'It's a campaign of fear and consumption, keep everybody afraid and they'll consume' Brian Warner on 'The Media'
Last week, the BBC shared this news story about the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' warning that pregnant women 'may want to play it safe and avoid potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and household products. It is safe to say this has been met with harsh criticism, with critics labelling it 'unhelpful, unrealistic and alarmist'.
View the original article here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22754944
General feedback has suggested that pregnant and breastfeeding women were somewhat scapegoated as both vulnerable and mis-informed; members of society who are already so careful to follow suggested guidelines and avoid foods and substances that may potentially harm their unborn. This latest article, simply led me to question, when is it time to switch the laptop off, toss the newspaper in the recycling (the world is getting warmer, you know), remove yourself from online forums and ignore the press?
Scaremongering tactics, as we know them, have long been evident in our media and the invention of the Internet has only worsened the fleet of paranoid articles and posts that come flooding through our inboxes almost daily. Contoversialists and conspiracy theorists suggest media is a method of control, others talk about greed and financial gain (look at the unfounded MMR 'risks' that have recently come to light. Either way, it seems we are the victims of paranoia attacks and I never felt this more, than throughout my pregnancy.
Being prone to asking worrisome faces and questions I decided, from Day 1 of my pregnancy, that I would listen to the advice and judgment of those who were dealing with MY pregnancy (my Doctor, my Midwife, my parents and my partner). But, like most parents in need of momentary support at times, I would occasionally log on to a forum in an attempt to seek advice from people in the same boat. There, I was bombarded with 'he says, she says', do's and don'ts and tidbits of myths that led me to singularly question every stage of my pregnancy. One woman had placed a mildly concerned post on a forum about her baby's movements slowing down; four comments down it descended into chaos as one woman scolded her for not rushing to A+E amidst the fears of Strep B or broken placenta. Alarmist indeed.
We are both fortunate and unfortunate to be in possession of too much information these days; fortunate in that we can make informed choices to protect and nurture as best we can, unfortunate in the panic inducement and the misplaced guilt that articles such as yesterday's can cause. It comes as no surprise to me that in between dodging fish, unpasteurised cheeses, avoiding alcohol and not standing up for too long; that the powers that be have decided that we pregnant ladies simply do not have ENOUGH to worry about. If we listened to every warning put to us, we wouldn't open our front doors, for fear of an unnamed planet smashing into our back garden.
We can only do our best for our children, and I believe it is natural to worry about the effect this world has on our children, household cleaning appliances or not. Our common sense must always prevail, I conclude that we are right to be 'careful' throughout our pregnancies and beyond, but it is not right to pump unnecessary and unfounded fear into a society already full to the brim.
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