"Reserved for Expectant Mothers"

I noticed this sign in a local parking lot the other day, and began wondering if it was a one-of-a-kind jobber.

As it turns out, these signs are quite common. Images of some others, found quickly online, include:

I guess I wasn't the first person surprised enough by this signage to take a picture. The popularity of the whole stork thing in the images kind of surprises me, particularly where only a stork icon is used. For some reason, one of the expectant mothers is already pushing around a baby carriage; maybe she was an expectant mother before.

For debate on "stork parking" (man, when are they gonna have dork parking?), see this stuff


UPDATE: Okay, having thought for a few more hours (in the back of my mind) about this whole "stork parking" thing, I guess what's strange about it is that it seems to equate being prego w/ being disabled, given the way disabled parking spaces work. I know that in some instances it actually is the case that being prego can create a disability, but in other cases, it certainly is not the deal. So that equation is kind of strange.

But the other thing is that I guess I'm a little surprised by the degree to which the stork has been taken up. And not just because it's a bird thing. I much prefer the signs w/ the image of the prego woman, as at least that imagery doesn't sanitize the sitch.

That's all I've got. Not much. I should really just get back to my writing.


  1. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Links b/w pregnancy and disability have a long history. . .

    It's a tough call as to whether this link is a good one: on the one hand, leave--leave that's needed and sometimes absolutely necessary. On the other, here we go again with the female body being inherently disabled whenever it does what it was designed for (I know, I know, that sounds way too culturally feminist, but you get my point, I hope)


    link at


  2. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Um, if you're 8 or 9 months pregnant, your body temperature is higher than everyone else's, you cannot breathe (literally, your lungs are being squished), your bladder has no room in it, and your ankles are swollen and stiff, plus you weigh about 30-50 extra pounds.

    Nowhere on those signs does it say "disabled." The signs are merely designating parking spots for pregnant women who, frankly, cannot always walk that far. How is that different than having signs saying "Cafe Parking Only-Others Will Be Towed" or "Spot Reserved for Sears CEO"? Have you been to the Ikea in Bolingbrook? They have "Family Parking" spots close to the entrance for people with children. Trust me, it's quite a perk.

    Maybe you're just putting "disability" on the sign when it's not necessarily there, is all.

  3. Yeah, I guess I was just thinking that I've only ever seen one other kind of "special parking" spot, making these stork parking signs kind of similar or related.

    I totally see your points about various types of groups benefiting (in a retail kind of way) from close-in parking.

    At this point, I'm mainly just interested in the whole storkification of the iconography. The storks are so cute ... and, as a family of species, so seldom seen in North America. In fact, I'm guessing that stork parking signs probably outnumber Wood Storks (our only species of stork) about a bazillion to one.

  4. I'm all for making life easier for pregnant women. I've never been pregnant, but from what I've seen, some pregnancies are easier than others, and if a woman needs the convenience of parking close to a building, then I am happy to park elsewhere and walk the few more steps it takes to get to the store.

    Anonymous, your institution's disability leave definition sounds flamingly, glaringly sexist. You don't sound "way too . . .feminist" to me--Pregnancy is not a disability. Not. But you know that.

    I'm interested in the icon because I wonder where it came from--is it a Northern European icon that leaves the rest of the country scratching its head? Why not have a line drawing of a pregnant woman in profile? Using the stork simply reinforces a cutesification of(and discomfort with )women's bodies.

  5. Ha! That's brilliant. (Are short messages which contribute nothing meaningful to the discussion taking place annoying? If so, I am so sorry.)