This isn't an article to tell you how to have a healthy, meat-free diet during pregnancy. There are already many resources on the internet to help anyone interested in eating vegetarian how to be healthy. Many of us already know the best sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients we need to be healthy. If you feel unsure, or something comes up that requires changes in your diet, such as gestational diabetes, you could also consult with a nutritionist or dietician. The purpose of this article is to help vegetarian/vegan women survive being around other people during pregnancy.
Parents are judged. Often. By lots of different people. After all, someone who has never met you before clearly knows what your child needs better than you do, right? This judgment begins the second anyone finds out you are even expecting to become a parents. I bring this up because one of the many annoyances of pregnancy and parenthood is being judged by random people you see throughout the day. This could be family, coworkers, acquaintances, and even strangers.
The scenario normally unfolds something like this:
You are eating your lunch of homemade hummus, veggies, and whole-grain crackers at work. Your coworkers come in, fast food hamburgers and fries in hand, and begin to chide you for denying your unborn child precious nutrients found in meat. If you're like me, you quietly thank said coworker for their concern, and politely inform them that your doctor/midwife is happy with the pregnancy. If you're like how I wish I could be, you would thank them for their concern, and impolitely inform them that they could mind their own business while clogging their arteries.
The strategy for dealing with the well-meaning but annoying know-it-alls varies from person-to-person. During my pregnancy, when someone would tell me what I have to eat, I would just nod politely and thank them for the input. I never felt the need to defend my choice. I knew I was being healthy. Plus, it's easier to just move on, and pregnancy is too exhausting for heated debates!
Another option would be to say that meat makes you nauseous. For many pregnant women, this is actually true. I've found, too, that nothing shuts someone up like the threat that you'll puke on them. This threat is really only effective when you're pregnant (or sick), so take advantage of it.
The final option would be a direct or confrontational approach. A response I enjoy goes something like this:
"Wow! You can tell everything about me and my family from this one short encounter? What a gift! Don't waste it here! People need you! Go! Go! Help those in need!"
The unfortunate result of this scenario is that you come across as the jerk. On the bright side, this person may think twice before doling out unwanted advice in the future.
Most medical professionals agree that you can have a healthy, meat-free pregnancy. If your medical professional doesn't agree with this, you should probably start interviewing other medical professionals. Unfortunately, we don't always have the option of finding intelligent people to surround us in real-life. We have to learn how to deal with idiots without letting them ruin our day.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.