Letter to David Chesney - City Councillor in White Rock Re: Pregnancy Comments
Posted on May 4, 2015 in Mortgage Market Updates and News
Dear Mr Chesney,
I recently took the liberty of listening to your entire interview on The Goddard Report. My first comment to you is that I absolutely love your ‘Community Conversation’ concept. As a City Councillor myself, I’m always looking for ways to better engage our community, make them comfortable giving their opinions, etc. I think you’re really onto something and I’ll likely be borrowing your idea for my own community in the near future. Great work. Unfortunately that’s the only positive I took away from the 20-minute 57-second interview.
A bit of background about myself; I’m 27, a mortgage broker in my community, and recently elected as a City Councillor. I have two children; a 3-year-old daughter and a 7-month-old son. I am also a passionate human rights advocate. As I wear many hats, I’d like to note that I’m writing to you today in the capacity of my most important job, as a mother of two amazing little people.
To say that I found your comments about pregnant women offensive would be a massive understatement. As stated above, I listened to the entire interview, not just the short clips played on the news or other people’s comments about it. I did this to give you the benefit of the doubt. After reading some very angry posts about your comments on Facebook, I wondered if the comments you made had been taken out of context or blown out of proportion at least somewhat. As is not uncommon with elected officials, I too have had bits and pieces of my actual words taken and put into unfortunate contexts in the past. After listening to the entire interview I very clearly realize this is not at all what happened here.
In explaining to you just how deeply you’ve offended me, and I can only assume millions of other women, I literally don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start with a bit of personal background. With each of my two pregnancies I gained 60+ pounds. With my first I was so embarrassed by the weight I tried to go out socially as little as possible. I stayed home as often as I could, I purchased very expensive maternity clothes to wear to work, and I tried to ignore and not let people in the public know just how horrible I felt about my body. What should have been an incredibly magical time in my life was largely overshadowed by my constant worry of what people might be thinking about me (and apparently people like you actually were thinking it – so thanks for that).
My second pregnancy was very different in a lot of ways. On the one hand, having my first child drastically changed my perspectives on life. I no longer felt the need to seek approval from people in the public I didn’t even know, I felt much more comfortable with and confident in myself, and I’d gained the realization that what mattered was that I had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby not what I looked like. All that said, I also decided during my pregnancy I’d be running for City Council, which brought a whole new set of challenges, throwing me into the spotlight at a time when I’d naturally be less confident in myself.
During my campaign I endured a lot of incredibly inappropriate comments regarding my pregnancy, my choice to run for council instead of being ‘home with my children’, and shockingly, a few about my body shape. As challenging as those things were I want you to know that I also endured 4 months of chronic nausea so bad I couldn’t even lift myself off the couch until 4pm most days. I want you to know that I also endured 3 months of heartburn so bad I couldn’t lie down at night and had to try to sleep sitting up. I want you to know I endured the sometimes-severe aches and pains of actually feeling my uterus stretching inside of me as my baby grew. I endured constant fear and stress that I would eat something I shouldn’t or do something I shouldn’t and end up losing my baby. I endured SPD (symphysis pubis disfunction), a pregnancy condition causing pelvic pain so bad I could hardly put one leg in front of the other to walk. I want you to know I endured limping into my candidate TV clip, trying to look and present myself professionally to the voters of my community 30 minutes after throwing up in the bathroom because a smell made me nauseous. I endured 3 months of sleepless nights in late pregnancy because I needed to get up every hour to pee but I was in too much pain to get out of my bed and get to the bathroom. I endured 6 months of stressing that my labour would be as long and painful as it was when I gave birth to my daughter. I then endured 2 months of panic, worry, and tears when I learned my baby was breach and I’d need to have a cesarean to deliver him. I endured early labour pains before going to the hospital for my surgery. I endured an hour of shaking so hard from the cesarean drugs that they had to strap my arms down (not exactly the most magical way to have your baby brought into the world). While I didn’t feel the pain of the surgery, I did endure the feeling of what felt like doctors pushing and yanking on my insides while delivering my baby. After my baby was born I endured weeks of recovery from my cesarean where I was in so much pain I needed my husband to sit me up to feed our son and help me roll from my side to my back in bed without hurting myself. I endured trying to fit into literally anything I owned that was appropriate to wear to an all candidates meeting and while there I endured walking around chatting with voters so long I felt like I was going to fall over and then having to give my speech in front of a huge group of voters stressed that my breastmilk would leak all over my dress since I hadn’t fed my son in more than 2 hours. I’m still enduring the everyday fears mother’s of new babies go through like sickness, developmental issues, or worse SIDS. It goes without saying that I’ve endured what feels like a lifetime of sleepless nights while up with my crying baby, but I’ve also endured my 3-year-old’s tears because she no longer has me all to herself and I can’t always snuggle her to sleep at night anymore. I want you to know that dispite all this, my pregnancy was considered 'normal', and many women go through far worse than this.
I’m writing this in hopes that you may gain a deeper understanding of why your comments were so wrong. I know you’ve put out the standard apology, my comments were taken out of context, I didn’t mean to offend anybody, blah blah blah, but I don’t feel at this point you really are sorry or understand why your beliefs are so misguided.
In conclusion I’d like you to consider what women go through during pregnancy, labour/delivery, and the sleepless and stressful months to follow. While there is no greater joy in this world than our children, getting them here is no simple feat. What we wear during pregnancy should be the last fu***ing thing on our minds! I hope this brings you a bit of clarity as to why your comments were not just rude and offensive, but incredibly insensitive.
previously pregnant woman - guilty of having my 'belly button actually pushing through the material [of my shirt]' which is apparently absolutely disgusting to you..
*PS the way you threw your entire council and mayor under the bus during the first 30-seconds of your interview seemed a little classless to me.
To listen to the full interview and gain your own opinions please use the link below. His comments start at about 10 minutes.