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When one of my family members found out I was pregnant, the first thing she said was, “oh good, now Maggie can eat meat again.”
She, like many other people, view veganism as a diet; for me, it was a lifestyle choice I made years ago and one I wouldn’t change simply because I was pregnant.
In fact, what better gift could I give my baby than a healthy and compassionate start to life?
I had an extremely healthy vegan pregnancy. I gained 35 pounds, had tons of energy, minimal swelling (with a due date in mid-July, that’s pretty impressive!), fantastic iron levels, no heartburn, and no complications like high blood pressure or preeclampsia.
People often asked me if I ever craved meat or cheese. I can honestly say no, I didn’t. I craved dumplings, Nutter Butter cookies, grapefruit, and watermelon… but never once wanted a hamburger.
Each day, I tracked the food I ate to make sure I was getting enough calories, protein, calcium, vitamin C, B12, and omegas. I did yoga and walked throughout my pregnancy.
Come July, I was ready to have a natural childbirth at home.
After about seven hours of heavy labor, I gave birth to a healthy, 8 lb 2 oz baby girl with no complications. My midwife said that because of my vegan diet, my muscle tissue was strong enough to withstand a LOT of pushing, without having any tearing. Bruising, yes (childbirth is hard work!), but no tearing.
My now 10-month old is in the 90th percentile for height and weight and has been sick with a minor cold only once.
Will we raise her as a vegan? My husband and I plan to explain to her the reasons why we live the way we do and instill in her a sense of compassion for all living beings. At home, she will be a vegan. In the outside world, it will be up to her to make her own decision.
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