Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BufBloPoFo 09 DayTwelve

I recently came across a yellowed pamphlet that I couldn’t pass up. It’s called:

You and Your Baby:
A Guide for Prenatal Care, 1949

A booklet for expectant mothers
Published by
The research division of
St. Louis, Missouri

Oh you know I’m blogging this. I think my readers need to know what mothers of 1949 learned about motherhood. From, you know, pamphlets.

Now this thing rings in at 43 pages, and then another 7 pages of recipes (all of which, I’m just noticing, call for PET MILK – conspiracy!) so forgive me if I don’t give a review of the whole thing. I only have another 55 minutes to blog today, so here’re a few snippets that caught my eye as I flipped through.

Page 1, intro: "Maternal care has been defined as that attention which it is necessary to bestow upon a woman in order to assure the carrying out of the function of human reproduction in the most normal manner with as nearly perfect a result as possible so far as the parents (especially the mother), the offspring and the future human race are involved."

So in other words: “here are all the things you need to do to ensure you aren’t raising a commie.”

Page 10: "Ignore superstitions. Nothing you hear, see or think can mark or hurt your baby in any way."

What in God’s name were people gossiping about in 1949? “So I says to Millie, I says... ‘Sweetie, you’re in the family way so don’t listen to jazz or you’re baby will come out communist.”

Page 11, discussing embarrassment of a pelvic exam: "To help overcome this, consider that, even though the doctor is deeply concerned with your welfare, you are only one of many whom he has examined and that for him, this is the merest routine."

In other words, ladies of 1949, your vag is boring.

Page 13: "It is well worth remembering that it is the germ cell of the father that determines whether your baby is a boy or a girl."

So blame that jerkhole, just as soon as he gets home from his mistress’s. Also, I was going to make a very funny joke about how my sperm count automatically dropped when the Pet Milk Corp called it a “germ cell”, but then Lisa said that’s actually a common scientific term. Lisa’s a commie for ruining my joke.

Page 19: "During pregnancy you should not gain more than about 20 pounds. Your breasts will increase by at roughly 1.5 pounds."

a) I’m pretty sure THIS GUY gained 20 pounds of sympathy weight when lisa was preggers and b) by talking about breasts that are 1.5 pounds bigger than the status quo, I believe, by 1949 standards, this pamphlet has officially become porn.

Page 20: "Also, it is important that you obtain adequate vitamin D and take sufficient fluids."

Vitamin D?!? You mean like the vitamin D found in... PET MILK? THE CONSPIRACY THICKENS.

Page 22: "Coffee and tea are usually harmless drinks during pregnancy, provided they are not constipating."

Really, moms-to-be of 1949, over-caffeinating your unborn kiddo is fine, just so long as you’re able to poop okay.

Page 29, discussing employment: "If she is doing clerical work she can usually remain on the job up until her appearance later in pregnancy becomes a handicap."

First of all, when did we switch to the third person? Now that we’re talking about employment, did the pamphlet writers of 1949 just assume the man of the house would take over reading? Second, and slightly more interesting, THEY JUST CALLED PREGNANCY A HANDICAP.

Page 30: "Clothing – keep yourself looking nice."

Ah, we’re back to addressing the ladies of 1949 directly again. (Because, you know, those hussies probably just skipped right to this section. Snap!) I wanted to copy this entire section into my post, but this sums it up pretty well. The only way it could be more condescending is if it was followed up by “because your husband deserves it.”

Page 34: "Marital relations are strictly forbidden during the last six weeks of pregnancy. Also, there may be some complications in which case your doctor will advise against intercourse." when your husband doesn’t deserve it, apparently. (Also, six weeks?!?)

Page 34: "In the case of the woman who is accustomed to smoking and does not wish to give up the habit during her pregnancy, there is no reason to believe that a moderate number of cigarettes, say a dozen or less per day, will do her any harm."

Oh man, we finally got to the good page. That’s right ladies of 1949, try to cut back to a little more than HALF A PACK A DAY if you’re really one of those health conscious nutbags.

Page 34: "A cocktail or highball now and then certainly does no harm."

Because, really, what’s the use of smoking 12 cigarettes a day if you can’t get a good buzz on at the same time?

So there you have it, ladies of 1949, if you want to have a healthy, commie-hating baby, just make sure you keep yourself looking nice, and try to cut back on those dirty vices. Oh, I don’t mean vices like smoking or highballs (see our recipe for Mother’s Pet Milk Martini on Page 47!), I mean vices like keeping a job well after you’re so huge we can call you handicapped. Pet Milk: The Milk That Sounds Like It’s From Your Pet, But Isn’t.

BufBloPoFo Topic for Day 13

Holy crap you guys! Tomorrow is The Last Day Eve! YOU CAN DO IT.

I was going to finish with this question like last year, but decided I’d use it for day 13 instead. Link to whatever you posted exactly one year ago (or whatever’s closest), and give your readers an update on that topic. If you haven’t been writing for a year, give us a list of three or four things that are going on in your life right now that you’ll want to update one year from now.

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