“When pregnant, one should abstain from all caffeine products, including chocolate.”
That’s what I was told when I was pregnant. Now, I’ll admit that while pregnant with Katarina and then Sam, that I wasn’t perfect, but I sure tried. I knew it wasn’t as crucial as staying away from cigarette smoke and alcohol, but anything regarding the possible health of my baby I took seriously.
After four years of my life being pregnant and nursing, I found out I was pregnant. Surprise! While a blessing, it was a very stressful time in my life. I tried the conventional stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing and stretching, but I was still tense. And chocolate called out to me.
Feeling particularly tense, I allowed myself one chocolate bar. Wow. What a difference! And while my chocolate-induced mellow didn’t last a long time, it was a wonderful indulgence. An indulgence that I wanted to repeat . . . very soon.
With my doctor’s input, we decided one ounce of chocolate a day wouldn’t do any harm. One ounce of chocolate. Which one to pick? Hard candies with milk chocolate that melts in your mouth and not in your hands? Chocolate mixed with caramel or toffee or nuts or filled with fruity fillings? A mug of hot chocolate or chocolate milk? Semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark? Oh, the wonderful choices!
Yet, when you only have one-ounce to spare a day, you want to make it count. The only solution was to buy as many varieties of chocolate as I could afford, and try a different chocolate each day until I found my favorites. My children and husband willingly volunteered their time to assist me in my research project. We quickly discovered that mom loved the dark chocolate while Dad and the kids could fight over the milk version. Not only did I feel more relaxed and satisfied in the evening, our taste testing also became a fun time to talk over the day’s happenings. Our family was bonding over chocolate!
Nine months later, in February of 2004, we met beautiful Anabelle. With the knowledge that I love my children with an equal fervor, I’ll admit that Anabelle was my easiest baby. I won’t argue nature versus nurture with you, but I believe the stress-reducing effects of the chocolate helped her temperament in the womb.
Two months later magazines like New Scientist and Baby Talk published the results of a study that proclaimed that pregnant women who eat chocolate daily may have happier babies, possibly due to the feel-good chemicals in chocolate that pass over to the womb.
I guess chocolate scientifically proved that if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!