My husband has started referring to me affectionately as ‘The Toast Monster’. These first few months of pregnancy have seen me gracing the kitchen one, two, maybe three times a night to devour endless rounds of spelt toast as the only route out of morning sickness. Aside from retiring to bed at 8pm (on a good day) and one early morning when I drove around town ready to gag, searching for an open store and then ended up stuffing my face with frozen bread in a parking lot, it’s been a pretty simple first trimester.
The ‘inedible’ foods.
People ask me all the time what I’m craving. I’m pretty sure they’re hoping to catch me red handed with a greasy burger as I ditch my love of clean food. Sorry guys. Rather than crazy cravings I’ve just had weeks where the range of foods that sound edible is very very short. (In my most lowest moment, chocolate coconut ice cream was the only food in the entire house that made it on the edible list.) Right from the start artichokes were off and have stayed off. My veg box yielded 10 green and purple beauties one week and I handed them over before they even touched my kitchen counter. No way.
The ‘inedible’ list has varied day to day but the only other constant has been protein powder, a challenging item to lose. Over the years I’ve learned that my body has a high protein need so while I eat a high protein diet, I still supplement with a hemp or brown rice protein to boost my intake. Well, no longer baby. To go with that, I usually trust lots of dark greens for my calcium and avoid dairy but with days when I couldn’t stomach dark greens and with my extra need for protein I’ve added dairy back into my diet. After giving it up five years ago I always wondered if anything would bring me back and I was convinced not. However, I’ve been eating a lot of organic cottage cheese (still check the ingredient list – they can be scarily long even in organic versions) and grass fed yogurt and skyre by the bucket! Happily my body is doing well with it, I don’t get bloated and I get the cleanest versions I can find so I feel good eating it. I don’t think dairy will become a life long staple again but I want to make sure my diet is everything it needs to be while I’m growing a second human. Of course I’m also cutting out all the usual no go’s. Understandably, different people take different stances but I’m sticking to it all. Knowing myself, I can get caught up in worrying so I chose not to give myself any grounds for worry and eliminated all the suggested no nos. All my yolks are solid, there’s no batter bowl licking going on, no aiolis or hollandaises, no smoked salmon, no caffeinated coffee, no soft cheeses, no stevia, limited fish, ‘well done’ has taken the place of ‘rare’ for meat, and a non food item but I’m staying clear of the heavy weights in the gym too. Pretty much all of those are tough for me!
Exercise is always a part of my life and I’ve kept it that way so far, I want to stay active and I love working out! 5-6 days a week I put in a cardio session and a lifting session. It’s hard now not to push and challenge myself but I have to remind myself, oh so worth it. To make any weight gain easier to handle, I’m being really careful with my diet. I want to know that anything I gain, is truly for the baby – that way I can love the pounds and remind myself it’s all not about me. If I know there are days of carelessness where I gave in and had half a tub of ice cream instead of taking a moment to blend bananas and make a clean version, I find it harder to love the pounds. So I’m being watchful. Listening to my body is always a huge core value of mine so I’m doing my best to really listen intently in these months, to slow down when I need to, to eat what I need to and when that’s something that isn’t my normal, to be ok with that if it’s really what my body needs. So no mindless eating, just intentional listening to my body, knowing the extra needs and then loving what I eat, and the body that appears with it.
Losing control of my body.
Handing over your body to the growth of another human is definitely a strange process. From the start I’ve been amazed at how, despite my conscious brain knowing nothing about how to be pregnant (or even that I was), my subconscious and body snapped into action and are doing the most perfect job of turning this frame into a baby growing zone. I’m in awe of our bodies and what they are capable of. Despite really looking forward to getting pregnant, it hasn’t all been awe. I like to be in control and for years I’ve given attention to treating my body well and having it look the way I want it. I’m not ripped but I can see my abs, I can run for miles and I always have energy, and if I ever stop thinking and put on a few pounds I don’t stress I just go back to eating cleaner and get rid of them. Well let’s wave goodbye to having control over this body. Not that I’m giving up but I’m handing it over to another far more noble process. Is it hard? A little yes, and on some days, a lot. When you eat half a loaf of bread to stave of nausea before it’s even breakfast and don’t have the same energy to workout, you gain a lovely layer of squishiness all over – not something I usually let happen. As I write this I have no bump to speak of – the first person who told me I had a bump actually caught me after nights of bread eating and right after I had downed a liter of sparkling water in Target in a parched moment. There was genuinely no bump but a full, bloated belly. I didn’t glow back at them, no I faked a smile and went home and had a ‘moment’. I feel like I should be filled only with joy at the process of growing our precious child but I’ve had to work through my thoughts on a number of occasions. I remind myself, it’s all worth it. So hugely beyond worth it! No matter how squishy I become or how much my eating changes, no matter how many loaves of bread I down before breakfast, or how many stretch marks I earn… I wouldn’t trade this for the world.