I'm three months pregnant and recently married. My husband and I are 25 and were both on a vegetarian diet when we met. I've been an lacto ovo vegetarian for six years, and I'm in good health.
My mother in law nags me all the time about my vegetarian diet, telling me I have to eat meat, otherwise my baby will have brain damage, or low IQ, or be premature.
I know better, but I can't seem to get through to her, and my husband doesn't help, even though he's a vegetarian too. He says he doesn't want to argue with his Mom, but I wonder if he secretly agrees with her. I think he should support me, and tell her to leave me alone. What can I do? - A. O.
Dear A. O.,
I agree that your husband should support you. The two of you need to present a united front to his Mom, or anyone else, about anything that concerns you both, such as the child you've made together. By keeping silent, your husband is allowing his mother to drive a wedge between you.
At the same time, you need to stay on good terms with your mother-in-law. After all, she did produce your wonderful husband. Having her as an ally would make your married life much more pleasant. If you have to settle for an armed truce, you wouldn't be the first, but go for the best outcome first.
We know your baby will thrive on your lacto ovo vegetarian diet. But it's common for non-vegetarians to think that vegetarians are slowly starving to death. Your mother-in-law may have given up on her son and you but this is her grandchild we're talking about! In her mind, you don't have a right to harm this precious grand-baby.
I don't know what you've done to convince your mother-in-law that you don't know what you're doing. I suspect that being three months pregnant, perhaps tired, and emotionally sensitive, you haven't been able to stand up for yourself. But you're obviously upset, and that's not good for you and your baby.
Gather evidence on vegetarian pregnancy and nutrition, to read and discuss with your husband first, and then your mother-in-law.
Get The New Becoming Vegetarian, by Vesanto Melina, R.D., Brenda Davis, R.D. This excellent vegetarian nutrition reference has a chapter on vegetarian nutrition for pregnancy & lactation, and vegetarian children.
Read 'Your Vegetarian Pregnancy', by Holly Roberts, mother, vegetarian and obstetrician. I haven't read this book, but it sounds excellent and affordable. Find it on Amazon.com
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian