Your online grocery cart is already pre-stocked with berries, bok choy, salmon filets, cacao nibs, quinoa, celery, and lentils. You’ve already paid for unlimited prenatal yoga. You spend your afternoons unboxing prenatal leggings. You will have the perfectly plated pregnancy, as far as nutrition and fitness are concerned.
HA HA HA HA.
Bam. One minute, you’re researching choline in pregnancy and vowing to make a dill rosemary omelette, and the next, precisely at Week 6 of your pregnancy, you’re horizontal in your bed/on your bathroom floor heaving and whimpering while you pathetically suck on a lemon peel and stare desperately at your anti-nausea pressure point magnetic bracelet willing it to work. “I would never take a pill while pregnant” morphs into “I don’t care if Zofran is Category B for pregnancy; I need it on auto refill.”
Before my son enjoyed ruthlessly torturing my décolletage while nursing with his rogue baby hand, he played some intrauterine tricks on my food intake. And completely leveled my nutrition plans for pregnancy.
It is a nasty myth that pregnancy illness is confined to mornings or the first trimester only. I was bedridden with nausea from Weeks 6 through 16. It felt like a 24-hour stomach virus. I was on every herbal and prescription med. Nothing touched it. I was a hair away from a Zofran pump being embedded into my stomach. I was even hospitalized with a coincidental stomach virus WHILE I was already horrifically ill.
All of my food and fitness plans, neatly gridded into Excel sheets and online shopping orders, disintegrated.
It was a hard pill to swallow (no pills worked on my nausea!). I had to roll with the punches and capitalize on ANY food I could tolerate, be it Golden Grahams, bagels and cream cheese, and cherries (but no other berries, oddly). Gallons of milk a day were okay but couldn’t look at yogurt or kefir, which I normally plow through daily. I could eat wonton soup and egg rolls but not matzo ball soup. I couldn’t bear to even envision myself eating 95% of the normal, nutrient-dense, awesome foods I normally consume daily. Eating half an egg per day was a protein win. A “snack” could be 15 Cheerios and a Saltine or two. A sheet of graham crackers was a fine breakfast.
NOTHING challenges Intuitive Eating, my personal and professional nutrition philosophy, like being pregnant. I and this now thankfully well-nourished baby of mine are living proof. We are living proof that there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT PREGNANCY EATING!! (Or “perfect” eating in general.) Ten weeks of subsisting on bagels, cream cheese, Cheerios, cherries, scant amounts of peanut butter, bananas, and some milk–and I never had a nutrient deficiency.
Props to my husband who ambled downstairs to make my half a PB + J sandwich at 3 AM when I would croak about how nauseous I was and had to eat every 90 minutes, oddly, to fight it.
Props to you surviving and eating ANYTHING (safely) during your first trimester (and beyond).
Nourishing yourself during pregnancy can mean letting go and allowing yourself to submit to the awesome changes within. Even if that means 16 weeks of Golden Grahams.