10/01/2010 03:46 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Where Did the Female Solidarity Go?

My friend Francesca is in the last month of her pregnancy. In fact, she could well be in a Roman delivery room as you read this post.

She sent me this anecdote yesterday, after having complained to me in a previous email about the lack of support she's been getting from other women/mothers. ("Instead of encouraging me as I embark on this marvelous adventure, all they do is tell me terrifying stories about painful deliveries."):

I was at the supermarket alone -- my husband works and I needed to pick up some things for lunch.

The express checkout was closed, but the cashier told me I could jump to the front of any queue.

Well, guess what. The men all let me through and even held my basket while I laid my grocers out by the cash register, while a woman of our age (this is so sad) screamed in Roman dialect:

"Now why don't we all just do that! Let's send pregnant women grocery shopping so none of us ever need to line up!"

Wait a second. Where did female solidarity end up? Where's it gone? Francesca is dejected and who can blame her.

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