Everyone's heard anecdotes about pregnancy cravings. I don't know if we have movies to thank for this or what, but the thought of a woman eating peanut butter out of a jar using a pickle as a spoon is probably something people think is relatively normal. You may actually not find yourself wanting to eat anything weird while you are pregnant. Instead, you may find yourself absolutely grossed out by just about all the foods you normally love.
I never had morning sickness, I just had the most unbearable nausea - and it lasted all day. I never threw up, but everything grossed me out. During my second pregnancy, I worked in a restaurant that served amazing Mediterranean food, on a cute little corner in brownstone Brooklyn. The smells of this restaurant were always comforting and inviting- I am Greek and Italian. But during my pregnancy, that cute little corner gem turned into my own personal torture chamber.
Garlic. Shallots. Harissa. Hummus. All the things that were once delicious and irresistible - started to make my stomach turn. I went from loving the smell of garlic to not being able to fucking stand it. Just a whiff of it made my stomach turn. You acquire a super sense of smell in pregnancy that I was not expecting. I guess it had a purpose back in the days when we were foraging our own food in nature. But now? I never wanted to be that acutely aware of the nuances that are seemingly undetectable to anyone else. Breath, perfume, body odor - I was like a police dog - picking up on all things rank and gross.
I had never been as disgusted by my refrigerator and all of the contents of it as I was in early pregnancy. Life became an endless stream of turn-offs. That banana muffin you used to love - gross. Doritos - gross. Rice - gross. Eggplant - un-fucking-believably gross. Then the taste tests began. One day, I craved a bagel. My husband brought home a bagel. I ate the bagel. Immediately, I was grossed out by bagels. How do you get grossed out by a bagel, you ask? Well, somehow in Brooklyn, city of bagels, my husband managed to go to the only bodega in the borough that sold packaged Lender's bagels. What? How can that even happen in New York? And for some odd reason he thought I would prefer margarine on it.
I've never bought margarine in my life. If I could roll all of my food in melted butter before it went into my mouth without worrying about weighing 400 pounds - I would. Whatever brilliant idea flashed through this man's mind, leading him to the decision to buy a Lender's bagel, slather it with margarine, and present it to his pregnant wife - I'll never know. I took a bite, gagged, and cried. I've never felt so alone and misunderstood.
I never complained too much, because I knew a lot of pregnant women who were bent over toilets and I was never one of them. If you are - I'm sorry. My mother has an old Greek wive's tale remedy that actually really works. Carry around a fresh, whole lemon. When smells start to turn your stomach, grab it and smell the rind. The freshness of the lemon will usually help the nausea pass. Unless your pregnancy has made you disgusted by lemons - in which case - I've got nothing. You're fucked.
Maybe you aren't experiencing food aversions at all. That is fantastic and totally normal. My first pregnancy, I was a little turned off by things but I wasn't as miserable as was the second time around. You know what they say - every pregnancy is different. In this case, they are right.
(photo: Olly/ Shutterstock)