Spoiler: I do not have gestational diabetes. <collective sigh of relief and DEEP RESENTMENT FOR MY UNNECESSARY SUFFERING>.
Which provides the most obvious, natural and totally-not-cumbersome-at-all transition to today’s inspired discussion: pregnancy fitness and weight gain.
Otherwise titled: why every pregnancy book seems to want me to go bowling.
Ah, pregnancy fitness. Pregnancy weight gain. Pregnancy shape and body image. Let’s just all hold hand and sing kumbaya, shall we? <deep breath>.
When I was struggling with infertility, I used to make bold proclamations – if I could just get pregnant, I wouldn’t care what the physical cost was; I wouldn’t care if I had to spend 9 months projectile vomiting, on bed rest; I wouldn’t care if I gained 85 lbs and was never able to see my toes again; I wouldn’t care if all my hair fell out and my entire body was riddled with gestational acne. Just get that baby in me!
Of course, as with most reckless proclamations and appeals to the universe, reality was slightly different. The first trimester was a nauseated mess of an affair, full of bland carbohydrates and sea bands and shingles and mystifying rashes. It was also a time of completely disrupted exercise because TIRED! and NAUSEATED! and did-I-mention-I’m-creating-human-life-over-here?!
I slept, I ate a lot of spaghetti, I took a reckless backpacking adventure on a deserted island, then I ate a lot of potato salad. For good measure. And then, because of it all, I gained nearly 15% of my body weight in 21 weeks. I was, ahem, a bit of an overachiever on the early weight gain front.
Let me be clear: I was and still am very happy to be pregnant. But, simultaneously, for the first time in all the joy and the surrealness and disbelief, I was also uncomfortable. My sudden it-appears-she-has-eaten-many-burritos gut, while a nice reminder of my freshman year of college, was new and strange. My relationship with food and exercise was upended and I began to envision my future 85-lbs-heavier-never-sees-her-toes-again self.
Meanwhile, everyone wanted to talk to me about pregnancy fitness. My downstairs neighbor, who just delivered twins, cornered me on every occasion to EXTOL the virtues of pregnancy swimming. Buoyancy! Weightlessness! Wearing a bikini! My fellow pre-natal-yoga attendees – most of whom were much further along than I – provided carefree and almost blasé accounts of their practice of Bikram until they were basically 39 weeks and pushing. A colleague of mine – apparently limited in the benefits of self-awareness – yammered on about how amazing it was that she had three kids and no stretch marks and it was all because of
genetics some convoluted
pregnancy exercise regimen that I could never quite pin down. And then there
were the books and websites. For reasons that are beyond me – and likely have
to do with the endlessly entertaining image of a pregnant woman rolling a bowling ball that might aswell be under her shirt
– every book and pregnancy website devoted an unusual amount of type to
assuring pregnant women everywhere that BOWLING
WHILE PREGNANT IS TOTALLY FINE. SERIOUSLY
Falling under “sports you may want more information about” (because, okay?) Your Pregnancy Week by Week offers the following gem of wisdom: “Bowling is OK (caps in original). As balance changes, bowling could be more difficult for you.” I’m pretty sure that the normally-sane-and-not-bananas Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy even devotes space to this hot-button issue. And I’m not even going down the rabbit hole of internet pregnant-whilebowling tirades. See here, here and seriously, how could I not mention Yahoo Answers, HERE.
But where was I?
Body. Weight. Fitness. Right. Well, a funny thing happened at about 18 weeks: I started to feel like myself again. Vegetables were appealing; I returned to working out regularly; I no longer felt like I had been hit by a truck, I began (mostly) sleeping through the night, etc.
And then, after rapid early weight gain and not having made any dramatic changes – save returning to how I ate, exercised and (more-or-less-plus-heartburn) felt pre-pregnancy – I completely by accident went four weeks without gaining any weight and am now being admonished to shovel whole eggs and cans of tuna down my gullet. Well then.
I guess my point is this <brace yourselves we’re going deep>. The ebb and flow of pregnancy weight gain is not an exact science. Sure, if your body is a body that follows the book of all things pregnancy, you should be gaining about a pound a week at this point. But my body – and if I had to guess, most bodies – don’t work that way. My own ebb and flow and trying to give my body what it wants – which, in the first trimester was basically pad thai, potato salad, and sour gummy peaches – has also been a reminder to trust that my body actually knows what it needs – something of a Sisyphean struggle for anyone who has struggled to get pregnant.
But here I am. Thinking creatively about how to incorporate 70 ever-loving grams of protein into my diet and contemplating whether or not to take up bowling.
|Snapped haphazardly as I was running out the door to work yesterday. |
(Professional photog in the making, obvs.)
 Listen, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “Kumbaya BabyTV” either. But now we’re both better off because of it. Is that a flying octopus?
 Like so.
 Because apparently someone would want to buy this photo?
 I refuse to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting because that particular breed of fear-mongering is too much even for me.
 I’m not proud, but I am honest.