Today a colleague who hadn’t seen me in over a month told me, “You look really healthy.” I told her it was the nicest compliment I’d gotten so far in my pregnancy. Early on I got a lot of “You look tired” (is that ever appropriate??) and lately a lot of “Wow you’re getting huge”. Or alternately, “Your boobs are getting huge.” (They’re not incidentally; it’s a pregnancy illusion. I’m wearing the same bras I was before I got knocked up.)
Point is, I’ve never really liked people commenting on my weight. It’s fluctuated a fair bit in the last 10 years and even well-meaning compliments strike me as odd. It took me till age 29 or so to realise, I don’t care about being skinny, so much as being fit and healthy.
During this pregnancy though, it’s been a challenge, but I’m working on it. I go to yoga once a week, try to do 30-45 minutes of dance aerobics at least 2-3 nights a week, do 15 minutes of dumbbell reps every other night, walk 20 minutes to the train station every morning and try to get out for a walk on my lunch break when I can. As for my diet – vegan, alcohol and caffeine free, and about a month ago I went off refined sugar. I keep my processed foods to a minimum, take a daily multi-vitamin and try to pack in as many nutrients as I can.
Breakfast every day is a bowl of fortified Uncle Toby’s bran flakes with sultanas and almonds, sometimes with banana, a spoonful of LSA, fortified soy milk, and a shot of Vitamin D. Most days, salad or mixed greens with tofu for lunch. We mix up the dinners but it’s usually quite veggie and legume heavy – lots of broccoli, spinach, chickpeas and lentils. I try to keep sensible snacks on hand – whole grain crackers, nuts, fresh fruit (mostly berries) and muesli bars.
For all intents in purposes I am trying to live as healthy as I can. And yet, there are still days when I just feel like shit.
Last week I think I was having a growth spurt and came home one day in tears. I was having bad cramps and having to walk at about half my normal pace or else I’d get winded. I felt like a big, waddling ball of hormones. I thought, that’s it. I’m done. Halfway through the pregnancy, and now I just feel like ass for the rest of my life. I wondered how I could be doing all the right things and still not be able to handle this.
But a few days later I was back on the yoga mat, back in my dancing shoes. It was just a phase, it seemed. And now I’m realising, I’m just going to have days like that now. I can work as hard as I can and at some point I could still end up on bed rest. I’m going to get winded more easily. I am going to be ginormous with back aches and swollen ankles.
Not being able to control these things is a really hard lesson for me. I’ve always been the “if it’s not working, fix it” type. But parenthood is really all about not being able to fix things. Pickle could be born with a disease, a heart defect, a learning difference, any number of things that I won’t be able to change. There will be times when Pickle will cry and nothing I try will make it stop. There will be a million and one challenges in my child’s life that I may not be able to help them overcome.
All I can do is my best. So you’d better believe I’m going to keep up the exercise and salads while I still can… and as for not beating myself up too much when I can’t… well, I’m working on it.