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.