This is a guest post from Robin Merrill.
Is a vegan pregnancy safe? Yes! If you eat a balanced and healthy diet, and get your doctor’s permission, then of course it’s a healthy option!
Still, if I had a dollar for every well-meaning soul who accused me of “starving my baby,” I would have like twenty dollars. I felt like screaming! Of course I wanted to have a healthy pregnancy, doesn’t every mother? Of course I was an intelligent person who had done her research! Why did these people just assume that I was an idiot intent on harming my baby?
It was so incredibly frustrating trying to defend myself for nine months. But I did it, and so can you.
And if I had to do it over, I would do it smarter, and get less frustrated over it. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I asked my midwife if my vegan diet was safe, and I got a ringing endorsement. She, of course, reminded me to get lots of protein. I assured her that I loved beans, that I ate a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and that I was taking a DHA supplement made from seaweed. And she gave me the green light. She also gave me a prescription for prenatal vitamins, to ensure I would get enough iron and B-12. I took these faithfully.
Now, when I faced those naysayers, I just wish that I had put up a hand and said, “Talk to my doc,” or maybe I should have printed up some business cards for her that I could hand out to my critics.
A friend of mine advised me to just give people ridiculous answers. So that when some little elderly lady in church asked me, “But your baby needs red meat!” then I should say, “Did you just call me a deadbeat?” and then walk away. I think that this would work brilliantly … but I was never quite quick enough on my feet.
It’s just difficult, if not possible, to defend yourself against arguments based on tradition alone. My critics had not done any research, knew virtually nothing about nutrition, and still felt obligated to force feed me steak. It was a bizarre nine months. I just kept asking people to trust me, to trust my midwife, to trust the earth. Did they? Probably not! But the more pregnant I became, the more my back hurt, and the less I cared about what anyone said!
I finally began to wonder, were these people really worried about my baby or were they feeling criticized because by choosing veganism, I was inadvertently suggesting that their pregnancy diet had been unhealthy?
I did however, get the final word, when my beautiful, thriving, healthy ten-pound baby boy came into this world. I told everyone I was going to name him Kale. I did not, but I enjoyed seeing the horror in their eyes.
So, if you are pregnant, congratulations. You will prevail. If you are a vegan, congratulations, and thank you, from the planet to you. And if you are pregnant and vegan, then you are awesome, and your baby will thank you later!