For the past few months, I’ve heard the words “don’t” and “shouldn’t” so many times that they actually give me nightmares. Doctors, midwives, acupuncturists, and friends have told me that I shouldn’t do a bunch of things. “Don’t walk so much. Don’t bent over, you’ll hurt the baby. Don’t wear that. Don’t eat pineapple, it causes contractions. Wait, don’t drink that, are you sure it’s pasteurised? Are you sure you can have coffee? Shouldn’t you stop drinking green tea? I heard it’s bad for the baby…” and the list goes on and on.
If I add the list of things pregnant women can’t eat then… well… that’s it. I’m a child who can’t even have ice-cream because it may contain raw eggs (risk of salmonella) or unpasteurised milk (risk of listeria). One of the many obstetricians I have seen throughout this pregnancy told me that I also should be weary of things such as pizza because raw dough smothered with tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese and toppings is a bacterial broth. Same thing goes for sandwiches that aren’t freshly made and savory pies.
And that listeria thing. I had heard about the bacteria before, but I had no idea that it could be such a pesky little thing. Thriving in almost any condition (it almost seems to be the tardigrade of food-borne bacteria) this thing can actually kill me and the bub. That mere thought has been enough to have vanished from my diet milk, yoghurt, cream, ice-cream, milk chocolate and a bunch of other things. I won’t eat cheese unless it says in the package that it’s made with pasteurised milk, and then I will melt it or cook until it’s bubbly and the thermometer reaches 70 degrees.
I’ve also become obsessed with cleaning the kitchen, making sure there’s no cross-contamination between raw food, fruit, and vegetables… And some days, I even think twice before eating a slice of bread. Some brands contain milk, but the package doesn’t state clearly that the milk has been pasteurised. Those who knew my former self know that I love food and that I’ll try almost anything.
But today, I can’t even stomach the idea of setting foot in a restaurant — what if they didn’t wash the vegetables or they used butter made of raw milk!? In the mean time, soups, meat that looks and tastes like charcoal, perfectly cooked salmon, grilled vegies, rice milk, overcooked poultry, canned sardines, and cereal fortified with calcium are my best friends.
So please, stop telling me what to do.