That was the reality of pregnancy past. This was actually in the contract I signed in 1968 in a large urban school district in Virginia.
Of course, the application also included a line where I was to indicate which “church” I attended. I don’t remember either requirement being included in my previous contract in New York so maybe it was a regional thing.
NellJones’ recent blog jogged some memories of being pregnant in those "good old days" which for me were 1969-1975. Like Nell I remember the dreaded weigh-in. We were supposed to limit ourselves to a weight gain of 18-20 lbs with 25 being the absolute maximum.
DH was in the army when I was pregnant the first time. Weigh-ins were done in the outer office area along with the resulting approval or strong disapproval of the nurse. The doctor’s opinion would be voiced later. As Nell said “if you gained more than 20 pounds they screamed at you. I gained nearly 40 pounds with my first and you'd have thought I was trying to kill my baby.”
There was a lot of advice that would shock us today. I wondered if perhaps I was remembering incorrectly.
Digging through some old books, I found my 1970 version of “Expectant Motherhood”
Yes, I remembered correctly.
P 73: “Your appearance, then will be everlastingly better if you adhere to the rule of keeping weight gain between twenty and twenty-five pounds.”
P 85 “…obstetricians are emphasizing more and more the importance of weight control – some insisting on a gain of as little as eighteen pounds – the necessity of considering this problem in some detail is apparent.”
OK, I must admit it was easier to shed my 25 lb weight gain than the 50 lbs or more that are common today so in retrospect that advice wasn’t so bad.
However, check out this expert advice.
“…most physicians recommend that smoking should be eliminated in pregnancy or at least curtailed to TEN cigarettes or less a day.” P 84
I recently saw an episode of the old TV series “My Three Sons” where Katie had triplets. A majority of the dialogue took place in the waiting room where the fathers were all adorably nervous and SMOKING! That was the custom of the day. In fact, mothers and visitors were smoking in the rooms too, even with the babies present.
Then there was this diet advice.
“Tea and coffee may be drunk as usual providing the former is not found constipating and the latter is not sleep disturbing.
“Small amounts of ALCOHOL let us say a cocktail now and then or a glass of wine, are harmless, but may prove a nuisance in aggravating frequency of urination.”
When DH got his orders to Vietnam during my 5th month, I remember being advised to drink beer to calm me down.
Now returning to that teaching contract:
I was able to teach through my 6th month because of 3 important things.
1) The “tent” dresses of the era could hide quite a lot.
2) They didn’t have a math teacher to replace me with
3) As my principal said, “if I’m notified in writing, I have to enforce the contract, but it’s no business of mine how much weight a teacher gains.
He was either very progressive or a very pragmatic man.
And here I am at the end of the school year - one week into my 7th month. I didn’t need to hide under my tent dress anymore.