A real mother of an invention 


This is one of those moments where, if I could pace up and down in front of you wearing a white suit, intoning, resonating and gesturing like Atticus Finch, I would. Since I can't, just regard that as stage direction while I say this:

Discrimination, my friends, is an ugly thing. Like those window decals of Calvin whizzing, it is all around us. But while many of us perceive that some group, be it the white male establishment or them uppity queers, are taking over, there is one bunch to whom every one of us has, in silent sycophancy, handed over the car keys and gladly taken a back seat. This shifty sisterhood that enjoys undue exaltation comprises the vessels of future life, the fruitfully multiple, the two-for-ones, the knocked-up.

Before they got their amniotic tentacles into everything, pregnant women were quite interesting. It was fun to stare at them. If they talked about their condition, it was to say that the little snoochie was kicking. To those of us who enjoy kicking people from the outside, kicking them from the inside inspires hushed reverence. And the thought that something alive was going to burst out of them at any second, like in "Aliens," well, as far as attention-getting, it beats a nose ring.

Space saver

But just having this special status is not enough for these women anymore. Either they got greedy or we've thrust greatness upon them, which seems more likely to be the case.

What caused my water to break over all this was sighting a "mother-to-be" parking space. Several stores and malls now have special parking spots, right next to the handicapped spaces, for women who are pregnant. This really is no more than a nice gesture, and I guess we're all supposed to think it's just precious that New Mommies only have to take a few steps to buy their Preparation H. But personally I think it's (Atticus bangs his fist on table here) downright discriminatory that, just because you were willing to pay a little extra for the good condoms, you are forced to park as far away as Miami.

According to my editor, a spokeswoman for the new Oviedo Marketplace mall stated on Fox News that being pregnant is "kind of like being handicapped." But no one sits around wondering if their prosthesis is going to be a boy or a girl. Pregnancy is nothing at all like a handicap, except that it becomes a bit harder to get around. So? Where's my space that says "CRAMPS" in big, hairy, wet, angry, reddish- black letters? Where's the "Old Bag with bones like a box of chalk" space? Where's the "wearing heels for eight hours in the office like an idiot" space? Where's the "war wound" space, the "hangover" space, the "big ass -- it's genetic" space?

Ladies, go ahead, park in the knocked-up area. I did. I was briefly worried when I saw the police, thinking they just might have anticipated such abuse of the stork space privilege, but really, what are they going to do? Ask? Just because you're not showing doesn't mean you're not holding. Believe me, there's not a bag boy alive who gets paid enough to say, "Excuse me, ma'am, we'd like you to take this EPT test right here by the Cart Corral."

The next day I got a summons for jury duty, and there it was again: "Nah," was not on the list of optional excuses but "expectant mother" was. Why? How is it that sitting in a room for eight hours is something these überfrau's shouldn't suffer? You'd think they'd want to get off their feet for a full day. Besides, as potential mothers, they need all the practice they can get being judgmental.

Test case

Even the mere idea of pregnancy is given special treatment. Almost without exception, television ads for in-home tests depict women who are thrilled with positive results. In reality, women who are that desperate to find out whether they're pregnant are likely not women who want to stay that way.

And Depo-Provera, a new contraceptive, is introducing itself with ads that show a mother and an adorable infant, as if to say, "As long as you've already had one, it's OK to not want more." The culture is so p-whipped by motherhood, it can't even fathom that not breeding is a damn fine and admirable act.

Personally, I blame this embryonic addlement on the religious right, but then I blame the religious right for everything from hangnails to asteroids, and in the end it doesn't matter who started it. What matters is that pregnancy's spin doctors own up to the fact that while, yes, pregnancy is fascinating, it's also a routine biological event, and this discrimination must end. Or else give me my own space in the lot. After all, I may eat, sleep and work for one, but I often feel like I'm thinking for a team (or at least for everyone at happy hour).


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