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.