This past weekend I tweeted about a mishap at McDonald’s. It’s a very long story that doesn’t really merit time now, but basically there was one car in front of me and it took that woman twenty two minutes to order, pay and get her food. And I was behind her, starving. Frankly, the fact that I didn’t ram her car is a testament to my barely intact sanity. And also the fact that she had kids in the back that were not seat belted in. Don’t even get me started.
Anyways, I know that in sharing things on the internet I open myself up to criticism and advice from strangers, but I was actually surprised when I got an email later that day. The email basically said that in eating McDonald’s I was doing a grave disservice to my child. She said that not only am I what I eat, but my baby is now too. And that everything I ate was influencing my child and that I should know better than to eat stuff like that.
I was taken aback. A simple rant on twitter had suddenly landed me firmly in bad mother territory. I am apparently the bad mother of a 9 week old fetus. That has to be a new record.
Except, that I don’t think she’s right.
Obviously subsisting solely on fast food would be bad for both mother and child. In fact, subsisting solely on anything seems like a pretty bad idea. However, I hardly think I’m ruining my child because I had a hamburger and a small order of fries from a fast food establishment. In my defense I hadn’t even planned to pick up fast food that day, but I got stuck at something for longer than planned, was still 30 minutes from home and famished. And while that reads like an excuse, and maybe it is, it is not an apology. I ate Taco Bell two weeks ago and I’m not sorry for that either.
At this stage of pregnancy, it’s about survival. On any given day, the list of foods that sound completely inedible is usually 10 times longer than the list of foods I think I can stomach. It is really all I can do to eat anything at all, so if a hamburger and french fries sound edible then they will be eaten. And they will be enjoyed.
I will not feel badly for eating something that isn’t made solely of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. I will not be guilted by other people because I ate fast food while pregnant. I know this will horrify some of you, but chances are this baby will someday also taste fast food. I know. I’m pretty much sealing the bad mother deal, but the thing is that fast food, in moderation, isn’t the end of the world. And it’s certainly not worth berating a total stranger over.
I think this experience is really my first step to being a good mother. I’m learning balance. I’m learning that what is right for some women and their families is not necessarily what I believe to be right.
And notably I’m learning that I’m going to have to grow some thicker skin.