There I was, enjoying a nice cold glass of Sancerre with my dinner, when my eye wandered to the symbol at the bottom of the label.
It’s a symbol that I’ve seen hundreds of times – usually on the back of my Corona in the pub – but it really got me thinking this time.
Thank God, I thought, THANK GOD that symbol is there.
How helpful would it be, if I was pregnant right now, and was just about to pour myself a glass of wine to go with my meal? How helpful would it be to see that symbol and be suitably forewarned that its not suitable for pregnant women? I would have continued on, unsupervised, in ignorance, lashing into the vino unaware of the dangers that lurked within.
Also, THANK GOD, that it’s a symbol and not spelled out in the letters of our mother tongue. The symbol of course ensures that there are no language barriers, no misunderstanding and no doubt in any pregnant woman’s mind anywhere in the world that the contents of this bottle are not for her.
I’m sure pregnant women everywhere thank you for bringing this to their attention.
Never mind that it is the pregnant woman’s body, and her baby, and therefore her choice.
Never mind that the vast majority of women are more than aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption both in and out of pregnancy.
Never mind that women with an alcohol addiction problem – who are most likely to have a baby with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders – are caught up in something far more complex than simply deciding to abstain from the odd glass of beer or wine on occasion.
A symbol on a bottle is never going to work for them.
A symbol on a bottle is never going to have any positive impact on a pregnant woman, or any woman in fact.
How many women do you reckon put down their glass or bottle when they see this symbol?
Is it a shaming exercise?
Is it just another intervention in a long list of interventions that infantilise pregnant women and reinforce the belief that they are incapable of making informed decisions for themselves and their babies, and also that they don’t have their babies’ best interests at heart?
Symbols are very simple but very powerful things. We have a rocky history with symbols and the behaviours that they elicit. This one serves no positive purpose. It’s time to let it go.