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Why You Should Never Comment on a Pregnant Woman’s Diet

Why You Should Never Comment on a Pregnant Woman’s Diet

This local mom of six kids riffs on pregnancy cravings and nine months’ worth of unfiltered comments from friends and strangers alike.

Why does the sight of a pregnant woman seem to give people the urge to say things they never normally would? Before I was pregnant, if I put on a couple of pounds over the holidays, for instance, nobody would exclaim, “Wow, are you packing on the pounds!” But now, I’m on the receiving end of ‘jokes’ such as, “Looks like you are going heavy on the ice cream. Maybe try more pickles!” about once a week. 

I’ve honed a collection of effective responses to the parade of comedians. They range from “Thanks! Comments like that make my day,” and “You’re right! I do look much further along than I am. I’d better call the doctor to make sure he didn’t make a mistake,” to “I’m short, so I look bigger than I am.”

My first-choice reaction, though, if I can muster it, is to cry.

And sometimes, I’m not faking.

In the beginning of a pregnancy, I only feel good maybe 20 percent of the time. The other 80 percent I am battling nausea (Did someone just eat peanut butter? What were you thinking? Brush your teeth. Quick!) and dizziness. So during those two days out of 10, I make up for all the morning sickness. (Have you got any more peanut butter? What about raspberry jam?)

During the second trimester, I am famished pretty much all of the time. Feelings of nostalgia well up within me, resulting in pots of Bubby Goldberg’s matzo ball soup and 9-by-13-inch pans of my mother’s cheesy lasagna. I’m helpless against the siren call of starchy, gooey comfort food.

I also found that the only way I can take my prenatal vitamin is to promise myself a treat afterward. When I was pregnant for the first time these horse pills made me gag. Years later, there have been many great breakthroughs in the medical field, but reducing the prenatal vitamin to a manageable size has been neglected; frankly, it seems bigger than ever. I start to gag as I unscrew the lid. The only way to get it down is to distract myself by reading the label of my tangerine melon hand soap and by thinking of chocolate—pudding or cupcake, depending on the day of the week. 

But it’s not as if I’m not trying! I take an exercise class twice a week, modifying the moves so that my workouts are safe. And though I do indulge my sweet tooth once in a while (the Tuesday puddings are low-fat!), I maintain a healthy diet. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I schlepped my husband to every doctor’s visit. After each appointment, we stopped at the local ice cream shop for a milkshake. This time around, I haven’t had a single milkshake. Good for me. See, I do have self-control. (Those crumbs? Oh, a black and white cookie…a pretty small one, actually. And I heard that black and white cookies are full of folic acid. Really…)

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