around 2AM, I decided to start exploring the offerings on Kodi (app on the Fire TV stick) and I realized that instead of watching old stuff I've seen before, I could watch new stuff! Thanks to Kodi, Prime TV and Netflix, I have access to all these shows that I never watched when they were on-air.

And that's how I ended up going down the rabbit hole with several TV shows. First one I started was Nip/Tuck and I was hooked instantly! From the first episode, I knew this crazy show was right up my alley. It's so over the top and crazy, just what I need when I'm in my nursing chair with the baby. I'm about halfway through the series and I really don't want it to end. BTW, I'm watching using the Phoenix add-on in Kodi, as the show isn't available on Netflix.

Via Netflix, I started watching Damages, the Glenn Close show about a law firm, and that one got me quick too. I love a show with a strong female lead and a mystery, and it doesn't disappoint on either front. Unlike Nip/Tuck, I have to pay attention while this one is on, so no middle of the night watching for me.

This weekend we also randomly started watching The Good Wife. I'd seen my folks on social media rave about the show for years but I never got around to watching. I love the format and some of the characters, though it moves slightly slow. It's hard to watch a 24-episode season when I'm used to watching cable shows which typically have much shorter seasons.

Since I have this free time on my hands, what older shows should I watch? I've seen Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men. I have Breaking Bad on my list, and I have zero desire to watch The Walking Dead. I was thinking of maybe watching The Sopranos since I didn't watch it while it was on. Anything else?

It's Time To Go To Work On This Healthy Lifestyle

Body issues and struggles with my weight are not new to me. I've written throughout the years about my desires to lose weight, wear a smaller size, and feel better about my body. I've had successes through Weight Watchers and the Primal lifestyle, but each time I've fallen off the proverbial wagon and ended up heavier than before.

The time when most women gain lots of weight - pregnancy - is the time that I gained very little. I gained only 25 lbs during my pregnancy, and lost it all within four weeks of giving birth. Since then I've been back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 245 lbs, and holding steady. I share that number as because I want to be as transparent as possible about the journey I plan to undertake. See, even though I've lost my pregnancy weight, my body has changed in ways that I don't like. And even though the scale shows the same number, to me, I appear bigger than I did before. Things have shifted, skin has stretched, and I'm left with an image that I don't like at all. So I have no choice but to fix it through changing my diet and getting back into exercise.

It's my hope that sharing this publicly will help me stay accountable to my goals, instead of slacking off.

Here's my plan:

  • Use the Primal Lifestyle as the foundation for my lifestyle change. I'm shooting for 100% adherence which means I'll end up somewhere around 80%, which is where I was before. Basically this means removing processed foods from my diet, focusing on proteins and healthy fats in my diet, moving more (walking,yoga, etc), and trying to get a decent amount of sleep (may be hard with the baby).
  • Utilizing the gym in my building as well as getting back to yoga classes.
  • Not using "cravings" as an excuse to eat unhealthy things that will derail my efforts.

By far, my biggest challenge is going to be the moving more portion of this plan. I've never been much into working out, but I know I need to do it. It's also going to be hard for me to leave the baby, but I know I need to get more used it. Eating habits have always been easier for me, but it will be challenging with a new baby. Regardless, I'm committed to making changes and becoming more healthy not only for myself, but also for my little one.

I'll report back soon on how it's going!


A Good Reason For A Blogging Break

The last time I blogged, I was heading to Italy with LM for our first anniversary trip. We spent 10 glorious days traveling through Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. I drank a lot of prosecco, ate my weight in gelato, saw some of the most amazing sights ever, and enjoyed every moment with my favorite guy, celebrating that we'd made it to one year in our marriage. I came home with every intention to share all the details and photos from my trip. I even started writing - I have the draft posts to prove it. But I never finished them, cause I got distracted by more pressing concerns. We'd been back from our trip for a week, when I had a sudden urge for pickles, and we just happened to have a jar in the fridge. Before I knew it, I'd eaten half the jar. LM came home, looked in the fridge, and said "damn, who ate all the pickles???" When I sheepishly confessed it was me, he immediately said "oh you're pregnant, go take a test".

Before he said it, I'd already been thinking it. I was late and secretly hoping I was, but I also didn't want to face the disappoint that I wasn't pregnant. I told myself that I was just late because we'd been traveling, even though I'd never experienced that in my life. I suppose that part of me needed someone else to believe I was pregnant, before I would I would allow myself to. The test confirmed what we both already knew - I was pregnant!

#BabyPi is happening and we're over the moon.

I spent all summer growing a little human, learning everything I could, and trying to survive all the pregnancy symptoms I was experiencing. I spent most of my first trimester not doing much beyond going to work, falling asleep at 7pm, and trying to control my nausea. I wasn't even writing for APW, as I had zero energy or ideas, and thankfully the team was very understanding. Once I hit my second trimester, I got my energy back as well as my mojo. I've done some great posts on APW, but I didn't have a strong desire to write in my own space. Why? I have no idea.

So here we are, now 24 weeks into growing this little human. We found out #BabyPi is a girl, and I'm so excited to have a daughter. I really wanted my firstborn to be a girl, as I am my mother's firstborn and I want to replicate that relationship as much as I can. I've also found that this pregnancy has brought my mom and I even closer, as I try to learn as much as I can. My mom is amazing, like best mother ever, and I really hope that I can live up to her example, and parent my daughter just as well. Already #BabyPi is showing that she's going to be a daddy's girl - she responds to LM's requests to kick or stop kicking, and it's hilarious.

Beyond the excitement of pregnancy, my life has been pretty quiet and chill. Work has been going well, with just enough to keep me occupied but not enough to stress me out. I'm back to knitting, and finally going to start the Etsy shop that I've been talking about for months. And it's football season - my favorite time of year and best excuse to sit on the couch and knit. My goal is also to write here more, here's hoping I can make that happen.

So...what yall been up to while I was gone?

We're Headed To Italy!

OMG I'm so ready to get to Italy! Six months ago, LM and I went on an amazing trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and as soon as we got back, we were itching to book our next trip. There were a ton of deals, and we booked a deal to Lima...but we wound up canceling when we realized how expensive it would be to do Machu Piccu. A few weeks later, we found an Emirates deal to Italy and we decided to book it!

Over the past few months we've planned an awesome trip for 10 days in four Italian cities. We start and end in Milan, and we'll also visit Rome, Florence and Venice. Lots of people have given us tips on things to do and things to see, but I'm most excited to drink wine, eat Italian food and stuff my face with gelato. Ok, I might be excited about the art and architecture too. And I'm really excited about the Da Vinci and Galileo museums in Florence - I get to nerd out on vacation.

I'll be sharing photos of the trip on Instagram and my observations on Twitter. Follow me on both to catch all the fun! I'm @Jubilance1922 on both Twitter and Instagram!

After We Cut The Cord And Dropped Cable, I Only Have One Regret

Cut the Cord, Cable TV Ever had a bill that you hate paying, but you feel like you have no other choice other than to pay it? That's been my relationship with Comcast, specifically over our cable TV bill. Over the years I've seen our bill creep up, until a few months ago when I was shocked to open our bill and find $250+ on the "amount due" section. With that price, you'd think we had every channel you could have, but we didn't. And even worse, there were so many times when we'd just turn off the tv because there was nothing worth watching on TV.

That $250 cable TV bill was a wakeup call for LM and I. We were fed up! So I suggested that we cut the cord. LM said "can we do that? How would it work?"

Challenge accepted. Let's figure out how to drop cable.

Research is key

I started by Googling "how to cut the cord" and reading different blog posts. Each resource I found laid out the same general strategy for obtaining content without cable:

  • Get an antenna for local over-the-air (OTA) channels like CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW and PBS.
  • Get some streaming hardware - Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.
  • Sign up for streaming services - Netflix, Hulu, Sling, etc.

We live in a major city so I wasn't too worried that we wouldn't be able to pick up OTA channels, but I did visit the FCC digital transition website to verify which stations we could pick up with an antenna.

Make a game plan and buy what you need

Based on what I'd read, I realized that we needed to buy some things before we'd be ready to cancel our cable TV. LM already had an XBox One in the living room, and we figured out how to download apps like Netflix onto it. For our bedroom, we'd need another device, so I researched both the Roku 3 player and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. After reading reviews, looking at specifications and comparing price, we decided to buy the Amazon Fire TV stick. We also ordered two antennas via Amazon - we chose 2 different brands so that we could compare the picture quality and return whatever one didn't work for us. Thanks to our Prime membership, we received all our items in two days.

We also needed to look at content providers. We already had a Netflix subscription, which is great for movies and catching up on shows we didn't watch when they originally aired. We also have access to Amazon Prime movies & TV shows thanks to our Prime membership. We also decided to try Sling TV, which is a streaming service that provides 30+ channels, all for $20 per month. With a Sling subscription, we have access to channels like ESPN, HGTV, Food Network, CNN and Lifetime, and we have the ability to add a HBO subscription for $15 per month.

Set it all up and test it out

Once we received our Amazon order, we had the fun task of unplugging all the cable equipment and connecting the antennas. The Amazon Fire TV Stick physical setup was very easy and the device has an easy walk-thru that made setup really quick. Once the device was working, I was able to install apps like Netflix, Sling and NBC Sports to the device, using the included remote.

LM had the fun task of hooking up the antennas and getting them mounted to the wall. Once we connected the antennas, we did the autofind option on the TVs to find all the OTA channels. The last step was using the enclosed adhesive to stick the antennas to the wall. We decided to place both of them up closer to the ceiling, and near windows to maximize reception.

We spent that night watching OTA tv and testing the Sling. One tip - Sling only works one device at a time. We discovered this when I accidentally kicked him out of Sling when I turned it on in the bedroom. Other than that, we had zero issues with the new equipment.

The very next afternoon, I took the cable TV equipment back to our provider, and cancelled our cable TV. I did upgrade our Internet speed, but even with that change, we're saving $150+ on our monthly bill.

So is it worth it?

It's been over a month since we dropped cable TV and we both love it. I've discovered that there are a lot of shows I just don't miss watching. I still have access to programming I like to watch and live sports, thanks to the Sling subscription. I've discovered new shows thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, and we can watch as many episodes as we want in one sitting. I've also found myself doing other things that I used to claim I had no time for - writing, reading, knitting, etc. I'm kind of amazed and embarrassed at how much time I wasted watching reruns of shows I'd already seen a million times.

My only regret is that we didn't do it sooner. We spent months paying for cable TV, and only watched a few channels. We spent a lot of time watching Netflix or DVDs, because there was nothing on cable that we wanted to watch. I'm imagining all the money we could have put into our savings account! But at least we figured it out, and took the plunge. There are a few shows I miss, and we'll probably get a Hulu subscription to fill that void. But even with monthly subscriptions, we're saving a good amount of money every month, that can go into our savings account. And who doesn't like saving money? So far, it's been totally worth it.

Have you cut the cord? What are your tips for getting content without cable?

Planning To Have A Baby Is Easy, The Rest Is Hard

Trying-to-Conceive-2-202x300 Before I start, you should know what type of person I am. When it comes to decisions, I follow a 3-step approach:

  1. Research whatever thing I want to do
  2. Create a plan on how to achieve whatever thing I want to do, plus a couple of backup plans
  3. Go do whatever thing I want to do, using plan(s) created in step 2

I've pretty much run my entire life following this 3-step system. I used it when applying to colleges, picking a major, applying to grad school, finding jobs, finding places to live, etc. This system was in constant rotation when I was wedding planning, because there are so many things to do and so many plans to make. This system isn't just big life decisions - I've used it for small things too. But my point is that I tend to be the type of person who decisions to do something, and then I go do it, after doing my due diligence. Normally I'm fully in control of the things I want to do, and my only obstacle to success is myself.

Aight, now that yall know that about me, I can get to the point of this post, which is this: trying to have a baby is hard. Much harder than I thought it would be.

Wanting to have a baby is new for me. I spent years declaring that I would remain childfree. All that went out the window when I met LM. I fell in love and my ovaries started going crazy. I've spent most of the first year of our marriage asking him for a baby. After a lot of looking at each and asking the other "are you sure you're ready?", we decided we were ready to start trying to make a baby person.

Remember how I'm a researcher and a planner? I took that same attitude into making a baby. I am nothing if not consistent. I started my research with Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I loved this book and I learned so much. Dr. Oster is an economist, and after her own pregnancy, she wrote a book which dives into the science behind all those pregnancy rules, like don't drink coffee. I'm all about data, being a scientist at heart, and I love reading journal articles (I know, I'm weird). Expecting Better strikes the right balance of scientific information, and straight-forward explanation, which makes it accessible for everyone. And it covers every aspect of pregnancy, from conception to birth. After reading the book, I also took a look at some of the studies cited in the book...mostly cause I love journal articles but I also like to read the data for myself and come to my own conclusions.

After reading the book, I went to the Internet for more info. I found a couple of FB groups for plus size women who were pregnant or trying to conceive. I read reviews of fertility apps, and I decided to start using Glow. BTW, there are a TON of apps out there for fertility tracking. They are work the same general way - each day you log your basal body temperature, weight, cervical mucus/cervix position, ovulation prediction kit results, symptoms, etc. The apps then use this info to help you figure out when you'll ovulate, and thus your fertile period, aka the best time to have lots of baby-making sex. I dived into tracking my info on Glow, and reading the forums to pick up tips.

Alright, I did the research, and I was armed with way more information than one person needs. From all that research, I came up with what I thought was a solid plan: use Glow to track my info; use an ovulation prediction kit to figure out the best time to make a baby; make said baby with LM; get pregnant and have a cute baby bump and really cute pregnancy photos. Easy, right?

Yeah....no. It has not been easy. At all. My first clue was with the ovulation kit I got. My first month, I used the little strips, and I was unprepared for how hard it is to read those damn things! Those were a total bust. It's also not fun to wake up in the morning and try to move as little as possible, so that you can take your basal body temperature before you get out of bed. I refused to check my cervical mucus - there are some things that I don't want to know about myself. I was pretty good about tracking, and I liked seeing my fertile window and the likelihood of pregnancy by date. But all that information brought with it a feeling of pressure that we were unprepared for. It felt like "today is THE DAY to get pregnant, so if you don't have great sex tonight, you won't have a baby!" That does not get you or your husband in the mood, trust me.  The baby-making was feeling a bit like a chore, instead of fun and loving. But we powered through (heh) and I spent the days after ovulation hoping that we'd made a baby.

The first couple of months where I wasn't pregnant, it was a bit disappointing, but we fell back on excuses for why it didn't work - we really didn't try or we didn't know for sure when I ovulated. It got harder when I tracked, and used the digital ovulation kit, and we still weren't pregnant. Remember my plan? This wasn't part of the plan! I was supposed to use all the tools and then get pregnant, right?

For the first time in my life, my research and planning has not gotten me the result I desired. Granted, it hasn't been very long, but this is the first thing that I've ever wanted, that I really have no control over. It's an uncomfortable spot for me to be in. I've always just made up my mind to do something, and then just went out and done it. As my mother says, I have no patience, but I'm seeing that making a baby requires a lot of patience. You go through all the work, and you try to make a baby with your husband, and then you wait a few weeks to see if it actually worked. If it doesn't, you try it all over again. Rinse and repeat.

I'm not used to this. I'm used to going out and getting what I want and making it happen. I'm a go-getter! I make things happen! Except this. As much as I would love to control it, I can't. So I have to be content with doing as much as I can do and having faith that the Universe will bring us what we desire, a baby. Instead of focusing so much on all the tracking and whatnot, I'm going to take my mother's advice and try to relax and enjoy it all. I'm also working on the one thing I can control - my health. This is a perfect opportunity to work on my eating habits, be more active, and bring my weight down.

And of course, we'll keep having fun trying...wish us luck!

Friday Faves and Some Career News

Happy Friday! It feels like this week has gone by really fast, but I'm happy about that! My fave looks of the week: I had 2 great items from Gwynnie Bee this week. I really loved the sweater dress, it was so cozy and warm! I was very surprised at how much I liked the black & white cardigan. Normally I don't do oversized items (it's a plus size no-no) but I found it to be very flattering on me. I kinda want to keep the cardigan. I also debuted a new sweater from Ann Taylor - they always have the greatest classic pieces. I ended the week with my #BlackGirlsAreMagic tee, which always makes me happy.

Also can we talk about my posing this week? I'm finding my sweet spot in terms of poses.

Gwynnie Bee Striped Sweater Dress Gwynnie Bee Oversized Cardigan Ann Taylor Pink Sweater Black Girls Are Magic Tee

Career News! I've talked multiple times about my up and down relationship with my current employer. I took a new internal job in October 2014, and since then I've had 4 different managers, been through 3 rounds of layoffs, and had my chain of command (VPs & higher) change 4+ times as well. Well now I'm up to manager #5 because my last manager left the company last week. This week my team learned that we're changing our chain of command once again, so we have a new VP and our other senior leaders are new in role as well. At least this time my actual job isn't changing - that happened last summer *sigh*.

As I deal with the day job craziness, I'm trying to spread my wings and push myself in different areas. One of those areas is writing - I've written here for years but I've never thought of myself as a writer. One of my favorite websites A Practical Wedding announced their 2016 writing internship last November, and I decided to throw my hat in the ring. Well, I'm happy to announce that I was selected as the 2016 writing fellow for APW! I am super excited to join their team - the site is one of my faves and I visit each day. This internship will give me the practice writing that I need, as well as experience writing different types of pieces for the web.

How was your week? Any plans for Valentine's Day? Hit the comments!

So The CDC Tells Women To Never Drink Again...Wait, What?

Last week, the CDC issued a report on alcohol and pregnancy. In the report, they recommended that women of childbearing age, who are not using birth control, should refrain from ever drinking alcohol. Why? Because they may become pregnant, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. I read this, and my head about explode. You want me to do what? Give up any and all alcohol...on the off-chance that I may become pregnant? Come again?

I learned of this recommendation through a piece on The Atlantic's website. Sadly, their comment section is gone for most pieces (too many trolls), so they encourage readers to send their thoughts via email. I couldn't wait to race home and bang out a sternly worded response the CDC recommendation, and synthesize my rage into something worthy of reading.

Here's what I came up with:

Hi, just saw your post on the CDC's new guidelines for women regarding drinking and I felt compelled to throw my 2 cents in the ring.

I am one of the women who is offended by the CDC's guidance. Why? For a variety of factors. For one, the CDC guideline reads as a Chicken Little "the sky is falling!" warning, when the limited studies that are available show that light drinking, even during the first trimester, is fine. Many many women don't even learn that they are pregnant until end of the first trimester, or afterward, and go on to have healthy, happy babies. Not to mention the millions of babies born in the years when drinking and smoking during your entire pregnancy was considered normal, or the millions of children born in European countries where mothers drink wine throughout their pregnancies. Emily Oster, the author of Expecting Better, dives into many of these studies in her book.
Second, the CDC guidelines implies that women are here to be human incubators, and they should put their entire lives on hold in order to have children, even children that are unplanned (and in many cases, unwanted). What's next - is the CDC going to decree that women of childbearing age stop being served sushi or deli meat? Must we give up all prescription drugs other than Tylenol, on the off-chance that we may become pregnant? Women must spend decades of their lives held hostage by the simple threat of pregnancy, and that potential baby holds more clout and weight in her life than her own desires? A fetus has more clout than a living breathing human? According to the CDC, it does.
Finally, the CDC guideline feels extremely heavy-handed, and based on risk to doctors, not mothers and children. Yes, fetal alcohol syndrome is traumatic and devastating, and the CDC ruling feels like it was created to give cover to OBs, so that they can defend against malpractice lawsuits. The majority of mothers, or women trying to become mothers, are rational women who recognize that binge drinking is inappropriate during pregnancy. But there will always be those who make the wrong choices, and choose to go on a bender, or take illegal drugs during their pregnancies, and their children are harmed. Should we treat all women as if they are irrational and unable to make wise choices? Of course not, but that's what the CDC ruling implies. It says to me that I'm incapable of limiting my drinking to 1-2 drinks per week during the first trimester, and up to 1 drink per day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and thus I NEED the CDC to tell me to do the right thing or else my poor baby will be harmed forever.
I'm not a child. I'm a woman in my 30's, with a bachelors and masters degree in the sciences, with a successful career and a loving husband. A husband, btw, who supports me having a reasonable amount of red wine during my pregnancy, should I become pregnant. I don't need the CDC to tell me what to do, or that I must acquiesce my desires because I might become pregnant. If the CDC really wanted to address fetal alcohol syndrome, they should support more birth control options, birth control that is widely available and over the counter. That would do more to prevent more children born with fetal alcohol syndrome than this misguided decree that women stop drinking.
I'm still livid a week later, btw. The CDC would NEVER make this kind of recommendation to men.