The Case for Cleansing

In less than three minutes, I had Marc’s buy-in for pre-prenatal care. He agreed his sperm were pretty important and if I had to give up happy hour for the next year or so, maybe he could give up his morning cup of coffee for a few fucking weeks.

Graphs helped.

You see, he wanted a healthy child just as much as I did. This was a good thing. Let’s face it, ladies, if after a healthy discussion, your man chooses a mocha latte over your family, is he really someone you want inside of you in the first place?

Lots of mothers say they gave up caffeine or alcohol or cursing at strangers *after* they found out they were pregnant, but not when they were actually trying to get pregnant.


Gynecologists and other medical professionals believe that giving up specific items is better for the baby. If abstaining from certain foods and drinks and medicine is better at nine or twelve weeks or whenever a pregnancy test is administered, why wouldn’t it be better from the very beginning? In the first few weeks, all those cells and neurons and atoms are forming.

Why not give those brain stems and organs and bloodstreams a chance to develop without a buzz?

Leaving nothing to chance, Marc and I even tested our Boston apartment for lead and had to replace our Venetian blinds. I’d read something about New Age motivational speakers being traced back to toxic fumes in the womb and didn’t want to chance it.

After a few weeks, we visited primary care physicians and were given the green light to procreate. Some people (read: my stepdad) remarked that this preparation wasn’t necessary.

“In my day, our parents didn’t do any of this and we all turned out okay,” he’d say.

“Compared to what?” I’d ask.

He really thinks the same generation that gave us Barry Gibb and bell bottoms couldn’t have benefited from sober sperm cells? What about my own personal history? Maybe if Bio Dad had laid off the sauce before knocking up my mother, I’d have had a better grasp on microeconomics in college.

After six months of cleansing, Marc and I were finally ready to have real sex.

His sperm was so happy to finally be set free, I got pregnant right away and five months later, we went to the doctor for our ultrasound and discovered there were two little pains-in-the-asses swimming around in there.


Jacob and Zachary fought their way out of my uterus and joined us seven weeks early. Jacob weighed a respectable 4 lbs. 13 ounces and Zachary registered 5 lbs. 2 oz.

There were complications: carpal tunnel syndrome, gestational diabetes, a horrendous body rash, preeclampsia, and a nose that spread across my cheeks and into my ears. Don’t even get me started on my tits and ass.

Marc suffered through seven months of looking at me.

And yet our children were born healthy and thank goodness they now have no known defects, disabilities, or a desire to watch Fox News.

Sometimes friends and family mention all the early roadblocks, gaze at our healthy and relatively smart boys, and say, “You’re so lucky.”

Perhaps. But our thorough vetting process, preparations, and choices provided our children with the best possible start. Our good health made it possible to get pregnant and produce not one, but two kids who, though born premature, are able to run, jump, keep up in class, and argue with me on a daily basis about how I really don’t know much in the first place.

Cleansing might not have helped.

But, at the very least, we know it didn’t hurt.