On Saturday, I visited a local Starbucks with my mother. We waited in long line while my swollen feet spilled over the sides of my yellow ballet flats. It was a hot day, and I was ready for some relief. Finally, it was our turn to order.
“I’ll have a Venti Green Tea Frappucino, no whip, for Sarah, please.”
The barista behind the counter grabbed the cup, began writing my name, and paused.
“You do realize this has a lot of caffeine in it, right?” She eyed my stomach suspiciously.
Initially, I did not understand her implication. I said yes, and she finished writing my name and order on my cup. After the drinks were ready, my mother and I left the shop. As I stepped out the door, I realized what she had meant to say.
Now, before anyone starts thinking, “But SARAH! Caffeine is dangerous to your baby,” hear me out. I am allotted 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. A Venti Green Tea Frappucino is 95 milligrams of caffeine. Up to that point in the day, I had only been drinking water. After that point, I only drank water. That drink was well within the units of what my doctor had recommended as safe for me and baby. I had planned to have that drink. I made accommodations to ensure that I would not ingest more than the daily recommended amount of caffeine.
When you’re not pregnant, no one cares about the amount of caffeine you drink, or your sugar intake. You will never see a barista stopping a fat man from ordering a scone, or saying, “Do you KNOW how many calories are in that?”
The moment you begin showing, you become a public commodity. Suddenly, strangers feel it is their duty to inform you of their opinions on how to dress, how to exercise, how to eat, and how to drink. The running program your doctor recommends is “no good” to the helpful stranger, who fears you may overheat. Suddenly, lunch meat is the enemy and tuna is untouchable—even though your doctor recommends you eat 12 ounces of light tuna (or other fish) a week. Strangers at the grocery store feel entitled to touch your stomach, and older women at the gym ask you how much weight you’ve gained without batting an eye.
When you’re pregnant, you cease to be a human in your own right, and are often made to feel like nothing more than a human incubator. I am not advocating for pregnant women to excessively drink alcohol or eat raw meat; however, shouldn’t we trust women with their bodies? People do things we do not agree with every day. It is not until they become pregnant that we feel it is our duty to intervene “on the baby’s behalf”. However, the world is changing. Doctors are discovering that pregnant women can do more than ever before. Caffeine is not bad, and even some sushi is allowed every once in a while. If you see me in a bar, drinking a beer, assume it’s non-alcoholic; if I say I’m craving a tuna fish sandwich, offer to pick one up for me—and if you see me at Starbucks, let me order my green tea. It’s delicious.
Originally published on the author’s blog