This pregnant woman was denied a cup of coffee by an out-of-line barista.
Women give up a lot during pregnancy, but if you want to take our morning coffee, you’ll have to pry it from our sweaty, swollen hands. At least, that’s what one Australian writer wishes she’d said when she tried to order a cup of coffee after a long morning and a barista concern-trolled her drink choice because she’s 27 weeks pregnant.
In a recent essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, mom-to-be Alexandra Smith says she’d just finished fasting for for a series of routine blood tests, when she stopped off at a coffee shop to get a glorious cup of morning joe. To her surprise, the male barista took one look at her baby bump and gave her a solid no. She writes:
“I had been looking forward to a coffee for hours. That was until the barista looked at my 27-week bump over his counter and shook his head. ‘No,’ he responded motioning towards my belly. ‘No caffeine for you.’ I thought I misheard. This was a coffee I was a ordering, not a martini. But clearly my choice of poison was not going to be accepted by this barista despite my looks of horror, panic and then desperation.”
Instead, Smith writes the little punk tried to get her to order decaf (blasphemy!) or a flat white, which is basically just steamed milk with a single shot of espresso in it. Smith says she should’ve protested and demanded her coffee, but she was so stung by the guilt of being mommy-shamed that she just wanted to get the hell out of there.
“I accepted the weak hot milk option and watched as a minuscule drop of coffee was tipped into an oversized takeaway paper cup,” she writes. “It was a basically a babycino for grown-ups.” Later, she adds, she relayed the events to friends later and heard dozens of stories of women who’d been turned down while trying to purchase everything from frozen yogurt to cheese.
For the record, most doctors don’t have an issue with pregnant women drinking a little caffeine. My own OBGYN told me it was fine to have a cup of coffee, so long as I wasn’t downing a full pot of it each morning. Even the American Pregnancy Association says moderate levels of caffeine — up to 300 mg, or about two cups of brewed coffee a day — haven’t been found to have any negative effects on the health of unborn babies. So, what gives?
What happened to Smith is a symptom of the most annoying thing about pregnancy and motherhood: people treat you like public property. Friends, coworkers, your mother, strangers on the street — everyone feels like they get say a when you have a baby, and everyone wants to give you their opinions about what you’re doing, even though you’ve already got a team of health professionals and don’t need any more, thank you very much.
That nosy barista probably had no idea whether or not it was actually harmful for Smith to have her coffee. They just saw a pregnant belly and suddenly felt bold enough to be able to police a grown woman’s beverage choices, and that’s complete bullshit. Pregnant women are more than capable of making decisions for themselves and their babies. When a pregnant woman asks for a cup of coffee, the only question she should have to answer is whether she wants cream and sugar.