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?
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.