Words matter

I was just letting the commercials run on my TV when an ad for some kind of new miracle drug came on. In the commercial, during the “Side effects may include…” spiel, the following sentence (of course) caught my ear:

“Tell your health care provider about all medicines you take and all of your medical conditions, including if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

Sounds harmless enough. No big deal here.

But that one little word. “Including.” Including pregnancy as one of many possible medical conditions. It is just one more thing that adds to the deep rooted of fear of pregnancy and birth in our culture, to the attitude that pregnancy is a pathology to be managed and treated rather than a natural state of being. I’m sure it was subconscious on the part of the writer…but even that says something.

Usually such commercials will say:

“Tell your health care provider about all medicines you take and all of your medical conditions, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

Such a little change. Just one word.

But that one word changes pregnancy (and breastfeeding) from being part of a “medical condition” to being just another piece of information your doctor needs to know about.

I used to think such little words didn’t matter. That people were making a big deal about nothing. But as I’ve studied gender, race and those with chronic conditions that make them different, such as the Deaf, I’ve learned how much of an impact word choice can have on the subconscious, on the things we accept without even realizing we’ve accepted them.

Which is why this commercial just niggled at my brain a little.

It might also have to do with the baby crazies.

Naaaaah….

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