March 6, 2013

Balance

I can't believe it's March already. Being able to say "I'm due next month" is both relieving and entirely terrifying.

I'm excited to get to know the little boy who loves to kick me in the side first thing in the morning, who jumps around when I drink cold water, whose hiccups never fail to put a smile on my face. Matt and I talk often about him - what he might look like, whose nose he will have, whose hair color, whose eyes. We think about what his favorite color will be, and hope that he likes Star Wars, and wonder what he'll be when he grows up (my vote is for him being first Jewish astronaut on Mars). We still say "the baby" or "the kid" or "Nugget," and it's exciting to know that in a month or so, we will be able to switch over and say his actual name.

Still, it's scary, and there's so much that has to happen in the next seven weeks. There's work, and figuring out what we're going to do in terms of maternity leave - it's coming together, slowly but surely. We're nearly done unpacking and getting settled in our new apartment, so now we can work on getting baby stuff together - knowing we had to move, we decided to wait on most things so we would have less to move. My cousin is organizing our baby shower, which I'm incredibly excited for - Matt bought me a beautiful red dress for Christmas that I feel entirely lovely in, and I can't wait to wear it and be surrounded by people I love, celebrating me, my beloved, and the little one made of the best of both of us.

One of the most exciting things, though, starts this week: every Thursday night this month, we'll be attending parenting classes at the hospital where the baby will be born. I had asked my midwife, Tracy, if we'd be able to tour the birthing center before Birth Day, and she said that and more would be included in these classes, which are free to patients at the clinic where I see her.

Tracy takes incredible care of me, particularly with regards to mental health, since I've been completely open with her about the struggles I've had with accepting the weight gain and other body changes that have come with pregnancy. She has expressed a great deal of concern about my postpartum care, and she has connected me with many resources, including the parenting classes, to help me find balance with my mental and physical health after the baby is born.

One of the concerns she's expressed is that I'll be too restrictive with calories in an attempt to quickly lose the baby weight. She reminded me that the daily calories I'll need for breastfeeding are even more than I currently need for actually growing the baby, and it's incredibly important to make sure I'm not only eating enough, but eating well-balanced meals. As the lactation consultant at the clinic mentioned, everything that I do for this baby is perfect. The human body, as I've come to truly appreciate over the past seven or so months, is an incredible machine capable of amazing things. The milk that I will make for my baby will be nutritionally perfect because taking care of this basic need of his is entirely crucial. That said, the food I put into my body doesn't really affect the milk at all - even if I ate nothing but junk food, the milk would be perfect. The sacrifice, though, would be that my own body would suffer losses to make sure Baby is cared for - the calcium would come from my teeth and bones, etc. When I eat well, it is self-care.

I'm concerned about the same things as Tracy, and am trying to set up plans for myself so I don't go overboard with anything, thus hurting myself, my son, or my relationship with Matt. It's so hard, though. I want to run so badly, even though I know I'll have to start entirely from scratch and it will be quite a while before I get anywhere near my personal bests. I want to run races - I want that feeling of accomplishment as I train, race, and then cross the finish line - but I also know I don't want to register for anything before I know for sure what my body is capable of. And I want to lose weight for all of us - to feel my best again, to look better, to be more confident, and to set a good example for my son - but I am coming to terms with the fact that this time will not be the same as the initial weight loss. There will be new challenges, new priorities.

As always, I seek balance. The next few weeks have a good deal of physical preparation on my plate, but also, I'll be laying a lot of emotional foundations. Mainly, I'm working on accepting that the number on the scale will drop, letting go of expectations for how fast it will happen, and loving myself unconditionally in the meantime. I wasted a lot of my pregnancy hating my body for how it looked, instead of loving it for the beautiful thing it was accomplishing. I will not continue to project negativity. I'm not always happy with the way my body looks right now, but I absolutely refuse to let my experience and the memories of the beginning of my son's life be marred by something so temporary as my relationship with the number on the scale.

10 comments:

Sarah Kopf said...

You're on the home stretch now! Enjoy EVERY SINGLE moment!

Sarah
www.thinfluenced.com

timothy said...

just think how awesome it'll be to run with one of those high speed strollers made especially for runners! you're gonna be a great mom and i KNOW your kid is NOT gonna be a couch potatoe he's gonna be active mentally and physically...........soooooooooo happy for you! xoxoxoxo

Alizey said...

You will run races again with time. And between breast feeding, chasing a toddler, and all your health education you will be able to drop weight the healthy way.

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Even the one person we think has the most perfect physique, smile, eyes, hair, etc, still has a hang-up about SOMETHING about her body. Sounds crazy right? It's nice to see you've settled in to relishing the changes your body is going through BECAUSE you have created a little life! I'm so happy you're in the home stretch and will be meeting Nugget face to face soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you guys as the time to meet your son draws near! I know it's be such a hard journey for you, and it's great to hear that things look like they're coming together so well now.

As my annoying unsolicited advice nugget of the day I will say this: I was so looking forward to breastfeeding Reagan when she was born - At first I had been adverse to the idea (neither Brad's mom or my mom breast fed, so the idea was a bit foreign to me), but after reading all the health benefits, weight loss benefits for mom, etc, not to mention the financial benefits (BF'ing is FREE afterall!), I was determined. During my few days stay in the hospital I must have had at least 20 nurses, lactation consultants, and anyone else they could find squeezing on my breasts, pumping milk, helping with latch, etc...There were a million gadgets they tried. Unfortunately after 3 days, Reagan had lost 10% of her body weight, and we decided to supplement with formula. Once I was home, we couldn't afford the fancy pumps, and the manual pump was a nightmare to get less than an ounce of milk. So I did make the hard decision to switch her to formula. I tell you all that just so you know that if it doesn't work out for you to BF for whatever reason, don't beat yourself up. I did, and felt like a failure, but it wasn't a huge deal in the long term. Rea DID get the colostrum that she needed, and never had an issue on formula. My brother and I were raised on formula and we're kind of normal, lol, so I knew that it couldn't hurt her.

I just wanted to let you know that in today's world where the opinion has been switched to breast milk is best (which I TOTALLY agree with) - if you CAN'T, just remember that it's your love and affection and nurturing that is important, no matter where her milk comes from.

Ok, I'll step down from my soapbox now. ;)

Moving More said...

Please be careful looking for too much perfection. I was an avid breast feeder with my first child. 2nd wasn't a very good experience. I spent a lot of time wondering what I did wrong instead of enjoying the special moments. Food can have an effect on your breast milk. You will learn through trial and error . ENJOY this time and don't get lost in doing things a certain way. You will find your way!! You are an athlete that is tackling a different race. The road races will be there soon and you'll have a training buddy!

NicoleEric Kobaly said...

Congrats on your little man on the way! I've been catching up on your blog for the last couple weeks and I have to say, you are an amazing inspiration. And being that I'm due to have my first baby around May 3rd, I understand some of the struggles and stresses you've been dealing with. I had just started walking to try and get healthy when I found out I was expecting our little girl. And then, finding out I had partial placenta previa, I was told no extra activity. Since I was inactive before finding out, I wasn't allowed to continue any form of exercise program other than some stretches. I'm looking forward to getting my little one out of me and into the world, for her health and mine. I will be restarting my journey to health and fitness as soon as I get the go-ahead from my doctor. But in a slow, reasonable pace. And hopefully, I will become that healthy mother I always wanted to be. One day at a time, that's what I tell myself. One day at a time.

didi_buttonsley said...

Hi, I've never read your blog before, but found you through Ellen's blog.
This post was really moving to me, and I'm glad that you shared all of this. I'm happy for you and your husband and your son that you found a great midwife who is not only there for you for your pregnancy and labor, but is making sure that you will be taken care of afterwards too.
Your body has carried you through so much! Remember that you and your body are strong, and what your body can do is completely amazing. You're making a brand new person in there!! That is so flippin' cool it just blows my mind.

Check out this site- there are some really neat stories and photos, and I find a lot of it really inspiring.
http://theshapeofamother.com/

Didi
http://driftwoodandsealingwax.blogspot.com/

Tim said...

You're an incredible person and you will be the perfect Mum for the little'un. Exciting times for you and your little family.

Wendy said...

I had bariatric surgery 3 years ago as part of my plan to be able to get pregnant. And it worked! (Along with a ton of fertility treatments) My beautiful baby girl is 7 months old now and I couldn't be happier. But it was weird to have had so much success in weight loss, only to turn right around and gain a bunch of it back during pregnancy. And I was super freaked out about how and how fast I could lose the baby weight.

But the other commenters are correct - it will come off. Especially if you're planning to breastfeed. It is amazing! I couldn't believe how quickly my weight started dropping. And don't give up on it, it's not as easy as I thought it would be, but don't give up on it. It's a wonderful thing.

I'm sure you're overwhelmed with advice, but here's one more little bit. Get as much sleep as you can. I know it's cliche, but OMG you must sleep. Any time you can, take a nap. Accept help. Let people help you with dishes, laundry, etc. And take as many naps as you can. I didn't listen to this advise when it was given to me and I should have.

Good luck. You can totally do this!!