Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter VI

Chapter, the Sixth

In which the author grieves for her senses and explores the woes of caffeine withdrawal…

I didn’t think I’d really miss caffeine that much. I wasn’t a coffee drinker (I’ve heard this is a nightmare withdrawal for pregnant women in love with these beans). I drank enough herbal tea that I knew I’d still drink tea. Decaf black tea was starting to grow on me.

Let me give you a picture of how my day has progressed.

I wake up, get ready for work, run some laundry upstairs, iron Mike’s shirt, eat breakfast, feed Words, pack a lunch, and run out the door. Everything’s fine and dandy, I don’t think twice about it when I’m bombarded with e-mails about changes and the need for details, the work stacking up on my desk, the meetings. Then 3:00 rolls around. Uh oh. CRASH! My eyes are heavy. I find myself dozing, red pen mid-air.  To prevent an alcohol rubbing, ink removal ceremony later this evening (already went through that a few weeks ago), I run to the break room to make myself a cup of decaf black tea.

Suddenly, decaf is a poor man’s Assam. Adding sugar is like adding a tiny drop of syrup to a dry stack of pancakes. Has anyone noticed how unsatisfying decaf black tea is when you’re tasting the caffeinated version in your imagination? There is actually a taste difference. Nothing satisfies!

Powdered caffeine. Looks a lot like an illegal substance, doesn't it? Appropriately so. (Image from en.wikipedia.org)

I’ve heard that caffeine in small doses is fine for the average pregnant woman. Coffee has a lot, but tea isn’t bad. Chocolate is minimal in moderate (what’s that?) doses. The people who spout this information obviously have no idea how much caffeine I drank in a day, pre-pregnancy. And even if I had one cup, it would be a gateway cup. I would have to have more. Withdrawal would start all over again with pangs and cravings. Am I being too dramatic? I’ve been told I have the urge to overdramatize in my gestational state. (Deal with it.)

Besides, if I use up my caffeine quota on black tea, do you really want to be the one to stand between me and my chocolate fix later? I also heard that one of the pharmacists at my company was known to chug 5 sodas (pop, Coke–for those with dialects, read a book) every day while she was pregnant. It was one of those high-caffeine brands. I’m sorry, but that can’t be right. I know several doctors (and pharmacists) who pour out their knowledge of nutrition, and then cram Twinkies down their throats after clinical hours. No offense to nutritionists and doctors who at least try.

So I’ve decided that a nap after work (even if dinner is waiting) is necessary for my sanity, the health of those around me, and the well-being of the world, in that order.

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