I’ll be honest, the past several weeks have been among the most difficult in my life.
I’ve been through lots of challenging times, no doubt … but “the situation” took the cake for sure — and we aren’t really out of the woods, even with good test results (there could always be something wrong even in a seemingly perfectly healthy pregnancy and we will have some more testing coming up as I am further along). So we remain optimistic–but cautiously optimistic.
That said, as a wise friend said to me something that really resonated: with each step we take, we’re adding information to our book of knowledge.
Exactly. (I have such wonderful friends, have I mentioned that?)
Anyway, as I said above, we’re feeling more optimistic now and that’s what counts most 🙂 I’m focused on enjoying my pregnancy vs. being scared to death every waking moment as I was the first trimester (and with just cause).
My first concern is, obviously, the health of my baby girl (you heard me right, it’s a GIRL! :))
If the genetic testing we had to do had any silver lining (and it was a pretty horrific experience, I will say that and spare you the details … ) it was that we got to know the sex at just 12 weeks whereas usually you have to wait til an ultrasound at 18 or 20 weeks.
And as a recovering/recovered disordered eater, I wanted to bring my readers up to speed with how I’ve handled pregnancy so far and how I see things playing out over the next six months. I think it’s safe to say I’ll probably always be a work in progress, but I feel pretty good about where things are now and where I’m headed.
First, I feel cool, calm, and collected about food and exercise. My top priority is my daughter’s health … and while the notion of deliberately gaining weight (for any reason, for anyone) is daunting … in this case, it’s the ultimate gift/sacrifice … and I’ll do what I need to do with love.
Second, though the changes in my body have been minor so far and a little scary at times (being out of control is NOT something I handle well), I’m loving seeing things change. I feel more womanly already! From what I’ve heard and experienced thus far, pregnancy is basically surrendering control. And I have a heightened sense of awareness about this that I hope will help me through whatever we may encounter going forward.
Third, I feel like this whole experience (the testing, the waiting, the imminent weight gain) is going to be a good challenge for me with the most beautiful reward at the end: life. This forces me to relinquish my control-freak ways for the greater good, and I feel very up to the challenge.
-I fortunately had no morning sickness (just a little queasiness that was easily cured by honey wheat pretzels or animal crackers) so I didn’t experience what so many other women go through.
-Prenatal vitamins can be gag-a-licious when swallowed the wrong way, and one experience with raw chicken left me gagging … but otherwise, I have been fine with most smells, though my sense of smell is extra-keen right now.
-I admit during the testing weeks, I found myself doing some stress/emotional eating … some candy-buying … some Chex eating (craving cheddar Chex like nobody’s business!) but for the most part, I’ve been trying to eat as healthy as I can, and for the most part, sticking to the nutritional requirements range my OB recommended (which is actually not much more than I was eating on Weight Watchers; about the same as when I was eating Activity Points or in maintenance mode) so it’s very reasonable and I feel balanced and not at all deprived.
-I’m journaling at MyDailyPlate still, but now it’s more for the nutrition information than a calorie count. I want to make sure I’m getting enough calcium; not too much sodium. I need to watch my sugar and carbs intake because I’m wayyyyyyyyyyyy over the recs for those still and I don’t want to end up with gestational diabetes, which appears to be pretty common these days.
– I’m STARVING when I wake up, but then after a meal I feel “full” (something I never used to really feel) but then two hours later, I’m scrambling for something to eat. I still crave carbs most of all. So I snack more than before.
-From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I banned Diet Coke. I’m not saying I won’t have ANY throughout these next however many months, but I have so far abstained. I’m drinking water, SOBE Life Water (the 0-cal kind), Vitamin Water Zero, and the occasional skim chai latte. I know I could have a decaf latte, but it’s not the same …
-Peanut butter and FF Reddi Whip were my vices; now — I’ve had a jar in my fridge for well over six weeks and I just finished it — unheard of before. Likewise, my Reddi Whip fascination has gone to the wayside. Green veggies? I didn’t touch them for the first couple weeks. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of them, but now we’re back to being BFF. Oh and how did I forget OATMEAL — yup, not happening and it was always my go-to breakfast. Eggo blueberry waffles, cold cereals, Greek yogurt with berries, Vitatops, cottage cheese (or some combo of the above–carb, protein, fruit) etc. have replaced that go-to meal.
-Like any good Jew, I have always loved kosher dill pickles 😉 and I’ve been craving them like mad. My husband teased me about buying yet another jar when there was one in the fridge … he didn’t know I’d polished that one off, too! I’ve also craved milk like nobody’s business — so I’ve been eating a lot of Kashi and skim milk and bananas lately. And ice cream — loving Edy’s S’mores ice cream but yes, I still pick out the chunks … what can I say?! (and no, I don’t consider that disordered — I know lots of women who do the same thing!)
-I am trying to still get in some form of exercise each day, but have cut my workouts in half for the most part (though now I’m able to work out a little longer than in the beginning). Frankly, the desire to spend X time at the gym or burn X calories just seems ridiculous and it’s been nice being more flexible about my regimen (though I admit I was frustrated with myself in the beginning and worried I was a weakling — when in fact I was pregnant and tired for a super-legit reason!)
-I try to walk with Rocco and bike when I can, but if I’m tired I don’t push myself like I did pre-pregnancy.
-I can’t really do ab work being pregnant but am trying to lift some hand weights when I’m watching TV since I’ve let my strength training slide the past two years. Just nothing on my back now that I’m in the second trimester (we confirmed some lifting was OK with my OB — my husband was concerned and asked).
-I got a new heart rate monitor (my Polar F-6 died last fall) with my company’s wellness program so now I can check on my heart rate specifically to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard. (I know that “anything over 140 bpm” stuff is an old wives’ tale but I’d still like to keep things in line).
-Pregnancy makes you tired, period. While I haven’t experienced the sheer exhaustion many women struggle with in the first trimester, I have been ridiculously tired for me. As someone who go-go-goes all the time, it’s been tough and I have to say, I’m grateful I’d been doing evening workouts during the work week for the past two years because there’s no way I’d have the energy at 5:15 again to pump out an hour of cardio like before! (Weekends are a different story; 7 or 8 a.m. is a perfectly natural time for me to rise and rev and Rocco serves as a perfect 6:00 a.m. alarm clock!)
-I’ve even found myself conking out at 9 p.m. on work nights or napping on the weekend for a half hour or so. While I know lots of non-pregnant people do this (and I wish I could be one of those people to just relax and nap like my husband — though in his case, it’s the only time he’s not studying or at work so he’s kind of an anomaly but I digress), I assure you, pre-pregnant Melissa did not. Never could. Even when sick, it was rare to find me dozing on the couch.
-I was someone who would skate by on 6 hours of sleep every night, but now I need sleep. Like, NEED it. I probably am getting 7 or 8 hours a night now, but it’s always disrupted. I either am waking to pee 2-3 times a night (but not going for food when I wake like my old midnight eating incidents) or waking at 5 ot 6 a.m. to let Rocco out since my darling husband could sleep through an earthquake!
-Basically, I’ve been listening to my body and just going with it.
WEIGHT & BODY IMAGE
-I started my pregnancy 10-15 lbs. above where I should be, and as of the end of my first trimester, I’ve gained 1-3 lbs depending on the day — so I’d say I’m doing well and handling the scale going up as best as can be expected. It was important for me to recognize that this is different than gaining weight because I was mindlessly munching; this comes with the territory and so I’m doing my best to embrace it.
-I know the recommended amount for me to gain (given my pre-pregnancy weight and body size/type), and I won’t be talking numbers here, but I hope to not go above that– as it will be that much harder to take off. Though I’ve cut back on my workouts, I am still working out almost every day and not eating much more than I was pre-pregnancy, so I’m hoping to continue that trend throughout my pregnancy.
–I have boobs! Can we stop the presses?! For the first time in my adult life, I have a chest and some cleavage. (OK, barely, but it’s there!) I almost don’t know what to do with myself. I am up a cup size — and this is the one thing of pregnancy I wish would last (though I hear, sadly, it does not …)
-I have no waist; it was the first thing I noticed. Bye-bye waist. I admit it, that was hard to see. Even at my absolute heaviest, I had a nice, defined waist. So this is brand-new territory for me. It also means my clothes aren’t fitting right, and prepared for it as I was, that has been a bit difficult for me to grasp. So for an otherwise curvy chick, I look pretty straight right now. And thick in the middle.
-I have a little tummy pooking out! Not a lot — but a little one. I’ll take pics when I’m actually showing; right now I think I look like I ate a little too much pasta or something, but my husband swears he sees a baby bump –I’ll take his word for it 🙂 And while I’d love to be one of those women who just has big baby bump, I’m not sure how my genetics will play out. I’m hoping remaining active throughout my pregnancy will help me gain the necessary amount for my baby’s optimal health, without over-doing it.
-I’m very glad I had to buy a few pairs of pants a size up this past fall/winter because though they’d been loose, now they are snug! All my clothes are snug. The Bella Band (well, Target’s version of it — BE Band) is coming in handy — I was able to test it out the other day with my favorite pair of jeans and it worked amazingly well. And I did pick up some maternity stuff, but a lot of it was just too big and I returned it, though I kept a a pair of jean capris (soooo comfy!), a few tops, and two yoga-style fold-over skirts.
All in all, I feel good, mentally, physically and emotionally. Though I realize we still have a long road ahead, now that the big testing is behind us, I haven’t been as stressed or doing much emotional eating. I’m trying to listen to my body, to what it’s telling me it needs/wants.
For example, two Saturdays ago I had a sudden burst of energy for the first time in months– literally out of nowhere. I think it was the cool, crisp morning weather? Anyway, I went for a 2-mile run, took Rocco for a long walk, and then did a 30 minute cardio workout at the gym. Nothing big compared to what I used to do in my over-exercising “prime” …
Naturally, my husband thought I was nuts and worried I was over-doing it, but the truth is, after weeks of being exhausted beyond belief after 10, 15 minutes of cardio, I felt SO GOOD, like myself … and knowing the feeling wouldn’t last (it didn’t) I had to take advantage of it. (I do stop, however, on days when I’m not feeling it).
I don’t plan to make every blog post about my pregnancy going forward, but as it’s the biggest thing in my life right now and it IS related to this blog (specially with respect to body image and recovery). I hope to share my journey here and maybe someday, turn it into something bigger! We shall see. 😉
I don’t know much … but I do know that this experience is going to change me for the better, and I’m eager for each step of the way. We have our next post-testing ultrasound on Friday to check on things — can’t wait to see her (it’s been about 3 weeks now!)!
How about you? Do body image issues concern you about pregnancy? How did you handle them, or did it help you recover?