Why am I sharing this on an eating disorder blog? Because it very much applies to eating disorder recovery. Pregnancy and eating disorders share many themes related to our relationship with our bodies - everything from what we eat to how we feel.
We all will inevitably experience changes in our bodies over time. Most often, these changes are gradual and part of the aging process. But sometimes they are drastic. The point is, as your body changes it’s important to listen to what it tells you and to honor it’s ever-evolving needs.
Here’s what I’ve been learning lately...
- I’m hungry, like REALLY hungry. Breastfeeding makes me waaaay hungrier than I was during pregnancy. This is totally normal, but it freaks a lot of women out. There’s so much pressure on women to “lose the baby weight” after pregnancy. I am a member of an online mom’s forum and one of the most popular threads right now is about how to lose weight after delivery. What makes me the most sad to read this is that these mommas delivered their sweet little ones less than a month ago. Give your body a chance to heal, ladies!
- Maternity leave does not = home cooked meals. (Unless someone else cooked them for us!) It would stand to reason that if you’re home all day you could find the time to cook dinner every night, right? HA! It seems like every time I attempt to cook dinner, that’s when baby decides he needs my attention. Rather than beat myself up, I am learning to embrace it and let other people bring us food, or let my husband cook, or we just use convenience items like frozen lasagna with a bagged Caesar salad kit. Turkey sandwiches and take-out are a no-fail options at our house as well. As long as we are all fed and can eat dinner together whenever possible, I can live with that.
- Quick and easy snacks are a MUST. Bonus points if they can be eaten with one hand while holding the baby. Hence, I’ve been relying on things like energy bites (those yummy oat balls that look like raw cookie dough), cheese and crackers, cereal, nuts, various protein bars, and the brownies my friend brought us 🙂
- It’s ok to eat at odd times. When I’ve been up since 4am, I might be hungry for lunch at 10am and that’s fine and dandy. This will inevitably result in having more than one afternoon snack to get me by until the rest of my family is home for dinner. Again, no big deal. I’m also known to eat in the middle of the night if I’m up breastfeeding - in fact, I’m often ravenous during this time! So I snack while he eats, and we both go back to sleep for a few hours (hopefully) with full bellies. Sure, I don’t usually eat at 2am, but if I’m awake and hungry it’s going to happen, guilt free.
- Take it slow. My physical recovery from this delivery has been much more difficult than it was with my first child. As unnatural as it feels to me, I’ve had to take things slow. In a culture that tells us that productivity is so highly valued, it isn’t always easy to slow down and “just be.” I keep reminding myself that months and years from now I will have no regrets if I spend my entire maternity leave snuggling with my newborn and accomplishing little else. This remains a daily struggle for me though. For instance, I started writing this post weeks ago and am just now publishing it (when typically I write and publish in the same day).
Pondering life lessons and articulating what you’ve learned is a useful exercise in self-reflection. What are some lessons you’ve learned about yourself lately?