The vegan who ate yoghurt

Read! In the name of your Lord who created: He created man from a clinging form. — Qur'an sura 96

I hes­i­tate in front of the refrig­er­a­tor in the super­mar­ket. Being a veg­an, I usu­al­ly fast-track past the dairy sec­tion, but today I devi­ate from my nor­mal round. I study the dif­fer­ent types of yogurt. Organ­ic, of course. Hmm, blueberries.

This excur­sion into the realms of dairy, now more than a month ago, is part of a sto­ry that start­ed with two lines on a preg­nan­cy test. Fred­dy and I are expect­ing a baby! Besides joy and morn­ing sick­ness, this also made me feel very uncer­tain about my diet. I always felt that I ate healthy, sim­ply by eat­ing lots of veg­eta­bles and legumes and tak­ing vit­a­min B12. But would it also be enough for a grow­ing fetus?

The Veg­an Soci­ety pro­vid­ed a good overview, put togeth­er by a dietit­ian. But when I read the sec­tion on iodine, I start­ed to pan­ic. Iodine plays an impor­tant role in devel­op­ing a baby’s brain. Appar­ent­ly I had to take a sup­ple­ment for this – iodised salt is hard to get in the UK (we man­aged to find it now) and it’s not added to bread. Iodine is only giv­en to cows and milk is there­fore the main source.

Mother and calf

I found out that iodine was includ­ed in the sup­ple­ment that we have always used, but that we had just stopped using. So I quick­ly ordered it again, but I did not want to wait until it arrived. That’s how I end­ed up in the dairy sec­tion of the super­mar­ket. By now, the food stress is under con­trol. Next to the sup­ple­ment, I eat a bit more of the ‘veg­an food­ie’ stuff: tofu, chia seeds, kale, walnuts.

The one per­son who is not pan­ick­ing, is the lit­tle crea­ture in my abdomen. Dur­ing the ultra­sound we saw her/ him calm­ly drift­ing around in the amni­ot­ic flu­id, which showed up in black on the screen. Dark water is where the world start­ed accord­ing to most cre­ation myths. It is the place where things can grow, undis­turbed by the hus­tle and bus­tle around them.

Yes­ter­day we were in Med­way for the Walk for Peace and a meal with friends. Good news gets bet­ter when you share it — that was my expe­ri­ence when I told the peo­ple that I see as my spir­i­tu­al fam­i­ly about my preg­nan­cy. The per­son who grows in my bel­ly puts every­thing in a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. Life finds a way, often despite rather than due to our efforts to do every­thing perfectly.