Example: [Collected via e-mail, July 2012]
Origins: In recent years medical authorities have tried to impress more and more upon pregnant women the importance of being careful about what they ingest (especially in the early states of pregnancy). What's good for a pregnant mother isn't necessarily good for the child she carries; substances that an adult woman can tolerate without harm may still have deleterious effects on a fetus. Two activities pregnant women are strongly urged to avoid are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcoholic beverages, to the extent that those two products now carry government-mandated warning labels directed at mothers-to-be:
GOVERNMENT WARNING: According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.
The photo showed her seven months pregnant and smoking a cigarette. It accompanied a story about unpopular "traffic-calming" measures under way on Bullitt Avenue, where she lives. The caption said she worries about the effect of jackhammer noise on her unborn child. She couldn't have touched off a controversy more quickly if she'd called President Bush an Islamic extremist.
Dozens of calls and e-mails came to The Roanoke Times impugning her reputation and criticizing the paper for printing the photo. It
Williamson said she knows smoking is bad because people have criticized her since she took up the practice
"I really don't pay that much attention to it," she said. "If people don't like it, that's their opinion. They've got theirs and I've got mine."
She has tried every way to quit without success, she said.
As for smoking while pregnant, she said her doctor told her "it would be good if I cut back, but if I totally quit, it would not only cause stress on me but it would cause stress on the baby."
Emmett III weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces at birth and measured
She and Muse, her partner for two years, had a good Thanksgiving, and they anticipate a good Christmas.
Muse is 49, a big man in a camouflage jacket who has applied for disability because of a back injury he suffered in car wreck several years ago. Williamson, 35, is a small woman who worked at a fast-food restaurant until after she became pregnant. She is unemployed and on public assistance.
Clearly the couple is thrilled by their newborn — Emmett's first child and Mellisa's second. She and Muse said they hope to marry in January.
Despite [the couple's] smoking, their apartment did not smell of smoke.
"We don't allow no smoking in the house at all," Muse said, emphatically. "Cigarettes are a habit my son will never pick up."
Kennedy, Joe. "Criticism Doesn't Bother Smoker." The Roanoke Times. 27 September 2004. Kennedy, Joe. "Criticism Stung New Mother, Father." The Roanoke Times. 18 December 2004. The Roanoke Times. "Some Say It's 'Dumbest Thing the City Has Ever Done'." 20 September 2004 (p. A1).