Flat white coffee war
A barista in New Zealand claimed in January that he invented the flat white coffee in 1989 but Sydneysider Alan Preston says he coined the name four years earlier.PT1M16S 620 349
Massive or tiny, exhausted or glowing, waddling or not. I have grown used to the constant comments about my body.
I have done this before. This is my third pregnancy and I have heard it all from family, friends and plenty of strangers. As a mother-to-be, my body and looks have become fair game.
Pregnancy, it seems, is viewed as an out-of-body experience. Comments that would never be uttered to a non-pregnant woman, let alone a man, suddenly become totally acceptable to a woman sporting a baby bump.
"No caffeine for you": my choice of poison was not going to be accepted by this barista.
"But pregnancy is amazing" is the defence when feelings are hurt.
But it does not stop with fat jibes. Apparently even decisions are no longer your own when you are expecting.
This week I dared to order a takeaway coffee, a proper espresso complete with caffeine, at one of my local cafes in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
After fasting for more than 12 hours for a series of routine blood tests, I was hungry, tired and perhaps even a little cranky. 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.
Eventually we, or rather he, agreed that my options were a decaffeinated coffee, which frankly wasn't going to cut it, or a flat white so weak my three-old would have mistaken it for a cup of frothed milk best known as a babycino.
Of course, I should have protested or simply walked off but I can only assume I was wracked by mother guilt. My decision to inflict caffeine on my unborn child had been criticised by a stranger.
So, I accepted the weak hot milk option and watched as a minuscule drop of coffee was tipped into an oversized takeaway paper cup. It was a basically a babycino for grown-ups.
I have heard of several incidents of pregnant women being denied alcohol in restaurants and bars and each one has been met with outrage and plenty have gone viral on the internet.
There is widespread research and strong warnings about excessive consumption of alcohol in pregnancy, but many people still rightly accept that it is our decision, and no one else's, if we are to have the odd glass during those long nine months.
Never had I heard the same reaction to caffeine, yet after relaying the experience to my friends via Facebook it seems the pregnancy police are not simply patrolling bars and cafes.
One friend reported that she was denied a soft-serve ice cream while pregnant; another said she was refused service when she tried to buy unpasteurised cheese in a British supermarket.
Just like our bodies, our decisions also become fair game. So, tired and hungry, I walked - or some would say waddled - off from the cafe with my cup of "coffee" disappointed and still cranky.
Disappointed that I was slurping on a cup of warm milk and annoyed that I did not stand up for myself and demand a proper coffee or, more sensibly, take my business elsewhere.
But mother guilt is a powerful thing.
Alexandra Smith is the Herald's education editor.