I found out I was pregnant while on vacation in Maine. Before dinner. So I didn't order the raw steamers I was dreaming of. Or have coffee the next morning at breakfast. It was just the beginning.
The following 39 weeks and five days until my son was born was a minefield of avoiding foods and drinks I loved. My previous "devil may care" attitude was a thing of the past, especially with an OBGYN who cautioned me away from unpasteurized cheese and juices, any alcohol, and rare hamburgers.
There is a lot of information out there about what is safe when a woman is pregnant (and it seems like it's always changing), and what the mother eats is up to her and her physician. The foods I abstained from came from discussions between me and my doctor. That could totally be different for you.
However, chances are, if you become pregnant there are some foods and drinks you will choose to abstain from or limit during your 40 weeks of stretch marks, heartburn, and pure love. And if that's the case, you will probably find yourself dreaming of your forbidden fruit (or wine, shellfish, cheese, etc.). Here's the lineup of what tasted best when I was finally cleared to eat and drink anything.
5 Things That Tasted Amazing After Pregnancy
1. Steak Tartare
I was a character straight out of Rosemary's Baby my entire pregnancy. I craved raw meat. Yearned for it. Sure, I had a few medium-rare steaks that my doctor approved. But what I really wanted was steak tartare, that Parisian classic that fulfills every primal instinct I have. I practically had dreams about it — spicy and hand chopped, with a pile of crispy pommes frites alongside.
When I finally treated myself after delivering my son, it tasted fantastic after months of well-done hamburgers (blech).
2. Fresh Orange Juice
My doctor advised me to stay away from any unpasteurized juice. Do you know how hard it is to say no to fresh-squeezed orange juice in the middle of winter, when you finally got your swollen thighs and butt out to brunch and all you want is a tiny sip of sunshine? It's hard.
And it tastes so, so good when you can finally have a glass.
Smoked salmon is the salty, fatty, savory food that brunch was built on. I am a smoked fish fiend and life without my favorite whitefish salad, smoked sable, and lox was difficult. A bagel without smoked fish is just a lot like round bread, you know?
This was the very first food I ate after labor and it tasted fantastic.
4. Blue Cheese
Wedge salads, buffalo wings, and my favorite steak meant nearly nothing to me without wedges of stinky, creamy blue cheese smothering them. There is something particularly funky, sharp, and savory about blue cheese that no other pasteurized cheese quite has. I really missed this and I'm willing to bet I'm not alone.
5. Diet Coke
My physician didn't ask me to give this up, but I was on a three-a-day habit and had wanted to cut back for awhile. Considering some of the information out there regarding diet soda and pregnancy, well, I just didn't feel great about giving my unborn child his first hit of the good stuff. While I was breastfeeding and pumping I didn't touch it either, but the week I weaned myself from the pump I treated myself to a gigantic Diet Coke at the movies. It was sensational.
I often thought while I was pregnant that I would never forgive myself for taking the pregnancy test before I treated myself to six East Coast beauties on the half shell, replete with mignonette and cocktail sauces. My whole pregnancy, I almost fetishized raw oysters and clams.
When I took my son to his first lunch out and he feasted on puréed bananas while I slurped back that long-awaited oyster, I managed to forgive both myself and him. The oysters (and the baby!) were worth the wait.
The Things That Didn't Deliver After Pregnancy
I love the bubbly stuff. It's my favorite drink and the perfect way to unwind without paying for it too steeply the next day. However, the first six months after giving birth, any time I had a drink it was anything but relaxing. I was exhausted beyond words, my body was healing from a pretty major trauma (because, let's face it, that's what the miracle of life really is), and with every sip, I was praying I wouldn't have to pump before it was out of my system.
Getting tipsy didn't really get fun again till my baby started sleeping through the night. Don't worry, new moms — once you know you can get a solid night's sleep, that glass of champers tastes better than ever.
Haha, just kidding — the spicy tuna roll the week after I delivered was the greatest thing to happen to me that week. Sorry, baby, your birth was a close second.