Monday Musing: Social Expectations on Prental Vs. Postpartum Moms

Just popping in to share something that I’ve been thinking about recently.

 
I give myself permission to honor my hunger and cravings now AND after having Camden..jpg
 

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).

 
What new moms really they need the permission and freedom to honor their hunger, respect their cravings, and have the adequate fat stores in order to feed their child and take care of their mental and physical well-b.jpg
 

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.

I've got a secret to tell you...

I've got a secret that I've been keeping for awhile that I'm excited to finally let you in on.

These past few months have been pretty rough. Not emotionally rough, but physically. I've dealt with a lot of fatigue, nausea, high food aversions, an expanding wasteline, and general feelings of blehness...Yep...I'm PREGNANT!!

 
We're having a baby.jpg
 

Tomorrow I will officially be 13 weeks and out of my first trimester. Phew!! You have no idea how glad I am that it is finally here. I'm FINALLY starting to feel more like myself, which is such a breath of fresh air. Who knew you could accomplish so much when you actually have energy and don't want to vomit?!?

We actually found out when I was only three weeks pregnant (um, say what?? how is that even possible? that's actually really only one week of being pregnant 😳). I was noticing some body changes (I think my chest size doubled overnight) and I had to pee ALL the time. Then when I didn't start my period, I thought something might be up. I took a dollar store test on Sunday, and when it was positive, rushed to the store to get a second. Sure enough, it was positive too! I cannot even describe how sweet Isaac was when I told him. He was ELATED! For the next few days every time he would look at me he would just smile and then come over and shower me in kisses. So precious. I'm not going to lie, it came as quite a surprise to me. And I freaked. Isaac and I knew we wanted to start a family in the near future, but I was training for "one last half marathon before having a baby" and wanted to have a full year of private practice under my belt before having a baby. But the Lord obviously had different plans, and I know that this child is going to be the best blessing ever.

So what has pregnancy been like for me? Like I said above, not super fun. I pretty much had nausea 24/7 from week 5-10 and am still dealing with it off and on. I'm such a pansy when it comes to having the stomach bug, and that's what it felt like for me all the time. I didn't want to do ANYTHING. I've taken a LOT of naps over the past few months. And there have been many nights where I've gone to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Oh wait, it was that way before I got pregnant 🙈. 

 
We're having a baby
 

Y'all, it's CRAZY what happens to your body during pregnancy. I knew that we don't have much control over our bodies, but pregnancy has really magnified that for me and it's something that I'm having to learn to go with the flow with. Nausea and fatigue? Of course I knew of those. But heartburn in the first trimester?? And night sweats? Oh dear, what else do I not know about?!? 😳I am having to constantly learn my body as it changes from day-to-day and respond accordingly.

Which brings me to food. Food has been tricky. I went from being extremely nauseous and not wanting food to being extremely hungry (you know the hungry where you feel like you're gonna vomit? that kind of hungry) but still having major aversions. It made eating really difficult. And really unenjoyable. Guys, I have lived off asiago bagels for the past 7 weeks. I have had at least one a day because it's about the only thing that sounds good. I've also discovered quite a love for sweet tarts 😉. At first it was a little concerning that I didn't want a single vegetable (barf) and that the only things I thought I could stomach were white (or sour candies)--bread, tator tots, french fries, etc. But then I realized that it is no big deal. So I don't eat vegetables for 12 weeks! Not gonna kill me. I am so incredibly grateful that I have incorporated intuitive eating into my life, because without it, the last few months would have been incredibly stressful. I knew that at some point, I would want to eat vegetables and fruits again. I knew that I would want more fiber-rich foods. But I had to give my body time. And I am so grateful to say that I AM wanting some veggies now. I'm really grateful that I have been able to give my body what it needs when it needs it without second guessing how it is that I'm hungry 2 hours after eating breakfast. Or that I essentially want dinner leftovers as an evening snack. These past few months have been such a blaring example of how freeing intuitive eating is for me. It's hard to understand my ever-changing body, but I have given myself grace for the times when I haven't met its needs exactly (example: overshooting hunger and then going to bed and having acid reflux--unenjoyable for sure, but it doesn't mean I'm a failure).

 
My lifeline....

My lifeline....

One half topped with avocado and pepitas, the other half with cream cheese, egg, and chicken sausage

One half topped with avocado and pepitas, the other half with cream cheese, egg, and chicken sausage

 

As far as body image goes? If I'm 100% transparent, I was trying to come to terms with my body still changing before finding out about the pregnancy. So with pregnancy, I've experienced a lot of bloat and my waste simply getting thicker. It's been difficult not to have clothes that really fit my body. But I am learning to accept my rapidly changing body size/shape. My body is changing for incredibly good reasons--it's growing a human. But to be proactive, I bought this book after seeing that Kylie Mitchell read it during her pregnancy too. I've only read the first few chapters, but it's really nice to know I'm not alone in what I'm experiencing or feeling. It has also been super empowering to read. Guys, our bodies can accomplish so much and that is something to be thankful for and proud of!

 
We're having a baby
 

Well, that's all for now! I plan on doing some pregnancy updates in the future. I don't really know what my fall will look like or the months after having baby, but I'm just going to take it one day at a time.

Caio!!