When I first found out I was pregnant, the immediate reaction I had was not one of unbridled excitement. Quite the opposite, it was one of anticipatory anxiety that stayed with me well into the first trimester and only now, at 13 weeks, has dissipated. All tests tracked, everything looked great, my pre-existing nutrition knowledge gave me an above-average understanding of nutritional benefits for mom and babe during pregnancy. So there I was eating all the protein, all the choline, and yet still, unavoidable baseless anxiety.
From the second I started sharing that I was pregnant, the advice from friends and strangers (both welcome and unsolicited) poured in. From must-have products to moms sharing their own nausea experiences (file under “unsolicited”), everyone wants to offer a piece of advice, and it all comes from a good place. And listen, I know I’m lucky to have people who want to share with me. But with all the input, all the personal stories of nausea, and rough pregnancies, and not being able to feed, I just wanted to yell “stop! I will be fine.” And sometimes I still want to yell that (and do in my head).
None of it has really affected me as much as bugged me but the thing I just can’t kick is this anxiety around bonding with my babe. Apps, lactation consultants, my duala friend, quasi acquaintances I only sorta know have all encouraged me to spend 10-15 minutes ‘bonding with my baby’ every day. Well, I don’t know what that means because my baby is a 3-inch fetus the size of a lemon. But I do know I’m not bonding with him. Does this mean we won’t be bonded? And what does bonding really even mean when you’re talking about a newborn. I really do know I’ll know it when I feel it—and I can’t wait for that. But until then it’s one of those things I wish I could be left to figure out when the time comes and not something I’m told to do or think about (or worry about!) now.
Learning to Live With Gestational Diabetes
I never understood the moniker ‘the pregnancy journey’ until I got pregnant with my first and learned that the hills and valleys of those 40 weeks are the very definition of a journey (and I’m only 33 in). There are highs and lows, dead-ends and disappointments, anticipation and relief. And what journey exists without full exhaustion?
Then there are the milestones and markers. At 12 weeks you can give a sigh of relief now that miscarriage risk drops. There’s your genetic testing, then your partner's tests to follow (i.e. more time and anticipation), chromosomal abnormalities-check, and a zillion other what-ifs I’m sure I’ve blocked out. Then, just when you think you’re out of the woods sliding into third, the glucose test for gestational diabetes. This one just ended up being positive for me.
Everyone’s response was “it’s common.” Well, it’s sort of common, but it’s under ten percent. And, more than that, it’s a total nuisance, disruption, and another thing to worry about. Especially if you’re like me and diet is not keeping it under control, so you have to add insulin to the mix. Every high blood test with my home self-pricker is just a kick in the gut and a pang of guilt, which I know is the first of many. This entire chapter of my journey has pumped more cortisol through my blood and made sleep even worse, neither of which help anything.
When my OB told me last week that the next appointment was to stress test, I literally replied, “To stress test me?”
“No, the baby,” she said. Oh right, that makes sense.
I will say there are hacks and nutrition tidbits I’ve picked up along the way. Shopping on Thrive Market has been a God send (I order by ketogenic diet but still check the labels). Finding a protein powder with zero sugar or carbs for breakfasts, which is harder than it sounds. Big shoutout Be Well By Kelly protein powder. And a sweet treat that can satiate without actually having sugar – bless the Glonut. I even bought a treadmill off Craig's List just to make the steps easier to manage!
In all, did I expect my last 2 months of pregnancy to be so trying? I did not. But at the end of the day, it’s my pregnancy journey and I’m proud to own all of it.