There are two ways of dealing with pregnancy.
1. Spending nine months treating your body as a sacred vessel and as such only filling it with healthy things, like kale and whatever the hell quinoa is.
2. Spending nine months daydreaming of the time when you were free to slowly destroy your body with ingredients that technically should never be ingested by a living thing. And occasionally choking down a stupid carrot.
I, believe it or not, am of the latter persuasion.
(Also, this just in, the Pope is indeed Catholic).
Yes, as it turns out, if you were not a particularly healthy person prior to pregnancy, the adjustment to the pregnancy lifestyle can be quite a shock. For instance, here was my food pyramid for most of my adult life:
And here is my food pyramid now:
As you can see, I’m still not as healthy as I could be. But it is a vast improvement. And I was actually quite proud of myself for giving up the majority of my vices (granted I still drink a little bit of coffee every morning but that’s more to protect the lives of everyone outside my uterus). Yep, I was feeling pretty good about how my pregnancy was going…
…that is, until my doctor called me fat.
OK, OK, let me clarify since my husband is reading this over my shoulder and keeps insisting that’s not what “technically” happened. “Technically” she said that…I will too use air quotes in a sarcastic manner, babe…because regardless of what she actually said it was inferred that I was getting fat…oh it was too…well, it’s my column so I’ll tell the story the way I want to…well, stop reading over my shoulder then…yes, I really am typing out my half of this argument…hell yes I’m going to leave this in the final draft…well, stop trying to edit my version of events…truth, schmuth, what I’m doing is reading between the lines, which is at the very heart of journalism…no, you’re the boogerface…I will most certainly not tell them you didn’t actually call me boogerface. I can make you say anything I want…BABE! I can’t believe you just called me ugly! How can you be so cruel!?! I’m pregnant with your child, for crying out loud!…
Yep, that did it. He’s gone.
Anyhoo, as I was saying, at my fifth month checkup, my doctor “technically” said that since they recommend women only gain 20 to 30 pounds during pregnancy, I appeared to be “on track” to “gain more than the recommended amount” by the time I “squirted this kid out my lady parts.”*
*She may have said that last part using more sophisticated medical terms, but remember people, it’s all about reading between the lines here.
Translation: She thinks I’m getting too fat.
Which hey, I know she’s just doing her job and it’s much healthier for both mom and baby if the pregnancy weight gain is kept under control. But I couldn’t help but feeling like I should get a free pass on this one. I mean, for starters, I wasn’t overweight before I got pregnant. But more importantly, those cigarettes and that evening
bottle glass of wine and the daily coffee intake of 40,000 mg of caffeine had to be replaced with something.
And all I had left was food.
And yeah, sure, “technically” that food didn’t have to include quite so many cheeseburgers but while everyone seems more than happy to talk about what pregnant women should or shouldn’t do, no one seems to talk about pregnancy being an extremely stressful time. Especially if you’re a first-timer.
You are now intensely aware that everything you do, every single day, has a potential impact on a tiny little human. If you don’t exercise enough, it could affect the baby. But don’t make yourself too tired, or it could affect the baby. If you eat too much, or eat too little, it could affect the baby. If something goes wrong with your teeth, it could affect your baby. If you get too hot, it could affect the baby. You need to eat fish so the baby’s brain doesn’t grow in crooked or whatever. But not too much fish and not certain kinds of fish or the mercury will make an arm grow out your baby’s forehead. Don’t be around too much secondhand smoke or too much pollution. Stay away from microwaves. Diet drinks will, in fact, affect your baby. As will fruit you didn’t clean well enough. And whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS OUT ABOUT ALL THIS BECAUSE IT COULD AFFECT THE BABY.
So when you have to give up all your former stress coping mechanisms, sometimes a girl just needs a steak the size of small-to-medium country to cope.
A few extra pounds be damned.