Non-pregnant people talk about pregnancy cravings very differently than those of us who have been in the gestational trenches. They think it's all fun and games, eating whatever you want without a care in the world. OK, sure, there are good times, but there's so much people don't tell you. Like you don't always crave your favorite foods, or even foods you like, and sometimes you crave foods you're not allowed to eat. Then, of course, there are the bad decisions I made in the throes of pregnancy cravings. Sure, there were moments when I knew they were bad decisions, but sometimes I didn't realize my choices weren't the best until it was too late.
My first bad pregnancy craving decision actually came before I knew I was having pregnancy cravings. About a week before I peed on that magical little stick that told me there was a bun in my oven, I did something I had literally never done in 28 years: I bought a six-pack of beer. I hated beer, but for some crazy, completely inexplicable reason I was just dying for a brewski. My partner was similarly shocked when he came home from work and saw me on the couch tipping back a cold one.
"Are you drinking beer?" he asked.
"So weird, right?!" I laughed. It wasn't until a week later that I connected my sudden love of wheat-y Belgian beers with the fact that I hadn't had a period in 6 weeks. Guess the beer indulgences would have to go on hold for a bit (or at least be indulged in extreme moderation).
So yeah, my bad craving choices started early, and they continued throughout the duration of my pregnancy.
My "These Two Things Go Together" Choice
Pickles and ice cream. Cool Ranch Doritos and orange juice. Peanut butter and carrots. Pickled herring and ginger snaps. Those definitely sound delicious and not at all disgusting. It's definitely all going to be as scrumptious as it sounds in your head.
Seriously, pregnancy cravings often look like the kind of food combinations fraternity pledges are told to eat during a hazing. We don't know what the deal is with these weird cravings. Maybe it's the hormones. Maybe it's just the insatiable hunger. Maybe it's indicative of some sort of deficiency. One thing is for certain, though: 9 times out of 10, you regret this decision within hours (or moments) after making it, at least in my humble experience. You sit there wallowing in your poor life choices and regret, usually with an upset tummy or taste you can't get out of your mouth wondering, "What the f*ck was I thinking?"
My "11:30 P.M. Is A Great Time For A Cheeseburger" Choice
Yeah, I haven't eaten beef in five years, in part because every time I do I feel really sick, but I'm sure being pregnant will fix that. Besides what could be better or smarter than eating a massive amount of cow and then lying down? That won't cause heartburn or indigestion. This is fine. Everything is going to be awesome.
My "There's No Rule That Says Salt Packets Aren't A Snack In Their Own Right" Choice
It's all very arbitrary, right? What even makes something a snack? If I eat it in between a meal, does that not make it a snack by definition? Besides, I need salt. I need all the salt. Nothing else is salty enough to satisfy my the longing for salt I feel down to the deepest depths of my soul. Not salted pretzels. Not salt and vinegar potato chips. Not ramen with an extra packet of seasoning. Just let me have this!
My "I Should Probably Get More Than One Pint Of Ice Cream" Choice
"Because one pint will last me two to three days. I'm going to want more ice cream on day four. Why waddle my ass down to the store twice? Why don't just just buy a whole lot of ice cream. This will definitely not cause me to eat more than usual. I will absolutely pace myself."
Three days later, I've consumed five pints of ice cream. I was blissed out in a Ben & Jerry's coma and literally have no memory of how such a thing happened. That didn't stop me, incidentally, from going to the bodega to get more. The cycle continues.
My "I'm Starving But I'll Eat After I Do The Grocery Shopping" Choice
This is a mistake under normal, non-pregnancy circumstances. Add pregnancy cravings to the mix and you're basically playing God (and looking at spending the contents of your 401K on bagel chips).
My "Why Should I Have To Choose Between Eating These Two Things?" Choice
This is different from the weird and misguided food combos. This is for those times when cravings lead you to eat (or order) way too much food. Like when I was at a diner and literally cried because I couldn't choose between a Cobb salad and a turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo, so I ordered both and then I cried again when I actually saw that I had ordered two enormous lunches and felt like a monster.
But guys! What would you have done in my shoes? That's a really big and important decision!
My "If I Buy This Bag Of Chips, It Will Provide Snacking For A Week" Choice
Oh Jamie. You sweet, naïve girl. That bag will not last you the night and I think that, deep down, you know that.
My "Gorgonzola Sounds Great Right About Now" Choice
One of the great tragedies of pregnancy is that your stomach and your nose don't always agree. So your stomach is saying, "Egg sandwich!" and your nose is saying, "Eggs?! Are you kidding me?! No. We are not eating eggs. Not now and not ever. I'm going to make you throw up to teach you a lesson, stomach, because how dare you."
All I wanted when I was pregnant with my second child was a salad topped with gorgonzola, but that's a pretty stinky cheese according to anyone. According to a sensitive pregnant nose it's definitely way too much to handle, even if you want to so badly.
My "I'll Just Drink This Enormous Drink Right Before Bed" Choice
"I definitely won't have to wake up 47 times to pee and then be exhausted to the point of tears the next day. I'm just really thirsty and I need this!"
My "I Want Some Of This. No. How About This? No, Not That Either." Choice
Oh, fickle pregnant brain. Make up your damn mind.
Maybe I'm the lone weirdo here, but often I had intense cravings for, like, an hour. Then, as soon as I took a bite, I was like, "OK. That's settled. Now what do I want?" It was like I wanted my entire pregnancy to be an extended tapas dinner. If I could have gone through the grocery store and bought things by the handful, rather than by the box or bag or package, my life (and bank account) would have been so much better.
My "Eating Will Definitely Help My Nausea" Choice
Every damn time. I don't know why I kept thinking this, because eating never helped my upset stomach. Still, I kept thinking that if I just found the right food I would feel better. The foods I always convinced myself would make me feel better weren't the typical nausea cures, like crackers or ginger candies, though. It was always, like, "You know what would settle my stomach? Kale sautéed in garlic. Or maybe pad thai."