Friday, October 01, 2010

Babies in the News (Part II)

So these last couple days I've had to take a step back and have a bit of a breather.

I think, as a parent-to-be, I'm desperately worried and anxious about the responsibilities that are going to be coming our way in a few months. Probably a pretty standard response for most new parents, right? My solution for dealing with this worry is fairly typical: I Go To the Literature (as an old professor would say), meaning: read everything about pregnancy and birth that you can put your paws on. There are definite upsides to this approach but the disadvantages are often overlooked as well. And for me, it's the rational perspective that is muddied amid the information overload. I read the article about c-sections and suddenly, my thoughts have turned to visions of sickly babies that are lacking essential gut bacteria. And I know, with all certainty, that that WILL HAPPEN TO MY BABY and he will suffer for the rest of his life. Because it's so easy to forget about the millions of happy, healthy, bouncing babies that came into this world via c-section. Brazil has a caesarean section of 70%? Well, then clearly most of their population is forever scarred. Right?

No, definitely not. 

So my goal for this next month is to keep that rational side of my brain functioning and alert. Take in information and digest it, while keeping a tight rein on perspective. 

In actuality, I was more concerned about the second article, regarding weight gain, than I was about the c-section piece. I tend to view c-sections as surgeries that happen because something is wrong with the birth, they happen out of necessity, and are not influenced by the actions of the mother. (And I dearly hope our hospital has the same perspective on this as well) But, weight gain, that's me all the way. For the health of my baby but also for my overall health. And that's been the toughest aspect to deal with. I think I've generally been ok about my diet (sure, I could always be eating more vegetables. And less ice cream) but I have been lousy these last few months about exercising on a regular schedule. I was doing such a good job, early on in the pregnancy, swimming three times a week at the pool, and walking regularly. But I haven't been lately and that article definitely touched a nerve, and fed directly into that guilt. You haven't been exercising? Well, your baby will be morbidly obese and will suffer for it the rest of his life. Sound familiar? Yeah, it's that perspective thing again. Nevermind that my mother-in-law gave birth to four giant, beautiful babies that are disgustingly healthy. Chris? He has the flu? Ha. That'll be a first.

There's also been a side to the exercise thing that I hadn't anticipated. And it's purely selfish. It's been difficult to watch the horizontal expansion (that is not limited to my tummy region) that has been occurring. Nobody likes seeing their body, at a fairly speedy clip, spread outward.  It's been a little hard on the self esteem, frankly. I wasn't prepared for that and I think my initial reaction was to say: Well, this is what happens to pregnant women, there's nothing I can do about it. But clearly that's not the responsible approach. Forsaking exercise because it's expected that you're going to be huge in every direction is not rational. Or healthy. So that article was a bit of a wake up call. A It's-time-to-get-moving call to arms. 

Which, I think, is probably a good thing. 


  1. goofy woman! go walking. the bigger you get the slower you'll walk but you'll still be getting out there. don't over do it either because you don't want to cause early labor. calm down, :-)

  2. Felicia7:17 PM

    Sonja, Baby J will take after its mum and dad--beautiful, healthy and athletic! You are doing a great job just by thinking about these things. The babies those studies talk about are born to women who don't know anything about nutrition.

    Plus, even if you ate no sugar whatsoever, your body would still gain what it needs to gain. I think you can definitely make yourself gain too much, but unless you're starving yourself, your body will prepare for the baby.

    As far as the self-esteem/body image stuff, I didn't get stretch marks until I was measuring 42 weeks along (at 34 weeks with my twins). I never thought I was all that vain, but those angry purple stripes made me cry. Now that the boys are older, the marks have faded and I've adjusted to my new body. It definitely helps that the boys love my squishy belly (yours won't be so bad with one baby) and my husband still thinks I'm sexy.

    Keep up the good work and go easy on yourself. You'll be second guessing yourself for the next 18 years.

  3. *Disclaimer: Yes, I realize I have not (yet) had children*...but I soak up health-related info like a sponge...

    And I have read, and heard on first hand accounts, that the continuation of healthy exercise will, in many (if not most) cases, usually pave the way for a speedy delivery.

    You'll do swimmingly well! (No pun intended...ok, maybe a little :))

  4. You are much too hard on yourself. Honestly, a good walk each day is plenty of exercise. If you do too much you can really wear yourself out and cause more harm than good. And if you ever want diet advice I have TONS after being on the Gestational Diabetes diet. (Read - the way pregnant people/regular people should REALLY eat.) I can tell you what my meal plan was if you like.

    But, all I did was walk and I gained weight perfectly, and my kids are fabulous.

    And remember...pregnancy is beautiful. It truly is. Embrace that growing belly, boobs, butt, and whatevers. They are proof that your child is a healthy growing machine in there! :)

    And I second the go easy on yourself. And for goodness sakes read less. ;) You'll psych yourself out further!