Just popping in to share something that I’ve been thinking about recently.
Because I’m pregnant, I get a lot of questions about my weight, appetite, and food cravings. Yes, my eating has changed during pregnancy—I don’t want nearly as many vegetables and I crave a lot of savory foods over sweet foods, but I don’t really have any crazy cravings (other than the hotdog craving for awhile—I’m not the biggest hot dog fan) and the amount of food I eat hasn’t changed exponentially. Yes, my appetite has increased, with a noticeable difference the past few weeks, but it’s not a crazy amount (but know that this is my experience. If you ARE extra hungry a lot of the time, that’s okay—you’re body obviously needs more fuel. Hunger is not a bad thing) . When I hear people talk about pregnancy cravings, I wonder if it’s because of the social allowance that pregnancy is the one time in life you can truly eat what you want “without the guilt” (this is society’s view, not mine). I think restriction in the rest of their life and the social permission to honor cravings during pregnancy then results in going a little overboard. Because I honored my cravings and desires before getting pregnant, that hasn’t changed and I don’t have to “take advantage” of this time. I can honor my hunger and cravings after having Camden.
Then there’s the contrast in social expectations of moms after having their baby. While they are growing a baby in the womb, it’s perfectly fine for them to eat what they want, honor their hunger, and gain weight. BUT once that baby comes out, the expectation is for mom to start watching what she’s eating, to decrease food intake, and to lose weight. It blows my mind because once Cam comes and I’m breastfeeding, I’m going to have MUCH higher energy needs than I do now. Yes, I am growing a human right now, but he’s much smaller than he will be when he comes out and starts gaining weight and growing. I am eating for two right now, but I will really eating for two when he comes out. So why in the world should I be eating less after he’s born?? And in order to sustain a milk supply and feed this human, I have to have adequate fat stores, which means potentially not losing all of the baby weight that my body is going to lose until after he stops breastfeeding (I’m not putting pressure on my body to get back to what it was before pregnancy—I have no idea what my body wants to do after pregnancy).
It makes me sad that mom’s have the social expectation and pressure of losing a bunch of weight and getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight right after having a baby when really they need the permission and freedom to honor their hunger, respect their cravings, and have the adequate fat stores needed to feed their child and to take care of their mental and physical well-being.
P.S. If you’re a mom and you chose not to breastfeed your child or had complications doing so, I have no judgment for you. You also deserve to feed your body adequately, honor your cravings, and give it the time and rest it needs in order to nurture your baby and yourself.
And again, if you ARE hungry all the time, there is nothing wrong or broken about it. I’ve had days and weeks of noticeably increased hunger and then days and weeks of less. I don’t put judgement on either one, I just listen and respond accordingly.