Saturday, September 26, 2009

Expectant Eating

The reason for the long pause between posts is that I'm .... pregnant! As I'm learning, pregnancy has a way of completely changing your relationship to food. First there's morning sickness accompanied by alternating bouts of nausea and starvation. Then you soon find out that the foods that you previously loved now cause you to wince. (While I stopped drinking coffee a few months before pregnancy, I have always loved the smell of a freshly brewed cup. Now, that same smell can repel me from 15 feet away.) My love for chocolate, sweets, and quinoa have been denounced. I find that I will love a brand of crackers one week and deplore it the next. While I know that this fickleness is rooted in hormone fluctuations, I can't help but think it's my babies' (yes, there are two in there) way of telling me who is now boss.

As if navigating your own appetite wasn't enough, there's all of the unsolicited advice you get from others, especially the media. You are told to gain weight, how many grams of protein, fat, carbs to consume. There are "good" foods: milk, fruit, vegetables. And "bad:" lunch meat, sprouts, sushi. And, of course, what and how much of anything you should eat is a moving target. Not that any of this is new. We live in a culture that thinks there can only be one answer to the question "what should I eat?"; where our appetites are controlled by our minds not our senses. What makes this feel much more ominous during pregnancy is that moms-to-be are already feeling vulnerable since they are wanting to do the best for their babies. So listen up well meaning friends, family and pregnancy book authors: women have have managed to nurture generations of babies on every imaginable diet you can think of and somehow the race has continued. There are enough stressors in pregnancy. How about if eating wasn't one of them?