When it comes to pregnancy, everyone experiences it differently. While others may have it harder than others, just being pregnant is something to be excited about! Luckily as modern moms we have unlimited access to information readily available to us via the internet! And if you’re anything like me, an overthinking, worrier, plan-out-everything person, then you’ve probably scanned Pinterest and Google to find answers to your million pregnancy questions. Usually finding articles like “Medications that are safe to use during pregnancy”, and “What not to eat while pregnant” that outline what we should and shouldn’t do while pregnant.
Now don’t get me wrong, these articles are helpful, and I am not here to tell you that being pregnant isn’t a good reason to avoid heavy lifting or standing all day because that just wouldn’t be the truth. And that isn’t what this post is about! Let me start by giving you a little background from my own pregnancy experience.
I found out I was pregnant with little Jamie September 2015. I can’t tell you whether or not he was necessary planned -LOL- because I would ask Brian for a baby one week, then tell him we should wait the next. So when I found out I was prego, it wasn’t much of a surprise. In fact I pretty much shrugged my shoulders and thought “Sweet, I guess it’s our time to have a baby!”. Excited for our new addition to our little family, I immediately started taking prenatals and calculated my due date. I also dove head-first into Pinterest, excited to actually read those articles I had posted to my “Preggers” board. And of course, I purchased What to Expect When You’re Expecting the book my mother swore by. A few days later, when the actualization that I was really pregnant set in, I did a self assessment.
All through high school I was healthy and active weighing between 125 to 135 lbs at 5’9″ tall. After high school I maintained my good eating and exercise habits through my first year of college, and married my husband at 135 lbs. Although determined to avoid the common newly-wed weight gain, going out to eat soon replaced going to the gym, and resulted in 20 pounds of weight gain! Ugh, I felt disappointed to say the least, but I still fit into my clothes and was enjoying married life so I pushed off the gym and healthier eating to deal with later.
Well later never seemed to come, and now I was pregnant and reading how increased activity could have a negative affect on my pregnancy! Of course we all know that we gain weight while pregnant, about 25 to 30 pounds on average. So delivering my baby around 160 pounds was an idea I had already accepted long before I became pregnant, but delivering 180+ pounds was not! I felt totally stuck, I had already gained weight and was only going to get bigger! How would I know (now being almost completely sedentary) whether or not adding a light jog or even a few mile walk would negatively affect my baby? So, worried and not willing to chance it, even though I now know that this “increased activity” I was so scared of was actually just heavy lifting, I decided to stay inactive.
Right around six weeks I started experiencing morning sickness, which we all know doesn’t just occur in the morning! My entire first trimester I struggled to keep anything down and wanted nothing else than to stay in bed and sleep in hopes of ridding myself of the nausea. If you’ve ever experience morning sickness, you know it’s hard to eat anything. Personally I think it’d be easier just to not eat anything, but this isn’t about us, it’s about your baby. So when something finally sounds good enough not to throw up, you go and get it! If that was a Mcdouble, I’d get a Mcdouble or two, or three.
When my second trimester rolled around, it knocked out the morning sickness with it. I continued to eat what I was craving because of course I didn’t want to deprive my little one of any nutrients he may have lost during my first trimester! My mindset was, “I’m just going to eat what I want, and not think how much or how often I am eating.”. Justified by my 15 lbs of weight loss I had had due to the morning sickness, the phrase “I’m pregnant” became my go-to explanation as to why I was eating so much and so poorly. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong either, in fact I thought I was doing the opposite. I was simply supplying my child with what he needs to grow healthy and strong. We see it all the time in the media, women eating anything and everything at all hours just because their pregnancy cravings tell them to.
This mindset slowly lead me to an extremely large portion, mostly fast food diet. I knew the negative effects this could have on my body and the little nutrition for my child, but I chose to ignore it. Insisting that this is what my baby needed! When I knew in the back of my mind it wasn’t. I stopped looking at the scale, I even stopped taking pictures of myself. I knew I was gaining more weight than I should have, but without an extreme over-night change, I figured it was minimal. That was until my baby shower. I was 32 weeks pregnant and excited to see all my friends and family to celebrate this little guy! The whole thing was a blast so the next day I wanted to post a big “Thank You!” to all who attended via Instagram. I had my mom send me over some pictures she had taken at the party but after receiving the pictures, I was shocked. Did I really look like that?
I was huge! I felt so self conscious and a little embarrassed. But instead of going home and starting fresh by improving my diet and adding simple exercises to my daily routine, I ran to buy even larger clothes and stopped socializing. My self esteem shot through the floor, and my desire to get ready in the mornings vanished. I was so mad at myself for letting myself go after marriage, and not trying to be better even after I became pregnant. What could I do now? If I was concerned before that adding exercise to my routine would harm my baby, I was even more now that I had gone my whole pregnancy without it. I didn’t want to induce labor by starting an exercise routine now and risk a premature delivery. So, I didn’t, I continued life as unhealthy as before like nothing had happened.
I was induced May 21st and had my beautiful baby boy at 37 weeks. We spend 2 nights in the hospital was like our own little sanctuary away from all other worries. Just me and my new little family. If they’d let me, I probably would have stayed there for weeks instead of days. Coming home brought an onslaught of new emotions of breastfeeding and making sure Jamie was breathing at night because yeah, I worry like that. And of course the negative thoughts about my body crawled back into my mind. Before leaving for the hospital I had weighed in at 185 lbs (45lbs gained during pregnancy) and coming home I was 165 lbs. This, for now, put my worries about my body to rest, “it’ll all come off now, I can start a good diet and exercise plan as soon as I get into the swing of things.” I assured myself.
Well there isn’t much getting a swing of things with your first baby. Everyday is different and after months, and a big move from Utah to Kentucky, I never started my diet and exercise plan. Jamie is 4, almost 5 months now and my scale now reads 185. I can’t help but look back and think of how silly I was being. How many times did I say “Oh, I can’t or shouldn’t because I’m pregnant.” when it was really my pure laziness that got the best of me. I look back and think, was I really concerned for my baby’s well-being, or was that just an excuse? Any right-minded reasonable person would now that adding a walk or jog to my routine wouldn’t have effected my pregnancy in a bad way! How was eating everything in my reach good for my baby?
My pregnancy was a rollercoaster of weight gain and weight loss full of spiraling hormones, as it is for many. In the end there isn’t much you can control during your pregnancy, so it is important to focus on things you can! Like your activity level and what your put into your body! Now I don’t want you to think I wrote all this just to say “avoid getting fat while pregnant”, again that isn’t what this post is about! I know my main rant throughout my story, as I told it, was my weight. Yes, I meant the number on the scale but I also mean the inability to do things I use to easily do, the tiredness I felt, and almost above all the feeling that I didn’t know my body anymore! I had let myself down, and it took me my whole pregnancy to realize I had done it to myself! So I’m writing this post to maybe help others from doing the same!
Why You Shouldn’t Use The “I’m Pregnant” Excuse:
To over eat
Weight gain is good during pregnancy, we all know that! You may be eating for two but what does that actually mean? Packing on too many pounds increases your chances of gestational diabetes, hypertension and complications during delivery. Plus this increases your likelihood of getting stretch marks and also leaves you with a lot more to lose after delivery! Here’s a tip! If you’re at a healthy weight then you don’t need to add any calories the first trimester. Your second trimester you should add about 340 calories a day and 450 calories a day your third trimester. Let’s not go too crazy, pregnancy doesn’t justify those two orders of loaded cheese fries.
To be lazy
This can be hard. There are so many things we are told not to do while pregnant that it is sometimes easier to not do anything! Especially around your third trimester when you feel like a watermelon with legs. It is important to keep yourself moving during pregnancy. According to research by Daily Mail, all that laziness can lead to depression, muscle loss and blood clots! Pregnancy does not equal automatic bed rest! Get up and get the remote yourself dang it!
To not exercise
Going right along with laziness, pregnancy also isn’t an excuse to not exercise! Staying active through your pregnancy can help you to carry your pregnancy weight better, prepare your body for the physical stress of labor, and can make getting back into shape easier after delivery. When fitpregnancy.com asked John Higgins, MD, director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, whether some work outs were safe while pregnant he said, “Exercise intensity should not exceed pre-pregnancy levels,”. This to me was an excuse to not have any physical activity because I pretty much just sat on my butt all day pre-pregnancy. Dr. Higgins isn’t talking about adding in a walk around the neighborhood with your mommy friends. He is talking about those awesome crossfit moms who are lifting heavy weights everyday! They are safe to lift as long as they don’t up their weight too much. Adding a little yoga or some squats isn’t going to danger your baby! So get up and get moving, it’ll help your self image too!
To make bad food choices
Your cravings tell you to eat Chick-fil-a and Taco Bell everyday? That doesn’t mean you should! My favorite combo was a Papa Johns pizza with Panda Express chow mien, talk about a hefty meal. Thats not to say you should never give into your cravings, you deserve them once and a while! But when you’re eating mountains of calories with little nutritional value to you or your little one, you need to reevaluate what your eating. This is for your baby? I don’t think so! It is important to give your baby the nutrients they need like folate, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber. Pregnancy shouldn’t turn you into a human garbage disposal! Fitpregnancy.com has a great guide for eating healthy while pregnant! Seriously go check them out!
Because it kills confidence
Using your pregnancy as an a excuse to do any of the above can cause complications with your pregnancy and will only kill your confidence and self worth. I can’t tell you how drastically my image of myself changed during my pregnancy. Sure it had to do with my looks and excessive weight gain, but it mostly had to do with who I had become! I wasn’t the girl to eat fast food for weeks on end, spend all my free time on Netflix, or sneak a popsicle break into my midnight bathroom break! Those darn pregnancy bladders! I remember going to Sam’s club with Brian and secretly wishing I could get 2 pretzels instead of one with my soda and pizza slice. Are you kidding me? First of all, have you seen the size of those slices, you need a pretzel with that? And who eats two soft pretzels at Sam’s?! That is when I really knew I had to make a change. I needed to get my life in order, back to the gym and back to watching what and how much I ate. I hated looking at myself in the mirror, because all I saw was someone who didn’t care about them self. How could I have let it get that far? That isn’t me!
I have just started, almost 5months after delivery to finally make a change. I am going on walks out here in beautiful Kentucky and even add some jogging in the evening. I am also watching what I eat which has already done wonders for my confidence. I look back and wish I could have just done things differently, but all you can do is move forward!
If you have already poorly used the “I’m pregnant” excuse, make today your day! Start today by eating better, go for a walk, do your hair and makeup , BE HAPPY! Run around with your little one and above all love yourself! You are beautiful, remember what these 9 months were for! A beautiful child that’s what! Don’t let these minor set-backs ruin your future happiness! Being pregnant is hard, and sometimes it takes all we can do just to get through those 9 months. We all experience pregnancy differently, and being pregnant doesn’t mean we can’t continue to have fun, relax little, and enjoy ourselves! From my experience, I believe It does however, require that we be more aware of how we do these things! Using my pregnancy as an excuse to be lazy and eat poorly, negatively effected my body image, personal relationships, and motivation. It has taken everything in me, but I am now slowly making a conscious effort to get more healthy and especially love myself again!
If you only get one thing out of this post, I hope it is this: take care of your baby by taking care of yourself! I know it will save you some emotional heartache, and physical stress! Becoming a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me! Letting the careless things I did during my pregnancy interrupt that happiness was a mistake that was 100% avoidable! So this I urge you:
DON’T USE THE “I’M PREGNANT” EXCUSE!
Let me know how your pregnancy went, or is going! Do you have any pregnancy tips or tricks? Comment below and share the love!Cassie Jean