“You are what you eat.”
I’ve always kind of known that food and health are inter-connected, but it has never been so obvious as the last few months, since I have been pregnant. We normally eat pretty well; we cook mostly from scratch, bake a lot of our own treats, and generally tend towards home-grown, whole wheat, organic, and the like. However, that has always been balanced by an occasional (or not-so-occasional, depending) trip to A&W or some other fast-food joint, the odd store-bought cake, and sometimes even pop, chips, and cookies.
If I eat those things now, however, I suffer. I mean really, really suffer. Heartburn so bad I end up throwing up in the middle of the night, or just plain old nausea that lingers for hours. Greasy fast-food burgers, I can understand, but we got a fresh black forest cake from the store last week, and that was just as bad. Same deal with even a lot of supposedly “good” restaurant food; I am down to about two places in town we can go for a special occasion without running too big a risk of being ill for the next day or two.
What’s even sillier is the range of stuff I can eat, as long as we make it here at home. Chili? Sure. Pizza? You bet. Refried bean burritos with spicy salsa and gobs of sour cream? Bring it on. Pancakes and bacon? Anytime. Grease, spice, whatever; if we make it here, it does not seem to bother me. And yet, some brands of cranberry juice kill me. I just haven’t figured out what the ‘forbidden’ ingredient is…some artificial color, maybe? Glucose-fructose (high fructose corn syrup)? I just don’t know.
I’ve been eating pretty healthily throughout the pregnancy; breakfast is usually organic yogurt with fruit, or cottage cheese, and I snack so much on raw fruit and vegetables that I am currently probably the only person I know who actually gets ten servings a day. My big ‘splurge’ is my evening smoothie, made with frozen fruit, milk, and a bit of sugar. Or popcorn, made on the stove. And, with restaurant food being out of the question, my lunches and suppers are mostly ‘good’ stuff like chili, spaghetti and meat sauce, soups, stir-fries, roast veggies, and the like. I do admit, I eat a fair bit of chocolate, but that does not seem to bother me at all for some reason, and everyone needs a bad habit or two!
There are several other pregnant ladies where I work, and some friends and family as well, so I have had a lot of opportunity to compare my pregnancy to other folks’ experiences. I have to say, I’ve had it easy. Really easy. Enough so that I am almost embarrassed to answer honestly when people ask how I am feeling, because mostly, I feel great, and that’s not the answer folks seem to expect. My morning sickness was a couple months of feeling queasy, which was easily remedied by snacking on fruit and veg. There’s been no swelling, headaches, back pain, bladder issues, constipation, mood swings, or other major misery. The heartburn has all been self-induced, by eating ‘forbidden’ restaurant or store-bought stuff that I knew I shouldn’t be eating. My biggest issue has been pelvic pain, but even that is only if I sit in the wrong sort of chair for too long, which makes it manageable, as I can trace a cause, and do something to avoid it.
Now, having said all that, yeah, I’m still pregnant; there are some odd aches and pains, sometimes, and I don’t have my usual level of energy. In fact, my stamina has gone completely out the window. I get the weirdest dreams, and I have to make sure I pee every time I enter or exit a building with a bathroom, or I end up regretting it five minutes later. I don’t bend so well (it gets hard to breathe), and planting the garden is harder work that it really ought to be. Still, though, for being this big, and this late in the pregnancy, I don’t have much to complain about.
When I say stuff like this to other pregnant ladies, or mothers (especially folks who’ve been pregnant two or three times), I keep hearing “wait until”. Wait until you’re 20 weeks, you’ll start swelling. Wait until you’re 30 weeks, your back will start acting up then. Wait until you’re in your third trimester, you won’t be able to eat a thing without heartburn. So far, they’ve all been wrong. I’m well into my 35th week, and still waiting for all the major misery that I’ve been threatened with. Maybe I’m just exceptionally lucky, but I was braced for a whole lot worse than this, especially considering my age and the terrible shape I was in when I got pregnant in the first place.
Hubby is convinced that how we eat has a lot to do with how good I’ve been feeling. I have to say, I tend to agree with him. Between all the good stuff I’ve been shoveling in there, plus the lack of stress from having Hubby at home and dealing with the majority of the work, I think I have had a lot of advantages that have made this whole pregnancy business much, much easier than it might have otherwise been.
Wait until I’m 38 weeks, though, I’m sure I’ll start suffering then…
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