Peter and I when I was just pregnant with my first, Oliver-the vomiting had not yet begun!
My first pregnancy was pretty tough with daily vomiting continuing until I was 28 weeks. Not fun. At. All. It also meant living on walkers, dry biscuits and dairylea (whatever I could stomach) daily and sadly no exercise (even a ride in the car induced puking).
I put on a healthy 2 stone whiles pregnant but after my emergency C section which was highly traumatic*, I struggled and put on a further stone (breastfeeding equalling weight loss didn’t work for me).
My choices weren’t particularly healthy it must be said, they were all about survival but I ended up feeling really uncomfortable physically as well as emotionally post birth, 3 stone bigger than usual and overweight for my frame.
Fine you say, you had a baby. And yes, I high fived my womb but when I remember how tough life was in those early months, to feel bigger than you feel comfortable made life that bit harder. It’s true.
This time round, I’ve felt totally different-no sickness, lots more energy and generally happier: different baby, different pregnancy. I’ve craved salads, fish, brown rice with soya sauce and lots of fruit (I know, mental right!). Feeling well has also meant gentle exercise too and of course running around after a toddler means being more active generally (no choice there).
I remember how hard it was for me to lose my baby weight with Oliver-a year of pounding that treadmill and swimming like a demon-and to be honest I’m hoping this time round won’t be as hard. I’m a healthy weight, I eat a lot but mostly the good stuff. I’m no way starving myself or dieting. My bump comes first, always- and I believe no one should deny themselves in pregnancy or otherwise. If I want chocolate, I eat it (usually the dark variety).
I suppose I’m just making more careful choices-eating balanced meals bursting with flavour, so I feel better and to help me if I get OC (a hereditary pregnancy liver condition) again in this pregnancy. The weight needs to come on regardless, it’s not about being tiny in pregnancy, it’s about feeling good- sugar has never been my friend and those energy slumps and irritability on top of hormonal nosedives need to be avoided where possible. For my husband’s sake at the very least!
Let’s not pretend though that pressure doesn’t exist for ladies to look great in pregnancy in the same way it does in everyday life. Celebrities make it look easy (insert Victoria Beckham) but they have teams of staff to look after them pre and post birth (sashimi and frozen grapes on the tap for VB don’t you know). Leaving hospital in Loubs and size 6 jeans shouldn’t be the prime image drummed into new mums’ minds-it’s hard enough anyway without that.
Googling healthy eating in pregnancy directed me to articles on Pregorexia, which saddened me massively. Yes some of the affected women suffered before pregnancy but for some, the immense pressure to be slim throughout pregnancy leads to extreme, dangerous dieting. Hospitals are trying to help, not weighing women frequently in pregnancy and offering advice on healthy eating throughout but the pressure is apparent and it’s real.
For me, I’d like to think it’s about balance-eating well most of the time if you can when pregnant and then 9 months on, 9 months off (or however long it takes) if you choose to lose the baby weight afterwards.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
Photograph ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.