Mother Theresa and a Smoking Pregnant Woman


I’m now going to successfully not learn from my mistakes a write a post based on something an aquiantance wrote on Facebook. Although I am going to learn and not make it tooooo obvious. The post went pretty much like this:



Just seen a pregnant woman smoking. Tsk Tsk

Statements like this make me think of Mother Theresa. No not because she loved a fag or because she said anything, as far as I’m aware, about pregnant women smoking and certainly not because I agree with everything she said and did. But I do strongly agree with one quote that she is credited with having made;

If you judge people you have no time to love them

Because that’s pretty much the thing that I have going through my head at all times, especially when I see something I find confronting, concerning or that makes me cringe. Although I do reserve the right to ignore the saying when I’ve had the opportunity to either get to know the person in question and decide whether they’re worth loving or in relation to public persons and their public opinions and public actions. Eg: I’ll judge the hell out of Alan Jones for being an all round, unashamed arse, based on the fact that he does his arsey behaviour publicly and repeatedly.

Anyway, onto the judgement of the pregnant woman with the fag. Why, might you ask am I so pissed off about this woman being judged that I’m writing a post about it? Well, there’s many and complex reasons why, some associated with the way that women’s bodies become even more “not their own” when they’re pregnant and how damn fucked that is, some associated with the way Facebook is constantly used for bigoted persons to make their petty little bigoted ideas known but mostly because Mother Theresa was right about not having time to love people if we’re too busy judging them and I have this whole messed up theory that if only we could love strangers a bit more, the world would be a hell of a better place. If everyone had a first impression of love for every new person they saw, instead of constant judgement and fear and resentment we could avoid so much pain and bullshit. When I hear or read statements of judgement like the one above the first thing that goes through my mind is why? Why was the woman smoking? And so I start making up scenarios in my head about why she might have been standing on the street smoking, with her heavily pregnangy belly sticking out conspicuously at that moment in time. Generally these scenarios get more and more far fetched the further into the exercise I get.

Scenario 1: The woman’s mother has just passed away, she’s managed to stop smoking for her entire pregnancy but this moment of grief just needs some tobbacco related relief and she’s just having that one.

Scenario 2: Before she got pregnant she smoked crack and this is the only way she can prevent herself from returning to the more harmful drug habit.

Scenario 3: She just found out her baby has three heads and having a fag is really not going to make anything much worse and after all, in a case like this even I might be driven to a smoke (having never smoked a single cigarette in my life).

Scenario 4: She’s pregnant because she was raped by her uncle who then performed a female genital mutilation on her and she knows her only hope for a safe birth is if her baby is super tiny so she’s hoping by smoking the baby will be smaller when it’s born.

You can see where I’m going with this yeh?! Of course, the only scenario that I haven’t included is the one where she just likes to smoke and would prefer to risk damage to her foetus that give up her very gratifying habit and the question still remains whether she deserves a “tsk tsk” for that fact. In the end, health is important, the health of infants and foetuses is important, but whose job is it to inforce this importance and at what point do we recognise individual autonomy first and making judgemental comments on social media about people we don’t know second?

When I called my aquaintance on her judgement on Facebook she told me that the woman was stupid and careless so I’ll end this post with the same thing. What is more stupid and careless?

Prefering judgement and hatred over love and empathy or the fact that a pregnant woman in the world had a fag yesterday…?

This entry was posted in Original comment/article by MsElouise. Bookmark the permalink.

About MsElouise

MsElouise is a community programs worker and feminist from Melbourne Australia. She likes to travel, write, rant and make people feel uncomfortable about their assumptions. She hopes to one day be remembered for changing the world just a little bit. Right now she does this by proving that teenage girls are a higher order of beings.

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