Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hot Topic Tuesday-- Expectant Mother Parking

Typed this up yesterday-- here we go!

A few years ago I was on an adoption message board where I mentioned the fact that once I started my adoption, I started parking in the "Expectant Mother Parking" they offer at some stores like CVS, Harris Teeter, Babies R Us, etc... because it made me feel happy to realize I was an expectant mother.

Oh. My. Word. I got TOTALLY bashed.

I was told that I was totally selfish. That these spots had a MEDICAL reason behind them and I was just being bitter that I wasn't pregnant and I was "stealing" them from pregnant women who were in a state of a lot more discomfort. (Give me a break.)

This sparked QUITE the controversy. People dug in their heels and it got ugly before the thread was locked by a moderator.

Well, using our nice words, I would like to discuss this issue with you all. It might be interesting because there are a lot of adoptive parents who read my blog, but it might be boring because I am so right about this one no one will disagree. (JUST KIDDING!!!)

Okay, here's my two cents on the whole deal.

I totally, completely, utterly think that waiting adoptive parents should be "allowed" to park in the spaces reserved for expectant mothers. Here's why:

First of all, these spaces are just a marketing ploy. There is NO law governing them and no enforcement of them. It's just a marketing tool to make expectant moms feel special. And if that's the case, why should it be reserved only for the pregnant mom and not the adoptive?

Having experienced biological pregnancy and the "paper pregnancy" of adoption, I feel pretty "qualified" to speak to this issue as a whole and would argue that adoption is EVERY single bit as uncomfortable as bio pregnancy (it's just different)-- AND THEN SOME with VERY, VERY few of the "perks" that accompany it. It's isolating because when you're pregnant, everyone (eventually) knows you're expecting. So you get to talk about it all the time. You get to look totally "normal" registering for baby gifts, you get all sorts of well-wishes from strangers, etc. etc. etc. When you're adopting, you have to bring it up in conversation all the time because you want to feel validated as expecting a baby too. It's not obvious because of the lack of a baby bump (although a lot of people gain nearly as much weight during an adoption as they would a pregnancy-- it's a literal phenomenon, I am not speaking figuratively here.)

When you DO get to talk with people about your adoption, most assume you're infertile and feel the need to express pity in some way. Many adoptive moms don't get baby showers ahead of time, because the timing is so unknown. And most people feel the need to "educate you" all about the things that might go wrong with adoption, telling you one of the "tons" of stories they knew about failed placements and/or RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), why you should/shouldn't be adopting domestically/internationally, etc. etc. etc.

Third, pregnancy is NOT a medical condition. (This is not the time to argue about hospital vs. home birth... perhaps another day.) All I am saying is that in the majority of cases, there is not any reason why parking any closer is medically necessary. And you're SUPPOSED to be walking. It's good for the pregnancy. I know that being in late pregnancy makes walking around uncomfortable-- believe me, I know! But if you can't even walk into the store from the parking lot, how are you going to get around it? I was two weeks overdue with a nine and half pound baby. Yeah it was uncomfortable. But that's not a medical condition. If the pregnancy causes a medical condition necessitating that you park closer, we already HAVE a mandated system in every public place for that-- handicapped parking.

There's this principle you learn about when you're learning adoption called "entitlement." It is basically acknowledging that you're "entitled" to be this child's mother. It's not the same thing as attachment (the feeling of being attached to a child as his mom/dad, etc). It's the feeling that you are the "real" parent and has a lot to do with how you feel you are perceived by others. That doesn't just MAGICALLY happen when you get your child. You need to foster this and remind yourself that you are the "real" parents well before your child comes home. This is one of the things that makes adoption so difficult. You need to force yourself to attach to a child and give yourself the right to feel like the parent before they are in your arms. Thus the ache. You ARE an expectant mother. And, therefore, you should be able to park there.

You can say it comes down to semantics, but I disagree. And here's why... If the following argument is applied, at WHAT point (if you are biologically pregnant) do you start parking there? Is it "ethical" to park there as soon as you find out you're pregnant? But what happens if someone in their second trimester comes along? But if they do, should THEY park there, because what if someone in their THIRD trimester comes along? But then should THEY park there, because what if someone who is overdue wants to park there? But what if there is a MORE overdue person that comes along? So then should no one park there, just in case? So then is there even a point to these spots? I would argue that there only real point is (like I mentioned above) to make expectant mothers feel a little special. And then, in that case, why should that be reserved for only mothers who are biologically pregnant? Shouldn't both be able to feel special?

I do NOT think this is selfish and I would ask anyone who thinks it is to express (if it helps validate the feeling of being an expectant mother) why they would begrudge a waiting adoptive parent this small privilige, but yet give it to a pregnant woman. To me THAT seems selfish.

And just as a bit of an aside, at Babies R Us they call it "Stork Parking." And I think you'd be hard pressed to convince me the whole "stork" idea is more relevant in birth than in adoption. :) Just saying.

And my final point is that I get that this is one of those issues that don't really matter in the grand scope of the big picture. It's totally what my friend CC would call a "rich country problem." That does NOT escape me.

So ladies, what do you think about this totally non-important issue in our society? Agree, disagree? Let's hear.

And, oh! I am going to *try* to leave this topic open for a few days since you all are complaining about not being able to post fast enough.


  1. I'll be the first to post and say I really don't have an opinion about this one. I'm a little bitter that these parking allocations did not exist when i had my three kids. It would've been nice when i was 4-5 cm dilated for two weeks and "not in labor" with my last two, cause walking was VERY uncomfortable. But that is tmi.

    I do think the allocated spots for parents with little ones (near a cart storage thingy) are nice and helpful. But then, again, who decides what parent has small enough kids to park there? And I wish they had those when my kids were little.

    Oh, and why does our church have spots for solo parents - what does that mean? And doe people observe that? Just wondering...

  2. I think that the "expectant mothers" parking is definitely a marketing ploy. Having said that, I do think they should be for pregnant women. I personally didn't park in them even when I was pregnant, because, to me, your argument about "someone who needs it more" really was the thing. I never felt that I needed it. However, they don't have them anyplace I know of in my area. The only time I was around them was when I was probably mid-pregnancy in the "big city" (lol) of Virginia Beach or Chesapeake. Didn't feel the need to use it. Had I been two weeks overdue with a nine and a half-pound baby, you bet your butt I would have used it. And if someone "not visibly pregnant" was getting out of the car in that spot, I'd probably be annoyed. Not enough to start a confrontation about it, but still annoyed. To me, it's like giving up your seat to a pregnant woman on a bus. It's not that she has a medical condition, you just would think she would be more comfortable sitting.
    Of course I think adoptive parents should be validated as "expectant" parents. I just don't think that the "stork parking" is necessarily the arena for that to happen.
    And to the previous poster asking about the solo parents: I think THAT is a waayyyy better idea than "stork parking". Seriously. Again, since I'm from "the sticks", we don't have that 'round here. But having wrangled all my kids solo across a WalMart parking lot (with all the accoutrements a baby requires sometimes), I think solo parent parking is a GREAT idea. Again, it comes down to your perceived need. I wouldn't use it NOW, because my kids are bigger and more manageable, and I know there are moms/dads who need it way more. But maybe that's just me. (Disclaimer: I DID utilize the solo parent parking at Crosspointe when I wasn't solo. I was with my mom and had Gwenn's kids with me and we were late and there was no other parking immediately available. Sorry to any solo parent that I bumped out. Although there were at least three other spots there.)

  3. I think it is fine to park in those spots as a biological or adoptive parent.
    I thought about it from another angle--(part of the marketing ploy) that you purchased so much that you need to park close to make it easier to get it all out to your car. That suits either side of this topic.
    Also, I find that I would rather have the option to park close now that the baby is born then when I was prego. It was WAY easier then. I didn't need the diaper bag, etc. I was just big!
    I parked in them when I was pregnant and alone, but Nathan would never have any part of it. He always thought it was good to walk and I should be thankful that I could.

  4. My first time ever folks...weighing in on hot topic tuesday...

    And the funny thing is like chocolategravy I don't really have an opinion about this one...

    but there have been times when I couldn't find a spot and it was the only one available and I wondered to myself...I expect to be expecting someday....does that count?

    And no I didn't let it count. Just kept driving around until a spot came available.

  5. Though I really don't care. It was nice to park closer when I was prego with Riann. Just for the fact I didn't have to walk around looking for my car in Florida heat was nice. I do think that the letter of the law is for women that are prego...I think it should be for them.
    On a side note. At dinner last week, when the Hancock family was here, we were talking about blogs and yours came up. And we then were talking about this question and what were are opinions and such. It was hilarious because Nixon (Haitian man married to Sandra) had NO clue what we were talking about. Special parking for pregnant ladies? Special parking for crippled people? Huh? I guess in a country that has very little space for parking it doesn't make sense.
    Though I wish there was a 'blanc' space at our church on Sundays!

  6. So, I've only used the Stork Parking once @ B-R-U and that was because someone else was driving me. All other times, and at other stores, I've felt I'm not "pregnant enough" to justify parking one spot closer to the door. (Is 39 weeks pregnant enough now, though?) I felt like you did - what if a more-pregnant mom shows up, or what if an expectant mom with multiple littles shows up with nobody to help wrangle them... She'll need this space more than I will.

    More than the "expecting" parking spaces, it would be great if our public lots could have spaces like "Parent of Multiple Kids Under The Age Of Five" parking, or "I Caught The Death Flu And Am Hardly Conscious" parking, or "I'm Having A Brain-fart Day And Will Likely Forget Where I've Parked" parking. Yeah - I did that @ Target last Friday. Totally walked halfway thru the lot only to realize I was on the wrong side. Ack.

    As for adoptive parents using the spaces, I don't have much of an opinion due to lack of experience, but I can say that I agree with your reasons. And CC was right - this is a "rich country problem."

  7. I can honestly say that I don't have much of an opinion on this. Having been through all the discomfort of a biological pregnancy, and having watched you wait for Nico, I can DEFINITIVELY say that you had it much much much harder. Hands down. And this isn't meant to be snarky at all, but if parking in the expectant mothers' spot made that whole waiting experience even a teensy bit easier for you, then I say go for it. You're entitled. But I'm not sure that I agree that the main purpose of these parking spaces is to make expectant mothers feel special, although I am sure that is a factor. I think it is to make women who are "heavy with child" (lol, you know about that too) just a bit more comfortable. That said, I think that if I was expecting an adopted child, I would probably leave the space for someone else. And if it's taken by some little girl in her sixth week of pregnancy, oh well. I just don't think it matters that much.

  8. Like most others, I don't really have much of an opinion. I agree it's a marketing tool, but I was excited about having the "privilege" to park there when I was pregnant the first time around. Now I actually prefer to park in the spots next to the cart returns instead of those front spots anyway. I find it easier getting Kaelyn in and out of the car. However, there have been times when I've just needed to run in to return a redbox or pick up bananas or something and I will park in that pregnant spot. It's interesting because I do find myself sticking my little pregnant belly out as far as possible just in case anyone sees me and questions if I'm really allowed to park there or not. :)

  9. When you posted your up and coming I was more opinionated about it (which made me not sleep that night, thanks-a-lot!), but having heard your arguments I will concede the point (and I was very uncomfotable walking starting at around 20wks but I still did it because I had to). I was very excited about those parking spots only to find out my Babies-R-Us didn't have any! I will share that I was riding with someone who was 12 weeks pregnant and she parked there and we 'discussed' it because I thought she was missing the point and she said the I was...
    Totally aside:
    As a subway rider right up until I was 38 wks pregnant I will tell you people don't always give up their seat for you and I was very very annoyed as I attempted to maintain my balance on a moving train. It is 100X harder to stand on the subway while pregnant than walk to into a store while pregnant.
    But I do love the customers with infants parking at BJ's. Although 9 times out of 10 there are cars parked there with no car seats and it annoys me!

  10. While this topic isn't one I have great feelings about, I will weigh in. While the marketing tool aspect may be the biggest reason as to why stores offer these spots I don't think they should be used by mom's waiting to adopt, it just doesn't make sense. To me the spots are supposed to be reserved for women in the latter stages of pregancy or with little one's in tow.

    I have had four bio babies and one adoption and while waiting for Wil to come home was arduous and painful it didn't impede my ability to walk to and from my car...now being 42 weeks pregnant with 10.5 pound baby with two others in tow in the July heat, well that did. Or being 37 weeks pregnant with a seperated pelvis with three little ones in tow, again, that did!

    As much as my heart ached for Wil to come home it didn't effect my legs, in any way.

    I understand the aspect of entitlement in the adoption process but there is also the aspect of acceptance, that it just isn't the same as a biological pregnancy, not easier not harder, not better or worse, just different. Here we get 50 weeks of paid Maternity leave when we have a baby, when we adopt it's only 35. Why? because the government has deemed the first 15 weeks as a medical leave to recuperate from the birth. You don't get the 15 weeks to recover from an adoption.

    I like other posters think the spots should be reserved for who needs them most. So if I at 10 or 12, or 40 weeks pregnant felt fine I would park elsewhere.

  11. I think the only time I would mind if an adoptive parent parked in the spot is if the parking lot was covered in ice. Then, for safety reasons, I would hope it would remain open for those who are pregnant.

  12. The *intent* of the parking spots isn't lost on me.

    And yes, I get the whole spirit of the law vs. letter of the law.

    And honestly, I think my point was proved perfectly when I said perhaps I shouldn't park there at 42 weeks pregnant with a nine and a half pound baby because there is someone on here who was 2 weeks overdue with a TEN and a half pound baby.

    The whole concept is dumb if we follow that reasoning.

    And if the whole concept is dumb, then why the heck shouldn't adoptive parents be allowed to park there as well?

    Yes, adoption is different than biological birth. In MY own experience, my adoption was FAR harder than my biological pregnancies. (But maybe that's because I did them both at once-- who knows?)

    Either way, I just need to tell you all-- if I am ever adopting again and I am in the US and see one of those spots, you bet your sweet behind I will be parking in it.

    And Leann, Haiti actually DOES have special privileges for pregnant women... in the immigration lines. They have a special line for pregnant people, elderly people, or people traveling with young children.

    And I would agree with everyone who says that the parents with young children spots are far more useful than expectant parent spots.
    I still use the parents with infants spots at BJ's... Technically I don't think I have an infant since Josiah is now forward-facing, but I have three kids in car seats, so I feel like I could take on anyone who gave me hassle.

  13. I agree that the whole thing is kind of ridiculous, with no way to monitor who is using the spots and no law to provide guidance it all seems kind of pointless.

    I also agree with you Gwenn, that of all my kids the wait for Wil was harder than any pregnancy. But at no point during the long wait was I unable to walk to and from my car. I wanted to smash my head in the car door on more than one occasion but my ability to physically walk was never impeded.

    Since there are no rules to enforce who can and cannot actually use the spots I think we should use our best judgement. If we say the spots should be open to those who are "paper preganant" then why not expectant dad's as well, after all many gain weight and experience pregnancy symptoms right along with their wives, or what about those trying to get pregnant, or those thinking of trying to get pregnant. It just becomes a bit ridiculous.

    To me, the point to the spots besides trying to entice the pregant crowd into the store is to provide a spot that is a bit closer and a bit more convenient to woman who may be in need of it due to the physical aches and pains of pregnancy, or to parents with little kids they have to lug in and out of the store. It's not about being entitled to the spots and claiming that you are a mother just as much as ypur preganant couterpart, it's about helping out a mom whose belly is about to burst or whose swollen legs will barely carry her in the door.

  14. Why can't everyone just follow the rules..... :-)

    Just think how nice the world would be if everyone just used common sense and followed the rules. Carts would be in the cart return, no one would be in the 10 items or less line with 12 items.....

    Obviously the spaces marked expectant mother parking/solo parent etc are a marketing tool to entice mothers to shop at their store. There is no legal issue here.

    The spaces are a courtesy to people who are not legally "handicapped" but who benefit from a closer space.

    Adoption in my opinion does not qualify. Also, being in a hurry, its raining, my back hurts, I got laid off...etc are not reasons to park in that space because you don't get to decide.

    Who decides the exceptions? EVERYONE has problems, stresses, etc and most are probably not so visible to the outside world.

    Read the sign and be logical -

    If you are pregnant and feel being closer to the store would help you physically then park there (and I would not worry about someone else being in worse shape..there is ALWAYS someone else in worse shape ha ha). I would say if you are early in your pregnancy and sick as a dog..park there.

    We have solo parent parking at church. I go to church without my husband most Sundays but I don't park there b/c I don't need help with my 5th and 2nd grader. I am using common sense.

    To me it is the same falls in the same category as the people who get in the 10 items or less line with 13 items. It says 10 items or less. No one is going to arrest you if you have 11 items but is it right?


  15. I would not think I have the right to qualify and so I would not do it. I just would not. While I strive for equality in the consideration of expecting adopting Mothers and adopting pregnant Mothers there are some areas where the fighting the good fight does not apply (in my opinion). I do not feel it is discriminatory to limit some spaces closer to the store for those who may be feeling a little more physically compromised than the rest of us. Pregnancy is not a medical condition but it can create medical conditions for some.

    Yup - I have put on a beautiful 40 pounds with this adoption and (for me) it is all the more reason to park on the far side of the parking lot and haul my butt the longer distance. I feel so bad for people who struggle with little ones (a baby & a toddler for example) and they have to make it through a parking lot watching out for cars (our expecting spots are also marked expecting/infant) I never even bothered snagging the spots when I was pregnant really.

    I don't think it is a right/wrong issue so much as it is just a matter of proper etiquette & being considerate of others.

  16. Yeah, I know that customs coming in PAP has a special line...which I use every time! I find that funny, because US customs in FLL and MIA doesn't let you do that. Can't tell you how many times I had to hold a screaming Riann as the line inches forward. I've even asked if I can go in the special line and they said No.

  17. I agree with the last few comments. What would happen if we deregulated handicapped parking, if we just left it to the discretion of those driving.

    I would think that if you had just had surgery you would be entitled to park in a handicapped spot, after all you are sore, sutured, not sleeping well, etc....much like a very pregnant woman or one who just delivered. In that same scenario of deregulated parking could the person who was slated for surgery next week park there too? They are about to have surgery, while not yet had it, they are still going to have it...they are anxious and tired... It would make no sense, right? Of course the person in no physical discomfort should not get the spot, regardless of the fact that they are soon going to need it.

    I know this is a bit off topic but I honestly think that we as adoptive parents tend to take things too far in our struggle for equality. We try so hard to let the rest of the world know that we are "real" mom's too and that adoption is not second best, but I think we at times tend to take it too far.

  18. I wasn't going to comment but I changed my mind. I have an 18 month old and am pregnant with baby number 2. I think those spots rock and I love to use them! I also think it's ridiculous that people feel because they are pregnant that they some how have more privilege then someone who is waiting for a child through adoption. I believe the signs say "expectant mother parking" or "stork parking" that would mean by definition it's someone waiting for a child. Aren't adoptive mothers waiting for their children? Isn't the "stork" delivering their children as well? Why do we assume it's just for pregnant women? Bbecause we don't want to have to waddle a few more steps so other mothers can enjoy the parking as well?

  19. To me it's not really a "fight for equality" as much as a happy reminder to me that I too was an expectant mother. In a process filled with heartache that you cannot imagine unless you've been through it, it was a little chance to celebrate ME as the mother of my son waiting for me.

    You can call me a "rebel" or say I am not "following the rules" but that's INSANE. THERE ARE NO RULES for these spaces. For ME, it helped me in some small way in the journey of my wait.

    Just like it's there to help preggos through a hard time physically, whose to say it can't also help adoptive mothers emotionally? It's just a different kind of "pain."

    Just because certain preggos didn't use it because they felt like they didn't need it, certain adoptive parents might not feel they needed it either-- but I did. And it helped.

    So-- again, call me selfish if you want, but if we've established there are no rules governing this and it helped me through a hard emotional patch, WHO CARES?

  20. While there are no written rules about who can use these spots, I would hope that the rule of proper ettiquette and doing the right thing would prevail. There may be a marketing ploy behind why stores choose to offer these spots but it is backed with some validity. Pregnancy can cause a lot of discomforts and actual medical conditions, adoption is hard but it isn't preventing you from walking ten extra feet. If there wasn't any validity behind why the spots were offered then stores would offer spots to entice a broad spectrum of customers. Why not spots for the morbidly obese, or the lazy, or for those in a rush and so on and so on. They don't because there is no reason to actually offer those groups a reserved spot.

    I would not personally tell an adoptive mom she couldn't use the spot nor would I choose to use one as an adoptive mom. I am pretty sure the point to the spots was not to make prospective parents feel better but to offer them some additional convenience.

  21. What a topic! I really had not thought about this before, but I have a lot of thoughts floating around right now. This might not flow very well, but I'll try to get it all out.

    First of all, I loved using the "Stork Parking" at BRU. I haven't seen expectant parking anywhere else that I shop, so I can't speak to anywhere else. I used the spots at BRU the entire time I was preggo, even before I was showing (though I showed really, really early).

    Now, yes, being preggo does not mean you NEED these spots. But being preggo can make you quite uncomfortable. For me, I had a lot going on. I get EXTREME morning sickness (diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum and I had to take meds the ENTIRE pregnancy and still had days I couldn't move around b/c it was so bad). I also have placenta issues and had a month or longer where I wasn't to do extra walking that was not absolutely necessary. And later in the pregnancy (as soon as I was given the go to do more physically), I had a lot of issues with my pelvis and ribs being out of alignment. Trust me, walking was NOT fun. But I still had to go shopping for baby things and things like that. So, the stork parking is nice when walking really is painful. Having parking spots designated for preggo ladies made that a little better. Even without all of that, though, I would have used it without thinking twice. But at our BRU, there are PLENTY of stork parking spots - so I would never have been concerned about someone else needing the spot more than me.

    I never saw any of these kind of spots when I was preggo with Camden, and he was an 11 pounder - yeah, that was a bit uncomfortable (esp for someone that was only 110 lbs when I first got preggo...). And I never missed the spots, not knowing about them. So, I realize they aren't necessary for me, even if pregnancy can be really uncomfortable and even painful.

    I asked my husband what he thought about the topic. Off the top of his head, he said "It depends on WHY they think the spots are there." If it's there to help preggos that might be uncomfortable, then it should just be for them, he said. But if it's there for mom's who will have a lot to carry b/c they're making large purchases for the new baby (something I hadn't even thought of), it's for any "expecting" parent. He said, it also depends on your definition of "expecting." Heck, we'll be having another baby in a few years, so, he said to me, you're already "expecting." Haha! He was just kidding, though!

    The more I think about it, the more I agree that adoptive parents should be just as able to use those spots as a preggo lady. Now, if the spots were very limited, maybe that would be different. But I'm thinking of BRU where there are more than enough spots - so that if someone comes along and NEEDS a closer spot, they would have one. But - physically pregnant or not, wouldn't they all be "expecting"?? I liked the spots more for how special I felt getting to use them than for the location, to be honest, as much as location helped me. It was just a "privilege" for the most part.

    Another thing, at BRU, the stork parking isn't actually the closest parking... Now, I park right up next to the entrance if possible. There are fewer spots there. But it's harder to get in and out having the baby, the stroller, the car seat, diaper bag, etc. - and then having to try to come out with your purchases, as well (ha.). I would now really appreciate the "infant" parking. That would be more of a help than the stork parking was earlier.

    You can bet that when I'm at Harris Teeter, I use the spot marked for parents with children if it's available (more of those would be nice, though - they really are limited). It's also a bit more of a walk; it is NOT right up front. That's ok. It's helpful b/c it's strategically next to the cart return, which is a huge help when you have kids.

    Ok - I think I got it all out there. Sorry for the stinking LONG reply. I really hadn't thought much about this before, so I had a lot going on in my head after reading your post, Gwenn. I must say, I can tell you have strong feelings about this topic. It sounded like you were on the defense the entire time I was reading. But I can see why, esp after you were put down for thinking it was ok to park in "expectant" parking. I actually would like to adopt one day, perhaps. And yeah, I will probably want to do the same! :)

  22. oh - thought of a couple other things.

    when i was preggo, i was still in grad school and riding the bus on campus. someone else commented about this and it's true - people do NOT always get up and let the preggo lady have the seat. even when you're obviously pregnant and there is a lot of jolting going around. not fun.

    but also - i know that some people could say that if you are uncomfortable enough to feel you NEED those closer, "reserved" spots, then maybe you shouldn't be going out and doing all that walking (b/c you will be walking all around once in the store). but the fact is, you do need to go out and do things. even if you're uncomfortable, life still goes on. and having that spot that's just a little bit closer to the store can really help. i would try to park as close as i could in most situations b/c there were months where walking any amount was very painful for me. or not good for me (for medical reasons). i still had to walk some, esp when going to school. it would have really been nice to have some "stork parking" at the park-n-ride lots - where i had to park WAAAAYYY in the back and then walk a long distance to catch the bus (where i wasn't guaranteed a sitting spot). sometimes you can't just stay at home b/c you're uncomfortable. and those spots might really help some people in those situations a lot.

    does it sound like i'm going back and forth on which side i'm on? i guess i'm just speaking for both sides, in some cases. i can see it both ways. sorry if it sounds like i'm playing devil's advocate here!

  23. I don't really have an opinion about the parking. No doubt in my mind adoptive parents go through the same pains (if not more dramatic and severe) as biological parents.

    My only question would be what happened to putting others above myself? If leaving the space open meant that there was a possibility that I was helping someone else out and making their day a little brighter, would I do it?

    ...or is it all about what I think I'm entitled to?

  24. I guess I am on the defense because it ASTOUNDS me that apparently nearly everyone else things the only "just cause" for expectant parking is PREGNANT people. What? I am honestly astounded.

    So are we saying that the "employee of the month" shouldn't park in that spot because he/she might not have sore legs and COULD actually park further away?

    What I am hearing is it's okay to give a privilege of parking closer to only someone who can biologically conceive and carry a child, but not someone who's becoming a mother through adoption. Because that's what it is-- just a special privilege. It's not about whether or not someone CAN walk farther... it's whether or not they SHOULD HAVE TO. Apparently if you cannot or chose not to biologically carry a child, you're not welcome to have this privilege. How arrogant! No wonder why so many people who struggle with fertility hate being around pregnant people.

    Am I REALLY the only person who sees this??? (Okay, a few others of you said you see my point... so I am not entirely alone.)

    There is more than one way to be an expectant mother. Even my 3 year old knows that. If the stores only meant for preggos to park there it should be specified-- and of course if that were specified, there would be all sorts of backlash.

    For some reason, this is a topic I have really strong feelings about. I think it's that I hate that something that was special and significant to ME during my wait for Nico is apparently construed by so many people as me being bitter or breaking the rules. That wasn't at the heart of it at all-- it was me relishing my role as an expectant mother. And it's irritating to hear people say that because I wasn't biologically carrying a baby, I deserved it less than someone who was.

  25. Sheila--

    I think you bring up a good point.

    However, follow that too far, and then does that mean we should ALWAYS park the farthest from a store as possible in case someone might need a closer spot than we do?

    I am just saying that it's crazy to me that one group of expectant mothers would be singled out over another as being given this privilege. If you're going to offer this parking (which I think is a stupid idea anyway) people who add to their family through adoption should not be excluded.

  26. "To me it's not really a "fight for equality" as much as a happy reminder to me that I too was an expectant mother."

    "What I am hearing is it's okay to give a privilege of parking closer to only someone who can biologically conceive and carry a child, but not someone who's becoming a mother through adoption. Because that's what it is-- just a special privilege."

    Both quotes from you. They are statements that oppose eachother logically. You are using your action to make a statement about equality in expectant adopting and pregant women. You are free to do whatever you choose really - if you feel that makes a statement for you, or validates you as an adopting parent...have at er. I guess I don't need the extra affirmation. I am confident enough to pass on the spot.

    Umm. I am just a little confused as to why you open topics up, expect others to be polite and then follow it up with stuff like this:

    "How arrogant! No wonder why so many people who struggle with fertility hate being around pregnant people."

    Just to inform you - I am expecting three. Three children. I have been waiting for three children for quite some time now with no end in close sight. I know the pain that comes with adoption very well.

    Why open topics up and then get rude with the guest on your blog? I don't get it.

  27. I don't think anyone is saying that there is only one way to grow their family. I also don't think anyone is saying that adoptive parents are any less parents than those who physically birth their child. I think most people simply view these spots as a way to help another who may be PHYSICALLY less able to make the longer walk into the store.

    I think we should move past this weird idea that these spots are some kind of privlege to the elite of parents and look at them as a way to help someone out.

    I think there are far bigger injustices out there than where we park. Adoption is an amazing way to expand your family but just like many things in life it can't be compared to being physically pregnant, they are different and in no way does the need to validate ones self as mother justify them needing to park closer to the store. Adoption is an emotionally draining experience and if you haven't gone through it you have no idea but it still doesn't warrant a special place to park!

  28. Gwenn - definitely agree that anything can be taken too far. i just think I'd rather be on the side of taking putting others above me too far than demanding that which I think I am entitled or deserve too far.

  29. So, what's the opinion on whether adoptive mothers should ride roller coasters?

  30. Gwenn, when I go back and read the comments and your responses you make it very clear that it is not about entitlement but then go on to essentially say you should be entitled to those spots just like a pregnant woman. It kind of comes across as hypocritical.

    I am also unsure why you feel the need to have your "pregnancy" bio or adoptive, validated by anyone? Why does it matter? Why the need to ensure everyone knows about your upcoming arrival, why does it matter?

    You can't post a topic, ask for the views of others, and then call them arrogant when they disagree with you.

    The fact of the matter is, this is a ridiculous argument. Pregnancy does allow for certain privleges, medical leaves, longer maternity leaves, etc...why? Because it is an actual condition that can have medical implications. Adoption is not a condition and while it may cause people to gain weight, they are not pregnant!!

  31. I totally get where you're coming from on the entitlement (the good kind) issue. And I agree that the stores are doing it mostly to make the women feel special, and they should.

    I have never parked in any of them because I am able bodied and feel that there are others that need the spots..the wobbly preggers out there.

    Here's a thought, I am about to birth my 2nd uterine fibroid tumor the size of a 17+ week fetus. Does that count?

    Let them have their parking spots...I never had to say no to a Cosmo while I was expecting;-)

  32. Ok, one more thing in response to Michelle's comment. As an adoptive mother, I don't feel the need to be validated, but when my parenthood/family/experience is IN-validated, that hurts. In the waiting stages it happened quite frequently.
    "YOU are registering?!"
    "Someone is throwing a baby shower for YOU?! I thought those were only for pregnant women."

    So, even though I didn't feel the need to use the parking spots, I can understand why some expectant adoptive moms might want to feel special too...maybe to offset some of the thoughtless comments they received that day.

  33. Calling someone arrogant because they disagree with you is not using your nice words.
    No one is trying to in-validate the adoptive mother. No one. People are merely pointing out that the "special parking" is more sensibly utilized by those who have more physical limitations. Handicapped, pregnant, loaded down with infant and infant stuff...all of those are "physical limitations".
    That's ALL. Seriously.
    Also, my world may have stopped spinning when I found myself thinking "That's EXACTLY what I meant!" when I read Jenn's comments...we haven't always seen eye-to-eye on stuff. :)

  34. Ok, so I really could care less who parks there- I would not tell someone they should not be parking there. But I would say that I hope to adopt some day and I would not feel right parking in the "Expectant Mother" parking spot. And I might add that when I was pregnant, I still didn't park there unless there was no other spot available b/c I felt like I could handle parking elsewhere. I think the people who need a special spot are the ones who are trying to lug in infant carriers. THey should reserve the spots next to buggy returns for those moms.

    And as a side note (and to try to make the discussion more fun), Maybe some of those places where people got offended should change the name of the spot to "Pregnant Parking." ;) Then you might not feel that an adoptive parent could park in the spot.

  35. "So, what's the opinion on whether adoptive mothers should ride roller coasters?"


  36. Wow. Seriously? You feel that the physical afflictions of pregnancy, as they affect your ability to maneuver, are on par with the traumas of adoption?

    I dunno. I think it's common sense to use the reserved spaces for people who need them. My first trimester of my first pregnancy? I sure as hell could have used them. I couldn't even make it to the bathroom safely half the time, but there WERE times I had to go out in the world and do things. The idea that someone would take a space I could have sorely used, because they were over being treated like an adoption was not a REAL expecting mother experience, would have boggled my mind and lessened my opinion of humanity. Seriously.

    I am not disputing how hard and heartbreaking the process of adoption is. I have witnessed it with many friends. But I *am* disputing the idea of overriding common sense, because of hurt feelings.

  37. Your "happy reminder" is that you get to shop at BRU at all. No child, no shopping. And if there is no actual rule, I suggest asking a BRU manager about the purpose of the parking spots, without mentioning you are adopting so they won't kiss your butt about it, and see what they say.

  38. One more thing. When I was pregnant, I could barely get out of the car or walk around because of little pregnancy "disorder" I was lucky enough to get. Knowing I could park closer made me more likely to shop at the store in the first place.

    And if I couldn't walk in the store, I could still get an electric cart, so that argument's out. ;)

  39. First, I apologize if I showed bad manners. The word arrogant was directed at no one in particular. I was saying I think it's an arrogant point of view to assume one kind of expectant mother deserves a special privilege while others do not.

    This has nothing to do with hurt/bad feelings and EVERYTHING to do with good feelings that it produced in me by using this privilege in my adoption.

    Listen people-- I too had three pregnancies. I am not a pregnant person hater. From hanging in adoption circles for a few years ago, I have met several people with infertility who have a hard time around pregnant people.

    During my first pregnancy, I barfed nearly every day until I was at about 22 weeks along. I had to leave grocery stores to barf in bags I had specially saved in my car-- mouthwash and all. I was constantly having to pull over on the side of the road.

    I lost the second baby and had to have a D&C to remove it.

    And the third pregnancy was Josiah-- he was giant. And I was uncomfortable a lot. And I rarely slept. He was two weeks late and weighed 9.7lbs.

    I get it. Pregnancy is uncomfortable-- yes. A disability-- no. Which should not necessitate special parking privileges in my book. But yet, for whatever reason, some places decided expectant mother parking was necessary. I too think other "groups" of people would be better served by parking closer-- senior citizens to be precise-- but again I believe it's a marketing ploy because expecting mothers spend a lot of money. Senior citizens do no.

    With pregnancy, I didn't need reminders there was a baby waiting for me. I could see it in ultrasounds inside my body. I could feel it move in me. I'd hear its heartbeat at my appointments. When you're experiencing that, attachment just comes naturally. Because you are literally attached.

    During our adoption, there was none of that and so in order to prepare for attachment (which goes both ways-- him to me AND me to him) and entitlement, everything done had to be externally.

    Little things like parking in these spots helped me do that-- that was a good thing for me. It's not "hard feelings" (as one poster stated,) it's just a fact.

    People keep saying about using "common sense." Honestly that was what I was doing. It made perfect sense to me that I should be able to park there-- I too was an expectant mother.

    What I am hearing now is that I didn't use any common sense in the situation.

    So who is to say whose common sense should prevail? For everyone who's saying we should just use common sense, I agree--
    if your common sense tells you that you shouldn't park there preggo or not, then don't.

    If your common sense tells you that you're an expectant mother as well and it helps you physically or emotionally on this journey to get your child, by all means do.

    As to the poster who told me during her adoption she was "confident" enough in herself she didn't need to park there-- great. That's cool. No one is saying you got to.

    Using that train of thought one could argue that made me un-confident or insecure in myself as an expectant mother. I don't know-- maybe that was true. But either way, it's all good because parking alongside of other expectant mothers gave me confidence in who I was as an expectant mother. And if it serves a positive purpose, what is the harm?

    I'll say it again--
    A pregnant lady might have a physical reason to park there.

    An adoptive parent might have an emotional reason to park there.

    They are both expectant mothers. Why can't they both be validated with this privilege?

  40. Anonymous--

    I am quoting you here:

    ""One more thing. When I was pregnant, I could barely get out of the car or walk around because of little pregnancy "disorder" I was lucky enough to get. Knowing I could park closer made me more likely to shop at the store in the first place.

    And if I couldn't walk in the store, I could still get an electric cart, so that argument's out. ;)""

    If you were so infirmed from this disorder caused by pregnancy that you needed to be in a wheelchair or electric cart, that is a medical condition exceeding "normal" pregnancy and you should have probably gone to your doctor to get a handicapped placard to assure your needs were met at all stores, not just ones that have stork parking.

    Also, Babies R Us is only one of the stores that does this--

    Other stores with a form of it (just off the top of my head):
    CVS, Harris Teeter, BJ's So it's not like I was always going to buy baby items.

  41. Well, I am headed back to bed-- I've been having a touch of insomnia.

    Here's my last point/question.

    When I was going through hard emotional process of adopting my son Nico, parking in Expectant Mother parking was this little thing that I could do that helped me cope with the drama. It gave me something positive to focus on rather than wallowing in the wait. It was just a little shining moment where I felt like I was being celebrated as a mom. It served a purpose for me.

    With a system which we've established is vague at best in their choice of words--

    Can you really tell me that I did the wrong thing by parking there?

  42. I am taking a break from my Employment Discrimination Law final -- and for what it's worth, the federal government does consider pregnancy a disability under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the FMLA -- and it seems that a lot of the reason for that is because a woman who has recently given birth needs time to physically recover from the trauma of the process ... So I guess the same could be said for parking in those reserved spots, that they are "saved" for women going through the physical trauma of the pregnancy experience. Or maybe I am wrong and I will fail this class!

    I don't have strong feelings about it either way -- I never parked in one of the spots when I was hugely pregnant with twins. But what DOES annoy me is when people without children use the spots designated for people with children that are closest to the grocery store -- especially during the frigid New England winter!

  43. Well there you go folks-- pregnancy IS apparently disability.

    I wish I would have known that I was "disabled". In that case, by ALL MEANS, preggers should go ahead and park in handicapped parking. And don't worry, if you get a ticket, just tell the judge that according to the Federal Law you are disabled.

    I am going to go ahead and lock comments now. Mostly I just close them after a day for me-- so I don't get too wrapped up in it for too long. Since I am the blog owner, I get the final word. (If you want the final word-- start your own.)

    I can see that we're not going to agree on this one. Which is okay.

    No one is disputing there are physical manifestations of pain in pregnancy that could be alleviated in some small way by preggos parking in expectant mother parking.

    What frustrates me is that I CLEARLY see there are other manifestations of pain that are emotional, psychological, whatever, that could ALSO be alleviated in some small way by an adoptive expectant mother parking in stork parking.

    I just don't see why we can't have it both ways? It seems very selfish to allow it in one case, but not the other.

    Topic now closed.