Food! We love ya, we hate ya. #1 in a series. #1 on a pregnant woman’s mind.
Anyone who has been pregnant will tell you that FOOD is one of the hottest topics of pregnancy – not baby clothes or infant child seat safety or breastmilk vs. formula. OUR FOOD.
Because from the first hints of motherhood to the very last days of giant bellydome, our diet and its shrinking menu becomes a huge focus, whether we like it or not. Therefore, there will be random photos of “yes” foods and “no” foods throughout this post. Enjoy.
(Anything from this cookbook = NO. Drat! That’s all I want!)
For those who have never been pregnant, this is potentially a foreign and ridiculous issue. I always thought women became pregnant, their bodies expanded magically and painlessly, and they delivered perfect bundles of joy by yelling a lot. In part this is true.
It’s practically magic how our bodies have been designed to accommodate a growing human being (I could feel my intestines digesting food to the left of my rib cage, since this was the only place they could find to do so at 37 weeks). And women often deliver perfect bundles of joy by yelling and screaming and pushing hard.
But until I had my own kids, I had NO CLUE what weird and wacky things a woman’s body and psyche went through in the 9 month process of pregnancy. Not a clue. Especially as it related to food.
(Or this cookbook? Not on your life. Unless I repent deeply and sincerely afterward. Hopefully not over the toilet.)
If you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about, here’s a menu plan for a pregnant lady. Everyone’s different, so we’ll just say this is mine.
1st Trimester – What I Can Eat
- almost a regular diet…except Ranch dressing, which I had strong aversion to with my first pregnancy, and I’ve never been able to eat since
- lots and lots of carbs, because I feel like I can’t POSSIBLY get full
- Frosted Flakes, if my husband is super nice and runs to the store to get some because I dreamed I was about to eat them, with Parmelot (I don’t know why), and didn’t get to and now I am craving this sugary treat like it’s my last meal
1st Trimester – What I Can’t Eat
- almost everything…a contradiction, I know… but some days you walk into the kitchen, and every single food smell is heightened x20 and a nauseous, reeling feeling takes over – hence the grabbing of the first thing that will fill me up (pizza, mac and cheese) and running for another room (yeah! I can still run!)
- caffeine, which I really wish I could drink, tons of sweets, which I really wish I could consume, and cookie dough, because it’s full of raw egg which could harm the baby
- cheddar cheese, which I could eat yesterday (hence why I bought a big, expensive log of it at the market) but today is making me sick to even smell…and tomorrow may be fine
(Unfortunately, this dish from a vegetarian cookbook would pass for a yummy and nutritional pregnant lady meal. Too bad it looks like something a toddler vomited onto a highchair.)
2nd Trimester – What I Can Eat
- anything midwife-prescribed: proteins, veggies, fruit, meat, cheese, nuts, seeds, etc
2nd Trimester – What I Can’t Eat
- caffeine, tons of sweets (because honestly, that’s ALL I want, including a steady diet of chocolate and fruit only), cookie dough, caffeine, caffeinated coffee, caffeine…
- anything with a cream sauce base, anything with sugary goodness, anything anyone puts out on the table at holiday time, any “rich” foods, anything “fried” or “battered” or “crispy” or pizza, or Ring Dings, or French Fries, or fish-and-chips, or cookies or chips… because any of the things I mentioned will send me to the bathroom within the hour to explode like a land mine before crashing in bed as a coma patient (just bein’ real, people)
(Same with this option. Someone somewhere thinks this is delicious. I think my intestines ought to be spared every single ingredient.)
3rd Trimester – What I Can Eat
- anything midwife-prescribed: high proteins, low carbs…whole milk, cheese, yogurt, red meat, chicken, nuts, seeds, some fruits, lots of veggies, very very very whole grain bread, and maybe a few things from the 2nd trimester that my poor stomach couldn’t tolerate “way back then”
- weird-sounding things that help my body get ready for labor and delivery: evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea… I feel like I should be chanting or something
- daily doses of Zantac and Tums, which have become more like candy to me and are about as effective against the raging lava flow of acid as swallowing a toy car
(Chips? Are you KIDDING me?! No way! We will not discuss, therefore, how the bag got ripped all the way down the side.)
3rd Trimester – What I Can’t Eat
- a normal portion of anything – my stomach is now the size of a snail, smooshed up high in my ribcage. I’m full after eating an appetizer-sized salad, but ravenously hungry 1/2 t0 1 hour later, when all normal people are not thinking about food anymore
- the chocolate cake I saw in Food Magazine… because I don’t want to try to push out a 10lb baby.
(OoooooOOOooohhh that’s bad. Naughty naughty. I, of course, was NEVER to be found with my head stuck in the fridge, spoon in hand, unscrewing the top of this very BAD jar. Of course not.)
So there you have it. Pregnant cooking ends up being fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, making whatever seems healthy for you and the baby, trying to tolerate the smells of whatever it is that will satisfy both your totally weird and “magical” body and the blessedly normal cravings of your still-sane husband.
(Perhaps I could settle for these. If it weren’t for the food dyes, I wouldn’t feel so bad. Blasted Red #40…)
And this is just FOOD. We’re not even discussing CLOTHING. Or SLEEP. Or SELF ESTEEM!!!!
In the end, what we pregnant ladies wish we could eat doesn’t matter. There’s an end – a finish line, which, when crossed, leads to the greatest prize of all: watching your husband hold your newborn baby. Knowing you were allowed to sacrifice your own comfort in order to give him the gift of a son or daughter. Holding that child in your arms and knowing they are all yours, borrowed from God, coming home with you to live and grow and learn – YOURS to kiss and smooch and squeeze and repeat.
Family requires sacrifice and none is too great – especially any food. There’s always postpartum, when you can really ask for anything, and someone will go get it for you. Take advantage of that, ladies, if food matters to you at all once you’re holding your very own baby.