Culture of Death,  pregnancy

Room for Cream

This being my triple crown pregnancy, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of finally being able to relax a tad about this whole gestation business. This is not to say that I don’t still Google fatal conditions and occasionally lie in bed frantically poking at my abdomen, trying to make a sleeping baby prove her continued existence via kicked out Morse code, but I’m a little more chill about most of the ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots’ that accompany an American pregnancy.

Yesterday morning, for example, when I broke my own newfound resolve to stop drinking terrible coffee and ambled into Starbucks for a $2 cup of drippy Pike Place, my order was greeted with a raised eye by Mr. Barista.

“So you’re not worried about caffeine with the baby?”

As my other two babies were not dragged on this particular coffee run, I had no visual aids, but I communicated to him that 2 out of 2 pregnancies had turned out well enough, java jolts and all.

He chuckled a little and handed over my disappointing cup of joe, and I dumped non-organic half-n-half in to further insult the injury. My poor, defenseless in-utero babe was now swimming in caffeine and cow hormones.

Beginning this pregnancy in Italy and ending it in America (my 2 months more pregnant than I am now self is punching my current self in the face for even mentioning ‘the end’ at 28 weeks) has given me the privilege of seeing two very different perspectives on procreation, and both have their strengths and weaknesses. In Italy salad was dangerous business, as was carrying my then 14-month old. Wine, however, was fine. Encouraged, even, as a way to soothe mother’s anxious nerves at the day’s end and ensure that the wee bambina had a sophisticated palate upon arrival. (Love that line of reasoning.)

In America, wine is not only frowned upon (quite literally by strangers in restaurants, if you’re bold enough to drink in public) but websites and plenty of MDs go overboard preaching fetal alcohol syndrome to women rarely accustomed to imbibing more than a glass or two of Chardonnay in a given week. Ri-diculous.

Even exercise is controversial here: either you’re overdoing it ala last week’s Crossfit controversy (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about) or you’re condemning your helpless babe to type 2 diabetes in the womb with that second bowl of Cherry Garcia.

In other words, it’s hard to strike a balance.

I think  this time around I’ve just about got it down. I work out 3 or 4 times per week, nothing crazy, but sometimes I get ambitious and do 4 miles on the elliptical, which my back promptly informs me is a terrible mistake, usually around 2 am the next morning. Some evenings I’ll have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner. Last month on a date night at the Rio (Coloradans, you know what magic I speak here) I even had a (gasp!) mini margarita. I know, I know…worst mom ever.

Except here’s the thing: I’m not in some kind of ‘temporary’ state during pregnancy and nursing. In fact, over the nearly 4 years we’ve been married, I think I’ve had 5 collective weeks where I wasn’t one or the other. And 2 of them were our honeymoon. So the whole ‘no drinking/no coffee/no Tylenol/no heavy lifting/no soft cheeses’ business? Not gonna fly.

Call me crazy or uninformed or what you will, but women have been carrying, birthing, and feeding babies a lot longer than the AAP has been blasting missives of doom onto the WWW, so I’ve got a feeling there is more collective wisdom in childbearing and rearing than in the entirety of Add to the crazy the fact that most moms-to-be have been pumping their bodies full of doctor-proscribed synthetic hormones and chemicals for years and years and, well, I think you can see why I’m skeptical over the medical establishment’s recommendations for gynecological health. Or health in general.

I actually think it’s a symptom of the larger anti-life culture which sees pregnancy as some kind of disease (unless it’s planned, and then it’s a critical high-risk condition). In reality, pregnancy is a normal – albeit special – season in a healthy marriage. And unless you’re screwing with the process or are struggling with infertility, it’s a season that comes around again and again…and again. As seasons are wont to do.

So yes, I will drink that coffee. Might even make it an espresso, while you’re at it, since I have 2 nanny-less toddlers to keep up with all day long. I’ve got plenty of other primo opportunities for mommy guilt in my life, no need to seek it out in the bottom of a wine glass or a plate of melty Brie.

Cheers 😉


  • Anne Bazin

    This is my first, and so my opinion could easily be poo-pooed but now that my pregnancy has taken a turn for the riskier side of high risk, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the do’s and don’t’s are there to give people the illusion of control. Control seems to be a large part of the anti-life culture: when to have a baby, how many you’ll have, and the list goes on. There is nothing I did or didn’t do that put me here, and it’s the same with most of the causes of pre-term labor and other truly high risk situations; women who are far more in shape than I have ended up with gestational diabetes. All this could be a scary thought, unless you’ve already come to grips with the fact that we were never in control all along.

  • Mary Wilkerson

    I follow very very few ‘rules’ and I make sure to read zero pregnancy or parenting books. I figured women have been doing it well before the ‘experts’ were telling them how in books and recommendations. SO, I pretty much love this.
    that being said, my stupid husband (just kidding, I like him) doesn’t drink EVER, and I’ve been known to drink a wee bit too much…so he uses pregnancy as an excuse to keep me sober. Silly man. And, so, I don’t get to drink during pregnancy. 🙁

  • Unknown

    “…pumping their bodies full of doctor-proscribed synthetic hormones and chemicals for years and years and, well, I think you can see why I’m skeptical over the medical establishment’s recommendations for gynecological health.”
    Absolutely! Me too and not to mention that they don’t make a dime’s worth of sense about cultured foods. So, yes! Raw foods…especially dairy? I’ll be there next pregnancy. I’m tired of all the ridiculous stricture too. Don’t eat soft cheese but it’s ok to eat your weight in ice cream because the protein and fat are good for you. Did that and hello! Gained a whole lot of “pregnancy” weight. Also, gotta love the, “Eat frequently (until you’re sick of eating) and make sure that it’s an (abnormally) high amount of protein”…but if your baby is 9 lbs, that’s not why and if you can’t push baby out of your 6 lb-baby-sized pelvis…it’s your body’s fault?! It’s all poppycock. Eat to health and appetite. Drink to health and thirst (and last I checked, that includes wine). The end. NC

  • Erin

    Fascinating to read about the Italian’s approach to wine, I will now relax about that sip of my husband’s beer I steal each week, I was feeling dreadful about it. And yes I do think we as women have quite a collective knowledge about childbirth, really hit me this pregnancy, I had a new doctor, very sweet but very new, and he admitted (after he got over the shock of this being baby no 11) that “you probably know more than I do” and I have to be honest, I really felt I did.

  • Andrea

    Yes. Yes. Yes.
    Oh my goodness, gracious.
    I enjoy my coffee, Brie, Malbec, every pregnancy (5 so far) with no problems. Then get real crazy and give birth at home. Ha! Take that AAP!!!
    Also, I lived in Greeley for three years while my husband was with FOCUS, I so miss Rio

  • Anonymous

    You have hit the nail on the head! Society has severe control issues. Our moms and grandmoms had coffee and wine….and oh my gosh, we all survived!!!! I think society IS trying to freak all women out, so they are afraid to get pregnant and BE pregnant. I have had coffee and wine with all five of my pregnancies and have had no problems. So, ” there’s mud in your eye” to society!

  • Kendra Tierney

    You know how much I agree with you on all this. But when I wrote about it, the eye-opening thing for me, was that so does everyone else. I got pretty much no pushback at all (except for the roller coaster thing). This common-sense approach is what everyone is actually doing, it would seem, but we’ve all been shamed (mostly by fear of accusations from non-mothers) into living our regular lives on the down-low.

    I think we should sponsor a national “I’m Preganant and I’m Having a Glass of Wine in Public” day.

  • Kris

    Just like so many things “they” preach to you about raising children, too. Common sense, people! I have 5 and they all survived me drinking the occasional glass of wine, drinking coffee EVERY day (no way was I giving that up!) and *gasp!* eating lunch meat….! Carry on, little mama!

  • Megan Klump

    I love this! I’m 27 weeks along, and basically we have the same philosophy on this pregnancy thing. We mothers have to get through pregnancy too, and, believe me, sometimes that requires a glass of wine or some deliciously soft, creamy cheese. I think I’m going to have to have another glass of wine, toasting to my child’s developing palate! 😉

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