Thursday, June 01, 2006

You are what you eat...

Two posts in one day! The sky must be falling!

In addition to adopting the sleep habits of a toddler, I also seem to be taking my eating cues from them as well. Toddlers tend to eat in spurts. You'll see them consume enough food to feed 5 hungry teenagers and then switch to a diet that would barely sustain a gnat. Research has shown that, in fact, over the course of a week, a toddler does actually consume enough calories that it averages out to being sufficient to their needs. I seem to be on the same eating plan. There are days where anything beyond 100 calorie packs and gingerale is far beyond my reach and others where 1 pizza just isn't enough. I am a little worried about what will happen if that glorious no more morning sickness day ever comes and I actually have to monitor what I eat. Will I just be so accustomed to eating when I can that I will manage to pack on 30 pounds in the last trimester?

I am actually finding my weight issues to be a bit of a social embarrassment. While most of the other mommies are trying to come up with ways to consume healthier calories and are how to keep their weight in check, I really need to know how I can pack in the most caloric punch. There is currently much discussion about how to stay hydrated while not packing on pounds (water, water, water) but gingerale is still my lifeline. If I cut out my gingerale (and how I long to do so), I would lose 300-400 calories a day which often means the difference between maintaining my weight and starting to loose. While I am trying hard to not worry about my weight gain (I have had some modest weight gain so, I haven't crossed the crucial line of losing weight) and continue to repeat the mantra of "if the doctor isn't worried, I don't need to worry," it would be nice to be able to find someone who has had a similar problem. I'm far from experiencing the hell that is hyperemesis gravidarum but, I'm also not in a situation of needing support to curb my cravings. I'm also lucky in that most of my cravings are relatively sensible and have a clear relationship to vitamin and nutrients my body needs. To post questions about such matters as what foods have the most "good fats" and which are most calorically dense to the pregnancy boards feels like a definite faux pau. So, does anyone have some advice beyond eating dried fruit and milk shakes?

In a related issue, something a friend said at one point in her first pregnancy has always stuck with me. She was well into her 7th month and stated that she could tell that "the baby was stealing" referring to noticing loosing fat in some areas to feed the baby. I found the comment somewhat jarring at the time but assumed it was because it was a period when I very much wanted to have a baby but health issues were preventing it and I found her pregnancy a little difficult for me all around. I assumed that should I have my own pregnancy, I would be more understanding of the sentiment. But now that I am pregnant and noticing some areas getting bony as my body supports this baby, I still find it to be a very irritating comment that has stuck with me. I consider it to be upon me to be sure that the baby gets sufficient calories and nutrition and have a great deal of difficulty seeing my failure to take in enough calories as somehow being the baby "stealing." Further, my friend didn't have nearly the difficulties eating that I have had so, for her, maintaining a balance of calories in/calories out was completely within her control. I wonder if it speaks to differences in how motherhood is perceived. I very much want to maintain my own sense of self and identity beyond "mommy," at the same time, I look at my role, for the next several years, to mainly be a mommy. The extent that that role shapes my life is within my control but my life will now be molded around the mommy role. For instance, I have a very thorough knowledge of the many advantages of breast feeding which will result in much loss of night time sleep and a very real time-limit to how long I can be away from the baby. At the same time, I have a very clear understanding of what a lack of down time or predictable sleep cycles have on my mood. If it comes to a point that the choice is breastfeeding or a sane, stable mommy, sanity wins hands down. With my friend, there was a more implicit feeling that the children were important but were expected to work around the rest of her life. While I think that is a valuable goal, particuarly as they grow older, and constant care is no longer needed, I'm not sure how much I can get behind this as a rearing strategy for infants. However, please note, this is not to say that all children should have one parent devoted to their full-time care, it is much more a matter of how you perceive your children's impact on your life. The contrast between looking at children as needing to fit into your existing life or looking at your life needing to fit around your children. I'm not even sure than one is better than the other and, as I don't actually have a child yet, it is all highly theoretical on my part. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.


Chic Mommy said...

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I gained exactly 40 pounds. I didn't have trouble putting on weight because I consumed alot of pasta with cheesy sauces and for some odd reason, craved steak and smores throughout my entire pregnancy. My baby still was born 7.5 pounds, but I gained 15 unnecessary pounds. Breastfeeding helped burn off most of the pregnancy weight, but I was left 10 lbs. over my pre-pregnancy weight. As I was trying to lose the extra weight after weaning him at 12 months, I became pregnant again with twins. The second time around I had a hard time putting on weight. I had only gained 17 pounds by the time I was six months, no one could tell I was carrying two. I just wasn't very hungry and the doctors started putting me on a "watch list" because ultrasounds showed my twins were very underweight. I tried eating Wendy's burgers (the double or triple patty ones) because I was trying to get more protein and upped the pasta and rice for carbs. I also indulged in fries and pizza. It wasn't the healthiest way I guess, but I ended up gaining enough weight in the last trimester to get to 38 lb. total weight gain, and both twins were born normal at 40 weeks weighing 5 lbs. 10 oz. and 6 lbs. respectively. Maybe it was just the last trimester that helped.
but in hindsight, I would have probably layed off the fries and focused on more whole grain pastas, lots of rice (white rice isn't as bad as it's made out to be) and grilled chicken. Also, drinking milk and eating yogurt and cheese is a great healthy way to get protein and good baby building fats. A bowl of cereal is an excellent snack between meals as well.
Hope your pregnancy goes well!

Becky said...

Thank you so much for the advice. I am definately eating pasta but I've been light on rice. I will have to give it a shot! I also haven't been eating nearly the yogurt that I could be. And speaking of s'mores, I must remember to pick up the s'more making at the grocery today... :-)