a baby and its mom

Mack&Mack

Senior Member
Korea & Korean
Hello helpers,

is it okay to say a baby and its mom? Otherwise do I need to say a baby and his or her mom? The phrase continues to come up and I get the feeling that if I keep using "the baby and his or her mom" I would sound very boring.

What do you think? Thank you all in advance. =)
 
  • Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Personally, I dislike people referring to a baby as "it".
    However, some people do.

    Babies are living, human beings. Who'd call an adult it?

    Instead of "baby and his/her mom", you can turn it round to "a mom and her baby", or "mother and child". Could that solve your problem?
     

    Mack&Mack

    Senior Member
    Korea & Korean
    Thank you brioche and badgrammar. =)

    I agree with you. I am going to deliver a presentation on "Abortion should be illegal". It would not make sense if I refered to a baby as it in the context.

    Thank you again.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Thank you brioche and badgrammar. =)

    I agree with you. I am going to deliver a presentation on "Abortion should be illegal". It would not make sense if I refered to a baby as it in the context.

    Thank you again.
    Well, the conceptus has a beating heart 22 days after conception, So by the time the mother is considering termination, the embryo fits the criteria of human and alive.

    However, abortion is legal in the US and other Common Law countries, [in part], because legally, you are not a person until you are born alive. Only persons have legal rights.

    At law, an embryo or a fetus is not a person, so I suppose it can be argued that it is reasonable to say it.
     

    dobes

    Senior Member
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Well, in the US it's more like you are not alive or a legal person until it would be POSSIBLE for you to live on your own - at about 26 weeks after conception. I strongly object to fetuses being called babies. If you are going to insist on using that term, I would suggest that you make it more truthful by referring to a woman and her unborn child rather than mother and child, which is not yet the case.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Well, in the US it's more like you are not alive or a legal person until it would be POSSIBLE for you to live on your own - at about 26 weeks after conception.
    My oldest child is nearly 26 years after conception, but is still doesn't seem to be able to live on his own.
     

    Mack&Mack

    Senior Member
    Korea & Korean
    Thank you everyone for your answers. I really appreciate it. I also have my position on abortion but I'd rather not talk about it since it is so controversial. And I do respect all of your opinion.

    I will be more careful when I say something. It seems like the whole thing is more than a matter of how to put it.

    Thank you all again. =)
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi,

    I too have an opinion on abortion, that I'm not going to share.

    To summarize, if you do not support abortion being legal, you should never refer to the fetus or unborn child as it. Referring to the fetus as it would weaken your statement of your position.

    Conversely if you support abortion being legal, then it would be the pronoun of choice (pun intended).
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Hi,

    I too have an opinion on abortion, that I'm not going to share.

    To summarize, if you do not support abortion being legal, you should never refer to the fetus or unborn child as it. Referring to the fetus as it would weaken your statement of your position.

    Conversely if you support abortion being legal, then it would be the pronoun of choice (pun intended).
    That is pulling a rather long bow.

    Now a days, thanks to ultrasound, many mothers know the sex of their baby before birth. It wasn't like that in the very recent past. Expectant mothers, who desperately wanted a baby, still called the fetus 'it'. Of course, some avoided pronouns altogether, and always said "baby".

    My late mother was a midwife many years ago, and I still have some of her old text books. The foetus was regularly referred to as 'it'.
    Quote: In the earlier months of pregnancy, the foetus is so small it can move freely ...

    Pronoun use is a very poor guide to political views.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The Army is an "it". It is comprised of people, but it still an "it".

    The crowd is an "it". It is comprised of people, but it still an "it".


    When I am confronted with a difficult situation like this I tend to write around the problem.


    This is a case where I would be tempted to make the statement a plural and eliminate the problem.

    Babies and their moms make good photographs; these two more so than most.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    If I know the sex of an infant, I call it him/he/her/she. If I don't, I have no reservations about using 'it'.

    A embryo, for me, is an 'it'. If that impersonal usage weakens the political or social argument you are
    trying to support, obviously it makes better sense to chose other wording.



    Moderator note: Thanks to all for trying to stay with the linguistic aspects of the question. The original question should have included the background provided in post #4. Context and background are important to the way we attempt to address a question.
     

    Mack&Mack

    Senior Member
    Korea & Korean
    I am sorry that I didn't give you the full context and background. I will try harder to keep it in mind from now on. I was unaware that the expression in question could develop into a controversial issue in this site since I thought I was only asking about the common use of the term.

    Thank you all again for your answers and thank you cuchuflete for reminding me about the rule. =)
     
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