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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Rant of a Preggo

Yesterday, as I was on my way to work, I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to pick up an iced latte. As I'm paying, the cashier asks me, iced latte in hand, "Are you pregnant?"

"Yes," I told her.

"Then you should really be drinking decaf because this has caffeine in it and pregnant women shouldn't have caffeine, you know."

"Caffeine is fine in moderation for a pregnant woman, and I think I can monitor my consumption of it, thank you."

She seemed hesitant to hand me my drink, as if it were morally compromising to give me that cup-of-heroin, but hand it over she did, and I have to confess: I was fuming over her concern for me. Logically, I know that her suggestion came from a place with good intentions, but next to people patting you on the belly, this is one of those things that is so irksome when pregnant: Strangers giving you unsolicited advice or admonishment.

To her credit, she is partially correct: Pregnant woman should not consume large quantities of caffeine, but most doctors and most preggo-literature all says it's fine if you consume caffeine in moderation (most say no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day -- about 3 servings of coffee). What bothers me is not her partial-correctness; it bothers me that a stranger would presume to tell me what I should or shouldn't consume, which they would never do if I were not pregnant.

I had this happen a few times when I was pregnant with Norah: Once, an old man approached me in Target and told me I shouldn't be drinking coffee (I was holding a Starbucks cup), and once, a student of mine saw me eating a snack-size bag of Doritos between classes and she told me she didn't think I should eat junk food while pregnant.

Instances such as these can't be helped when pregnant, and like I said, people tell you these things because they think they're being helpful, but really, it's just annoying and it assumes that I'm ignorant of the content of what I'm consuming.

It's not as though I'm sidling up to the bar and ordering a Jaeger-bomb with a side-car of meth.

My diet is not perfect, but I aim to eat a varied, balance diet and I consume plenty of water. I limit my caffeine, and I avoid everything else on the very lengthy list of "don'ts," but even if I weren't thoughtful of these dietary guidelines, it doesn't give the Dunkin' Donuts cashier the right to be an arbiter of such matters. So, I did my best to answer her politely, albeit a bit sarcastically, and ignore the taste of shame she mixed in with my coffee.

33 comments:

Kimberly said...

I've found that everyone seems to feel entitled to boss me around now that I'm pregnant. It makes me wonder if they realize that I am still an adult. And if someone tried to take away the small amount of caffeine each day, I'd be a very unpleasant pregnant lady.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

My ex-mother in law once asked a woman if "she was pregnant". The lady said "No, just fat" and walked away. Kinda awkward.

Jamoosh said...

I wonder when people stopped minding their own damn business.

lee said...

I would be pissed too. It's not anyone's place, besides your doctor, to tell you what you can and can't do during your pregnancy.

Marlene said...

This reminds me of Arizona and Mark restricting Callie's caffeine on Grey's - do not stand between a preggo and her moderate dose of caffeine! Seriously!

Lisa said...

I don't recall getting much in the way of eating advice when I was pregnant, but the patting on the belly made me CRAZY. What makes people thing that it is OKAY to touch a stranger like that?!?!

Beginner Tri Baby said...

Not right and you handled it well. I'm 12 weeks pregnant right now and I can't wait until this happens to me!

runner26 said...

I could not agree more! I haven't experiences a lot of this (still somewhat unobvious to the stranger) but people have on occasion asked if I can eat this or that while pregnant. I find it just as annoying! I hate that they assume I wouldn't know what I'm supposed to and not supposed to be eating. At least it's temporary.

d.a.r. said...

So, if you were at the liquor store or doing shots at a bar...MAYBE I could understand someone being concerned. But, really? It's no one's dang business!

BTW- I just finished a book last night that I think you might really like. It's Dara Torres's bio (not sure if you know the name, she won Olympic gold in swimming at 41 two years after having a baby)--Age Is Just a Number--I loved it because it really touched on being fit and active while pregnant. And specifically, that doctors and scientists really have no idea how much is "too much" as far as activity while pregnant. You just have to listen to your body. This girl (well, woman) swam and lifted weights up until the hours before she went to the hospital. And set an American record something like three weeks after she gave birth. Unreal. Anyways, it made me think of you. I know swimming isn't your thing, but I'd imagine the same thing applies to running.

Nikki @ Balance and Moderation said...

That used to irritate me to no end when I was pregnant. Complete strangers amongst others, giving unsolicited advice. Hang in there.

MrsJCH said...

You will get a kick out of the last 2 posts on this blog!
http://www.poopwhisperer.com/
totally what you were just talking about!

X-Country2 said...

For serious. I had a turkey sandwich every single day throughout my pregnancy. Every day a co-worker saw me pull it out of the fridge, and I knew it was killlllling her not to say anything. She knew better. I just had that "don't you dare" look!

Tiffany said...

Did you fail the student? I would have!

Lin said...

I really empathize with you. Unsolicited advice was the most frustrating thing people did while I was pregnant. Also, did you receive continued 'advice' on taking care of Norah, once she was born? That has been my experience. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy!

Debbie Reid said...

I so enjoy reading your blog and am loving it more because I just found out I am pregnant!
I have continued to run and hopefully will be able to continue. This is my second baby and my Nora is 2 1/2!!!
I am totally not showing or anything but can totally relate to your story today!

diana said...

Oh, that would make me so mad! Maybe I'm just more timid when it comes to talking to strangers, but I would NEVER say something about what anyone else should or shouldn't be doing. The only exceptions to this would be if someone was clearly abusing or endangering a child or animal, as they can't speak for themselves. I have pulled over to yell at a teen boy for kicking a dog he was walking on a leash as I was driving past.

Making a statement like that assumes that you are either so ingnorant a stranger needs to tell you what to do, or that you just don't care about the well being of your child. I've been pretty lucky during my pregnancy, as there haven't been too many stray hands or rude/inappropriate comments.

Nobel4Lit said...

I think people are just trying to be useful (though sometimes wrong). Her job is to please the customer, and nothing else! =) I'm sure this type of well-intentioned advice is going to drive me batty if my time comes, as I even get irked by comments such as, "You know, you really shouldn't be running so much..."

Krissy said...

Oh that would fire me up to! I too have my coffee everyday, I do not go overboard but I find it something that I truley enjoy and do not want to give up, plus it isn't poisonin my baby!

I find it so annoying when I go into our favorite sushi place to pick up takeout and I get looks there! I get the cooked rolls but of course everyone thinks I am eating raw fish!

Fair Weather Runner said...

wowza, people are awesome. enjoy those lattes mama. i know i sure will when my time comes, seriously... the stuff is vital! so, good for you.

ajh said...

I would have been annoyed enough to order a second cup!

Viper said...

Thankfully, with the student, you can make those comments reflect in her grade. I'd have punched someone trying tell me what to do.

But seriously, don't you know you shouldn't drink Jaeger bombs when you pregnant? Whiskey is more soothing. Cheers!

savvyfitchica said...

You are so much more patient & understanding than me. I'm so impressed you were able to just shrug it off like that. Good for you.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Oh this reminds me of my helpful McDonalds lady who educated me on the risk of memory loss due to using Splenda in my coffee. (I was not preggo at the time.)

I do agree with the feelings you expressed because I felt them too when this happened to me however I remind myself that I want others to get involved when someone is being hurt and can not/needs help defending themselves. It's probably those same kind of people who get involved when we wish they wouldn't who might step up if someone really needed help.

But I don't like the people who offer advice or judgment that I didn't ask for like the looks I got at the store yesterday when I was buying very unhealthly snacks; peanut butter eggs, muffins and mini dougnuts. They weren't all for just me and won't be eaten in one day! But I felt guilty that there wasn't an apple to be found in my groceries that day.

N.D. said...

oh I would be soo angry!!!

Carlee said...

I see someone else made the Grey's connection. Your post immediately made me think of that!

SJ Goody said...

ARGH! Things like that drive me as crazy as when strangers offer unsolicited parenting comments. I mean, of course I realize it is dangerous to have my toddler not belted in the grocery cart... but sometimes the risk is better than the meltdown she has when I try to strap her in. People like to feel like they are offering valuable insight... I just try not to bite their heads off.

Her Name Is Rio said...

Does the cashier has an RD or MD after her name? Does the cashier respond to the name of Jess? If not, said cashier needs to zip it before she experiences the wrath of someone in need of their latte!

Anonymous said...

In a brewpub, 16 weeks pregnant with my second:
Me (to waitress): I want a 3 ounce taster of your pale ale.
Her: Sorry, we don't pour tasters.
Me: I'm pregnant, and I want beer!
Her: Oh! Well, in that case... (she returned 2 minutes later with my delicious tasty beer -- didn't charge me, either!)

Nikki said...

That kind of stuff drives me CRAZY! Most of that food stuff is just a recommendation anyways and I personally believe moderation is the way to go. I hate how pregnancy has become 9mos of insulating yourself in a bubble from everything. Enjoy that caffeine (in moderation), you've earned it!

savvyfitchica said...

FYI- it's company policy that if they find out someone is looking for another job or planning to leave, they will ask them leave right then. I'm using my vacation time for my trip so I have to wait to tell anyone. It's stupid. :)

mouse said...

I'm wondering if that same employee refuses to sell donuts to someone who is obese, for fear that it may affect their health or be contributing to diabetes. For some reason, I seriously doubt it.

I seriously would have complained to the manager.

Taiwan-Teacher said...

What you do there is say, "Pregnant?
You think I'm pregnant? How dare you!"

Pregnancy Miracle said...

To her credit, she is partially correct such that Pregnant woman should not consume large quantities of caffeine, but most doctors and most Prego-literature all says it's fine if you consume caffeine in moderation