Letting Go of Control; Anna's First Pregnancy
I meant to write this blog while Oliver was still in my belly, but they say that's the first lesson of parenthood, letting go of the plan.
I am learning to go with the flow, but I still think it worthwhile to share some reflections on eating during pregnancy.
Eating for two
I was sure I would be a super healthy eater during pregnancy. I was going to lift weights and run right up to my due date, eat kale til I turned green, treat sugar like toxic waste and keep coffee decaffeinated. Instead of said lofty plans, here's what really happened:
First trimester: The thought of an apple or a salad literally made me gag. Salmon, rich in DHA to boost baby brain development, could only go down if sandwiched between melted cheese & tortillas with guacamole on top (my husband makes amazing quesadillas). Prenatal vitamins came back up. The only time I didn't feel sick was while eating popcorn. I felt sick before and afterward, but mid-chew, I was good to go.
I took down absurd amounts of popcorn.
Second trimester: Yes, energy came back... sort of... but still sooooo tired. I needed two cups of coffee (the real stuff) to make it through a work day. Workouts happened... but sleep won more frequently.
Third trimester: It got HOT and iced coffee had to happen. So did froyo. So did napping. I walked, sometimes uphill, but at snail's pace.
Talk about letting go of the plan!
Letting go of control
After 33 years of getting to know myself, after all that trial and error of figuring out how to eat & move in a way that was right for me, it was quite the wake up call to realize that it all goes out the window with pregnancy. My previous vision of the perky pregnant me did not exactly happen.
Ten pounds jumped on board as soon as the pregnancy test came back positive, I swear.
I'm embarrassed to admit how hard this was for me.
I had expected to embrace weight gain as part of the miracle of pregnancy... but no. When it came down to it, I felt ashamed. For the first 5 months or so, the weight hit my hips and thighs, not my belly, where it was "supposed" to go. No one could tell I was pregnant, just that my pants were too tight.
My thoughts went wild with all the irrational fears. I was sure my body as I know it was gone forever... ha! Oh the places the mind will go!
To be clear, the miracle of what was happening in my body did not escape me. I fully recognized how fortunate I was to be carrying a child. But this awareness only made it harder.
As my heart expanded, so did the hunger, the ache in my back and the guilt.
What was wrong with me that I was so vain to be worrying about my weight?!? I should be floating in a cloud of blissful gratitude.
Now is supposed to be the part of the blog when I impart my words of wisdom about how to just let go and fill your heart with acceptance. I wish!
I wish I knew how to make this transition easy.
What I can share, as I now have the wisdom of hindsight, is that, it really is ok to let go of control. Really!
Your body was made for this. Trust that.
Some women gain, some lose weight during the first trimester. Some women get surges of energy. Some women have to take catnaps under their desk at work. Whether you crave popcorn, pasta or pickles, go with it. If you're tired and need to rest, mama, put your feet up!
If I could give you one gift to carry with you throughout this pregnancy journey, it would be the confidence of trusting that your experience is exactly as it should be.
As women, we are expected to keep tight reins on our body shape and size. Pregnancy, at least for me, did not automatically turn off all those years of vigilance and control.
But, I did get to practice letting go. I did remind myself time and again to trust my body. And it did get easier.
Now, as a new mom, I can assure you, it's all SO worth it. I would go through pregnancy 10x over to have my sweet son. I have no doubt you'll feel the same way.
You got this, mama!