One of the first things you notice when you tell people you’re pregnant is how fascinating your eating habits become. I’ve heard everything:
“Eat whatever you want! It’s the only time you can do it!”
“Does everything taste better?”
“Don’t gain too much weight!”
“What are you craving? Anything good?”
“What are your favorites?”
“Is there anything you can’t stand?”
“I craved ‘fill in the blank with every food imaginable.’”
In the beginning, eating was a challenge. I learned at my first ob appointment that I had lost 5 pounds, and was actually the thinnest I had ever been. Imagine that! The skinniest version of me, and preggers nonetheless.
So when the doctor told me that a healthy weight gain was about 25-30 pounds, I thought, “Pshhh! Bring it on, Doc.” Then he said they expect you to gain 10 pounds in the first TWENTY weeks. That made me gulp a little. But since food and I were still on a hate/hate basis, no sweat!
When I hit the 12 week mark and noticed I had gained 6 pounds, the sweat began to pour. Buckets! 8 weeks to go with only a 4 pound gain?
In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, that “Don’t gain too much weight!” I threw in there was from my boss, the plastic surgeon. We had a pretty decent talk about health, weight, pregnancy, etc. He did follow his comment with stating he didn’t judge women who gained a lot of weight, and he understood how hard it must be.
What he said next really sunk in. He said, “Most women, in my experience, feel a bit of a sense of loss after the baby comes. Maybe it’s ‘I don’t feel as sexy now, but I’m a mom, so that’s okay.’ But I will tell you, adding 50 pounds that you can’t lose will contribute to that feeling and leave you depressed. And it’s really hard to lose.”
Darn those doctors for always being so smart! I must admit, part of me wondered if this was a threat in disguise. “Don’t come back to work looking fat and gross!” Gulp, again.
The moment of insanity passed and I knew he was right, and even further, he was just looking out for me. We’ve worked together for over 3 years, and he knows I try to eat healthy (mostly) and I am pretty active with my husband and two dogs.
But a few weeks ago, my eating habits were just bad. Exercise had become too much of a chore, and I justified my choices because at least I was eating. However, I was choosing to eat more chocolate and less veggies, instead of finding the healthy balance.
Balance. *shakes-fist* I hate that word. I think I’ve always hated it, because I’ve always struggled with it. The cup is either all full or all empty, the sun is either shining brightly or hiding, depressed.
I met with a therapist for a few weeks, and she helped with the concept of balance. I was struggling with family relationships, and she taught me to look at the situation like a car window. You can roll it down just a little, in order to let someone in, but you don’t have to completely roll it down and let them manipulate or take over.
Eating while pregnant is like that car window. When I want chocolate, darn it, I’m going to have it. But a Snickers bar every day is probably not the best idea. Or, if it’s another “Give me a Snickers now if you value your life” situation, I need to make sure I eat a few cucumbers (yes, whole – whole cucumbers) to help make up for it. Last night, I went for a long walk with Hubs and Dogs, chopped up a bunch of veggies for snacks, made myself a big salad for lunch, and took one more bite of the brownie I hadn’t been able to resist.
The truth of the matter is, some women are just naturals at being pregnant. They glow, they feel great the entire time, they radiate with happiness, and their life revolves around the growing child. I am clearly not one of those women. While I want my child to have the best life possible and I will strive to be the best parent possible, I do worry that I will feel that sense of loss. The least I can do (for me and the baby) is not let myself get to a place of being overweight, unhealthy and depressed.
Whether you’re pregnant or not, a balanced life applies. So raise a glass of milk with me (while I pretend there’s Kahlua mixed in) and let’s all stop beating ourselves up. That’s the baby’s job!