As any expectant mom can relate- when you are pregnant this strange thing happens where people- anywhere from close friends and family, to complete strangers will make it their mission to tell you horror stories of bad pregnancies, still births, and baby deaths. Any mom you ask has been in this uncomfortable situation. How do you respond, as a pregnant woman? As a mom?
As a vegan in Texas, it seems that EVERYONE needs to make me aware that if I do not consume animal products I will kill my baby and go to jail for 5 years. That if I breastfeed with my cruelthy-free vegan milk, my baby will not get all the vitamins she needs. How do I respond to this? Keep reading.
As this is something that not only vegans face while trying to begin a positive, educated, new life for their most treasured creation (a new tiny person!), the midwives at my birth center have advised all of us expectant moms to prepare a quick and punchy come-back to ward off the negativity that will be pushed on us most definitely. This is the phrase they suggest:
"My doctor, and my midwives are not concerned about me or my baby's health. I don't understand why you are- without ever examining me medically."
What right do people have to bring in this kind of negativity to a pregnant woman's life? None. Yet, so many people feel that this is what they have to do. Though some people may feel like they are doing a kindness, it is actually very rude. Giving me this information, asumes that I am not aware of my or my baby's health, that I have not done my homework, and that I am negligent in my life choices. Life choices I've made to cause as little environmental impact, and as little harm to others. Hear that? Vegans are not just about eating celery for tiny waistlines, most vegans (myself included) choose to live in a way to cause as little harm to others and the planet- which most certainly includes as little harm to my baby as possible.
The shock value of using one article (yes, this same article of the same couple has been passed to me several times online, and also been mentioned in person) of one instance, of one vegan baby dying of malnutrition is smeared across the entire culture of vegan mothers and vegan babies. How many non-vegan babies die from negligence on their mother's behalf? I refuse to google for this kind of information - because I strongly believe that I should only be surrounding myself with positivity - ESPECIALLY during the period of my life while I create a new small life. Regardless, I can be 100% confident that this number of infant mortality of non-vegans far outweighs the number of vegan infant mortality. But why think about any of this?
Do I feel that it is my right to approach a pregnant lady and tell her how another mother, in a completely different situation, accidentally killed her baby? No. No mother wants to hear these stories. If you really want to be helpful, and you are in fact concerned about the health of my vegan baby- I advise you to take the time to do your own homework. Do something constructive and positive.
Telling me that if I do not change my morals, if I do not change my strong life philosophies, and if I do not change the informed diet that I have mindfully practiced for the past 12 years- I will kill my baby- will not do me any good. If you honestly have this much concern for me and my baby's safety, do not simply click, "share" so I can read about a dead baby. If you truly believe that I am incapable of providing a healthy, thriving environment for my newborn as a vegan, I strongly encourage you to learn more about vegan nutrition and vegan breastmilk. Trust me, there are a lot more instances of happy, healthy, vegan babies out there than ones that are killed by vegan breastmilk.
Again, my doctor and my midwives are not concerned with me or my baby's health. If you don't believe me, try doing some research on your own. From just a quick google search on vegan babies and breastfeeding, the first page had the vast majority of positive and informative articles:
"Vegan Children" - VeganHealth.org
"Vegan Babies" - Huffington Post
"Raising a Vegan Baby" - Peta.org
"Bringing up a Vegan Baby" - The Vegan Society
"Raising Your Vegan Baby" - One Green Planet
"Is it Safe to Eat a Vegan Diet During Pregnancy" - BabyCenter.com
Any mother can make poor decisions regarding her baby's nutrition - its not a vegan thing. Vegan moms are not the only ones who are suggested to take prenatal vitamins. I trust my doctor, and my midwives and not the strangers who seem to think they know more than my medical professionals.