Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Addictions

Before William's birth, I had two addictions. Can you guess? I'm willing to bet you share in at least one of my vices. . .

Chocolate and coffee. Separate or together (few things in life beat a mocha), I keep returning to my two dark masters.

Of all the things one can be addicted to, I believe these two are among the more innocuous. During pregnancy, however, many women at some point question whether some of their rather harmless habits may be negatively affecting their baby. I know I did.

The safety of drinking coffee during pregnancy has been somewhat up for debate. Until recently, I think it was widely believed that consumption of caffeine during could be harmful to the developing fetus and many women chose to forgo it. These days, most pregnancy literature, as well as most American doctors, agree that a cup of coffee or a few cans of Coke are fine (it's generally recommended to keep caffeine consumption below 200 mg/day during pregnancy).

In China, of course, beliefs are different. My daily espresso caused many comments and looks of disapproval, mostly from my husband. Once I started showing, I was too embarrassed to order my own cup of joe at McDonald's. . . . I had friends do it for me. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I decided to give up coffee altogether. I wanted to be more or less caffeine free for at least a few weeks after the baby was born. For one, I didn't want to deal with withdrawal symptoms after giving birth, and secondly, breastfeed newborns can be sensitive to caffeine (although most things I read said it is still okay if kept under 300 mg/day as long as the baby shows no signs of ill effect).

While I did my one month confinement, I was a good girl. I didn't drink coffee. I didn't eat chocolate. But in the past couple weeks I've started reintroducing them into my diet. I allow myself one (decaf!!) espresso a day and 25 g (less than an ounce) of chocolate. These are my indulgences, but they have become the biggest point of contention between Ming and I since William's birth. I knew we'd have differences in opinion on how to raise our son, as we certainly have plenty on how to raise Ping, but I never suspected my diet would be under such intense scrutiny.

Of course, this was an issue I mentioned during one month confinement. Fine, I was expected to eat a rather strict diet while recovering from giving birth and breastfeeding a newborn. But as William grows, I figured some of the rules would be lifted. Am I really expected to drink hot water until he is fully weened? (Did I mention it was over 90 degrees F last week?). Must I continue to heat up all fruit in the microwave? And horror of all horrors, no chocolate or (decaf!!) coffee for a year?

Nearly every time the baby has trouble falling to sleep, I face cross examination. I always buckle under the pressure.

“Did you have coffee today?” Ming demands.

“Um, yeeessss. It was decaf,” I reply hostilely.

“What about chocolate? You had chocolate, didn't you?!” he accuses, knowing full-well the answer.

“Yes, a little. I have chocolate everyday! I had it yesterday and the baby slept fine!” I declare defensively.

I am then given a lecture on how selfish I am. After which I threaten to give up breastfeeding if such accusations don't stop. Well, they haven't stopped and I haven't given up breastfeeding.

I suppose the mature thing to do would be to just give up chocolate and coffee. But the thought of giving it up for a year when I truly believe it is harmless seems ridiculous. Right now the best thing to do seems to indulge in secret, which means having a secret stash of chocolate and be sure to discard of any wrappers away from the scene of the crime. Coffee is more tricky. I may reserve that treat for times when I am left home alone (not too often) and can turn on my espresso maker without notice.


marghini said...

Oh man, I am with you on this. I would never tolerate anyone controlling my diet to such an extent. I would literally freak out and start drinking loads of coffee and eating tons of chocolate just to show my husband he can't control me. But then again, I am a bit of a rebel and I guess that would not be the mature thing to do :)

rosieinbj said...

It was incredibly frustrating. My husband and his mom weren't like this at all while I was pregnant, so it was strange that they got so weird about everything postpartum. I did have coffee and chocolate secretly for a long time, but it's really not in my nature to hide stuff. I just didn't want to cause more drama!