Pregnancy or: The time when everyone has an opinion for you.

Pregnancy

Well, I am happily 17 weeks along. We waited until week 15 to tell anyone. After the first few fuzzy, joyful days of having finally shared our secret, then I started feeling the “I have good intentions, but I am concerned and so I will give you all my opinions/old wives tales about pregnancy.” Here are a few things I have learned as well as a little ranting.

Morning Sickness:

I never had morning sickness. Which was the first question everyone asked me instantly. I told them no… to which everyone replied “You are SO lucky!” Am I? Or did my diet help me out too? (My mother and both grandmothers were sickly during early pregnancy) Maybe I was just lucky, maybe there was something else to it. I can’t be 100% sure. I just can’t seem to imagine our cave women ancestors or the women in Africa suffering from puking all day and night. It seems to have developed in the “civilized” world. Now, I’m not saying women who get morning sickness have done anything wrong, I don’t believe that at all! In fact, I feel sorry for anyone who has to go through that, that’s horrible. I did have several days of CRAZY woman depression, uncontrollable sobbing and over reacting. Which usually always happened one day during my (time of the month.) But more extreme. So I totally feel the wrath of hormones too, ladies. But let’s just challenge the idea of morning sickness. Let’s not just accept it and expect it. Let’s take some steps to hopefully avoid it, or fight it.

I stayed on my same diet, and I included magnesium baths, and magnesium oil to my routine. I had also taken a lot of herbs to help my hormones before conceiving. I had an herbal tea cocktail of Maca root (hormone health, fertility), Dong Quai (fertility), North American Ginseng (vitality,immunity), Hibiscus (flavor, among other benefits). I also do not have any caffeine in my diet, except for small amounts occurring in teas (rarely.) I drank Ginger Root tea every few days, (even though I did not feel sick), it is helpful for digestion. I also drank Red Raspberry Leaf which is an all around woman’s tea. You can continue drinking this throughout pregnancy.

Slowed Digestion:

What I was not expecting was the slowed digestion feeling, which I can’t stand. I eat really healthy so I’m used to feeling healthy (bathroom wise and otherwise). I had to add flaxseed to my diet, and aloe vera fillet juice at night to help me feel more normal.

Aches and Pains:

I was surprised that my back was hurting tremendously at about 9 weeks onward. I didn’t expect that. The only thing I found helpful was my sweet husband’s massages, (if I would of been more financially able though, I would have seen a chiropractor early on, even an acupuncturist would have been helpful as well I believe.) The other thing that helped a little is stretching before bed, and when I woke up. I also used Arnica cream, which ended up being my friend for massages! I also had severe tailbone pains, which I couldn’t find anything that helped really.

Sickness:

Man do I get furious when somebody gets me sick. I spent all year not getting sick this year, until I was already pregnant. Great. Of course it was the only time I’ve traveled so far, a 12 hour drive. I had a hellacious cold. I loaded up on lots of home made chicken and bone broth soups, and hot lemon and honey water, and probiotics. That’s all I could do. It was miserable. I knew I didn’t want to go to the doctor, and I definitely didn’t want antibiotics. It was horrible, and I was pissed off the entire time. My only advice is to avoid the sickness before it starts, because our immune systems are weakened for the baby. I guiltily had cough drops, (which I don’t like to take anyway) and I just grit my teeth through the week and a half long sickness, cursing whoever left the house sick, didn’t wash their hands, or coughed all over something I touched. I always wash my hands, especially in the gas stations. I ended up still getting sick. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do before it happens apparently.

Frequent Bathroom Trips:

I can’t give any helpful information about this. As most of you know I have a condition called interstitial cystitis that I constantly battled, along with pelvic floor dysfunction. So I already had to avoid alcohol, caffeine and bladder irritants before the baby. I do practice pelvic floor exercises. I think everyone should really, it’s a very important part of our bodies, and trust me… it’s absolutely a miserable nightmare to have a bladder constantly active and/or painful, making it hard to even live a normal life. Do the best you can and take care of your pelvic floor and bladder!

Some of my thoughts and opinions on society and pregnancy:

I don’t understand or agree about weird old wives tales/society’s beliefs about pregnancy. It is a joyful and strange time so far. Only strange because of people’s opinions. Every woman is different, I can’t speak for everyone, only myself. I’m not trying to be offensive, but this is really serious to me and it gets me thinking about our culture.

I don’t understand why everyone seems to think all of a sudden my core beliefs and self control have changed. I keep getting asked by concerned people close to me about making sure I’m staying healthy “for the baby.” Wait… I’m a holistic nutritionist! I eat healthy for me and I have for years, it benefits my baby too!
It makes me sad when people say that… because my hope for people is that they want to be healthy for themselves, for their families, for their bodies… and to stop those evil fast food corporations making billions off of obesity and disease.

I didn’t become a different person, I’m not eating healthy just to feed my little baby as if I’m just a carrier.

I am not just a carrier of my baby.

This is my lifestyle, my deepest beliefs. I didn’t jump on some trend, healthy food is a big part of my life, it brings me joy. I didn’t lose all control of myself. I still haven’t eaten McDonalds in 7 years… and I still won’t ever. My body will never “crave” that. Some things I believe wholeheartedly and nothing can change it. I encourage everyone to consider giving up fast food whether or not you are a woman or a man.

Just because I have someone else to care for, doesn’t mean that all of a sudden my body is a trash can that I shove a bunch of weird cravings and junk into. I believe in the power of the mind, and the body. I’m not scared of my body, I am part of my body. I control what I put in my body with my mind, and I have changed nothing, not a single thing about my eating habits. I’m really proud of that actually.

Women, your body is so amazing and beautiful that it can grow life! How amazing is that?

I believe to love your body fully and completely, you must treat it right. You feel good after eating some fruits and yogurts, vegetables. You do not feel good after eating a greasy meal. It’s not as natural.

Don’t underestimate the power of the mind. If you are craving chocolate, have a piece of organic dark chocolate, it’s good for you, and for your mood! If your craving junk, your body really needs something else. Think about it before you indulge. I’m not here to be a jerk about it, but try not to use the pregnancy thing as an excuse for everything. Be selective!

If you want candy, have some fruit instead. Drink some water, see if your still thinking about what you wanted before. Exercise your self control for not only the baby, but for you as a woman who wants to feel good about herself. Vitamins and minerals are important, not just for the baby, for you too!

I haven’t experienced cravings…

At least, not what it is portrayed to be through movies and our culture. I have not woken up at 3 in the morning wanting ice cream, just like I don’t when I’m not pregnant. If you are eating a balanced, healthy diet… I don’t see why ice cream would even pop up in your mind, it doesn’t pop up in my mind! If I want a cookie I will have one, and why not? An organic cookie is good sometimes. I don’t completely deprive my body, nor do I let it do whatever it wants.

My mind, my body.

I have read some AMAZING stories about the power of the mind. I have done juice fasts before. I’ve done a 3 day juice fast. I decided a 3 day was best for me and my body, and it was a very good experience for self control, will power and perseverance. Also if anybody has read any of Ina May Gaskin’s books, that’s awesome! She tells many stories about how women are so scared, their body stalls in childbirth. Once women she says “opens up” and surrenders to the birth, boom, the baby is born. I’ve also read many stories about how even illness can be moderately controlled by the mind. That fighting spirit of, I’m not going to get sick with this cold, helping people have speedier recoveries from illness. And on the same spectrum, those hypochondriacs that always think they are sick or are getting sick, then they end up being sick more often than normal people, a sort of willing it into happening, if you will.

My Plans:

I plan on a natural birth.  I will go into a freestanding birth center, believe I won’t have any complications, try to embrace the experience, and be as relaxed as I possibly can be, I will believe it won’t take long and everything will go fine, and I will be fine. My mind will make this happen, and if anything does go wrong, then I will deal with it and try to stay as un-panicked as I can. The hospital won’t be far away, and I will keep it pushed out of my mind unless something does go wrong.

I am not better than any other woman or weird because of wanting a natural birth.

It’s not some badge of honor I will parade around and act like I’m better than anybody else. It’s not an endurance test or bragging right because I don’t want an epidural or medications. I just happen to feel safer, more comfortable and more relaxed in a more dimly lit environment where I can move freely and take a bath if I want (my natural pain response, especially with my bladder pain.) I want to be treated like the respectable, capable adult that I am and not strapped down with my legs spread wide open like an animal. I don’t want people telling me when to push or not push, my body knows better than they do. I don’t want a bright light shining on my wide open legs while I’m in the most vulnerable position ever, with strangers coming in and out of the room. I don’t want someone reaching their hand down there and letting me know how “progressed” I am. That is way scarier to me than any amount of pain. I want to keep my self worth and be respected.

Breastfeeding, Formula feeding:

After the intense labor, I refuse be judged or verbally or physically manhandled about breastfeeding. I’ve read many stories about nurses forcing it while the mother is horrified and scared. Nobody can just touch and pull my breasts without asking me, okay?!

This has turned into another weird bragging right. I will breastfeed my baby maybe for a month, maybe for 6 months. The amount of time I do it is not dependent on my existence or journey as a mother. Maybe I won’t breastfeed but I will exclusively breast pump. Maybe I won’t have enough milk one day and will have to have an organic formula on hand. Everyone has to do the very best they can do without causing so much anxiety that they develop postpartum depression and/or drive themselves insane about everything which is also harmful. Balance is so, so important.

As natural as I am about everything, I also believe that it’s not healthy to mentally exhaust and beat yourself up because of one thing you didn’t do the way you wanted to or didn’t turn out as you’d hoped.

I happen to be someone who is extremely shy, and modest. The idea of breastfeeding in public, for me, gives me an anxiety attack. I won’t want to breastfeed in public or around people, it feels too personal for me, even around my own family, I feel anxiety about that. That is my personality as an independent human being who is trying to figure out motherhood. I have intense anxiety at the idea of strangers being anywhere near my exposed breasts, they are still my body, after all, a private part of my body. Maybe I will enjoy pumping for the freedoms of it. I am the mother, I make the best chioces I can, leading them in a healthy direction and setting the best example I can for their health. Whether I breastfeed, for how long, or whether I pump, I am the mother, I follow my instincts.

I refuse to make my choices based solely on the judgements of society.

When my baby is ready for foods, they’ll have some nice home made organic vegetable purees to eat.

Last words:

I won’t read a bunch of anxiety ridden books, or watch anxiety ridden Hollywood movies about birth. I won’t read any extra books or information that I don’t need to. I will read one or two books that match with my beliefs, and know what to expect without over complicating everything. I will still keep eating healthy, and not worrying every day and stressing out about if I’m getting enough of which nutrient, and I won’t worry myself about diseases, sicknesses and defects. I will do the very best I can and think the most positive thoughts about the baby’s health, and do everything I can while keeping a safe, relaxed environment for the baby. I won’t get any of the “tests” or do anything invasive to the baby, I won’t even get an ultrasound just to predict their gender.

I will do my best.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not ready if I’m not worrying.

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