26 September 2019

Bump, Breasts and Bread

I've only spent 21 weeks and four days out of my 34 years and six months on the planet pregnant so far, but I can tell you, it’s changed me more than just physically, already!

I’d always been anxious about maybe one day having a baby, but never thought it would be something I’d be capable of. Firstly, emetophobia (fear of vomit) pushed the notion out - morning sickness, being sick in labour, then baby sick - not for me thanks! Thankfully, I’ve not suffered so far in pregnancy with sickness at all, the first trimester was quite breezy compared to some people’s experience. (*plenty of ginger did the trick!) 

Then there was the lack of menstruation for seven years at the worst my eating disorder. I was aware from the start of the crisis that every month I didn’t have a period I was eroding my chance of being fertile. Yet that didn’t persuade me to turn my back on anorexia at the time. Fast forward to 2019, lots of self care I mentioned in my first pregnancy post, and we conceived in May! 

Now the changes to my body. We hear the same old rhetoric from women about how ‘babies ruined their bodies’, society is obsessed with people losing ‘baby bellies’ and dropping the baby weight before they leave the maternity unit. As someone who’s recovered from anorexia - they all set off the alarm bells, everytime. Why on EARTH would I ‘ruin’ my controlled and monitored body? Give it up for 9 months and leave myself with a horror show? Nah! 

But you know what, I’ve been working hard to re frame all that now it's happening. It's part of what my doula is helping with, and why I am going to Positive Birth Groups and embracing positive pregnancy stories.

I am looking at my growing bump in excitement. I’m actually loving having bigger breasts and a big bump is a reminder that Baby Brown is doing well growing in there. Of course That doesn’t come naturally to me, a lifetime of craving no curves and ‘flatness’ takes some undoing, but I’m probably less self conscious of my body than at any time since I was about 10! I’d go as far to say as I’m proud of it. 

What I am more conscious of, and the part of the second trimester playing on my mind is eating and hunger. It’s constant. I am no longer setting the food rules by the clock or just for me. We know anorexia prides itself on the ability to control time and hunger - but no more. I’ve always told myself the story that I’m ‘greedy’, ‘glutinous’ and ‘piggy’ with no self control (despite never suffering with actual binging) but snacking more or adding more to plate bothered me. It still does, making this part of being pregnant harder to deal with right now. 

I am dealing with it, I have no choice - and secretly it is liberating to eat previously ‘banned’ foods - the ones I still banned until May this year! But it’s a work in progress. I’m staying away from counting calories as much as humanly possible and I’m eating when my body tells me I need to (music to my former dietitian’s ears!) intuitive eating, me? I know I’ll gain weight, I have to. I know I’m needing more fuel to grow a human and keep me energized for work. It needs to be a varied diet - with carbs and fats top of the list. I am doing that, eating more - but it doesn’t come naturally. 

Those greed thoughts are there, as are the ones I put into other peoples minds, assuming they’re agreeing. I still hate people commenting on my food and what I am eating, it really does get to me. (Please, don't do it, I am eating more, and differently, I am aware!)

It’s also my changing tastes, I’m going off my usual favourite lunch and dinners and craving more comforting meals, smaller volume, higher calories, like spaghetti hoops on toast and vegan fish fingers and mash. Woah, that's a lot for my head to take some nights, and even if it's tasty, it makes me want to cry when M asks me if I'm enjoying it! 

Yes I am scared about when my midwife next wants to weigh me, I worry about non-bump weight gain, like my bum and thighs, and who knows how I'll feel in February when he's here. But for now,  there’s never been a more crucial time for me to tune into my body and just bloody listen and trust it! I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt for the next 18 weeks and 3 days, because it’s doing something quite marvelous right now. Growing my little man.

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