For someone who vehemently believes and practices that good food is preventative medicine, and can help provide good health I had a wake up call and needed to adjust my expectations in pregnancy when I was floored by the reality of “morning sickness” and “cravings”. Now, if you haven’t experienced, let me continue to break down these myths. For me, I’m in a state of perma-nausea, and cravings are less “Get me some New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream NOW” and more, “I think I won’t vomit if we have Pad Thai.”
I had visions of kale salads, avocado kombucha smoothies, roasted squash, and a myriad of healthy mostly paleo foods. As I sit here sipping ginger ale, with a mostly eaten bowl of Chicken Ramen I laugh at this idealistic woman with the best intentions of health for her growing baby. I’ve never eaten so many saltines, or processed foods. Yet, I trust that this won’t always be so, and on the better days I try to make choices that make up for the worst days. Last week I blended beets, carrots, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, some lime, parsley, green apple,and water in the Vitamix for a smoothie/juice hybrid. It was spectacular. It was what I had envisioned doing on a daily basis.
Do I allow myself to feel guilty for this? No, it isn’t productive. Feeling bad for keeping food in my body is the last thing I need to do, and trust me, I already feel sick enough. I don’t need any more negative emotions related to how hard it is to grow a human. I remember basic chemistry and focus on the fact that right now our baby can’t tell a carbohydrate from a saltine from a sweet potato. Sure, the micronutrients vary but my Pregnancy tea (recipe to follow) helps with vitamins and minerals, and most days I can stomach my MTHFR friendly pre-natal multivitamin (Shout out to Thorne) which will fill in the gaps. Now isn’t the time to scour my nutrition books to worry about what I could be lacking, it is time to thank my body for the huge undertaking of growing a person, it is a time to be kind to myself, to rest, to take warm baths (with a meat thermometer making sure it isn’t over 99 degrees…), and to find community with other pregnant mothers at prenatal yoga- all just trying to do best by our growing babies.
Two weeks ago, on a particularly bad day (it doesn’t help that it is gray winter in Seattle- take your vitamin D folks!) I was googling “I hate being pregnant”. I needed to hear I wasn’t terrible for thinking it. I needed to hear I could be absurdly excited to be growing this human, but absolutely detest the process. I needed to know other women also felt this sick and awful during a time when we talk about pickles and peanut butter, glowing, and make light of swollen ankles and feeling tired. I was moved to tears, and not just because of pregnancy emotions, by the number of women who had similar experiences. Turns out so, so many women feel brainwashed and let down by how we are supposed to feel during this magic time. Of course my brain then got fired up on how this is just another area where false expectations and information damage women. Why aren’t more women talking about the realities of pregnancy? Yes, it varies vastly from person to person. This doesn’t change that the whole range of experiences shouldn’t be out there. As someone who loves to research, I would have been more comforted by a range of stories.
Well now what, you ask, and why are you using your blog as a personal rant space, you say? I write this because I have had to adjust my expectations of how to grow wellness right now and I want this to be a reminder that we all have challenges and occasions where things don’t go as we wished they would. This is a reminder to dig deep and find the joy in those occasions. It won’t be easy, you are still allowed to pout and lay around in your pajama pants all day. I’m never one to discourage acknowledging the realities of our choices sometimes. I am about choosing to find balance, and having the tools to do that even when it is hardest. Here is to life’s challenges, and finding the joy where we can.