Good morning lovely readers! I have another guest post for you today. This is a definite change of pace for the blog, but one I’m excited about. This post comes from one of my best friends, Heather, who I went to grad school with in North Carolina. She is currently expecting TWINS and also just became a registered Architect! I couldn’t be more impressed + inspired by her! Heather writes the blog, girl by the seashore, so be sure to stop by and say hello.
Babies, Body Image, and Making Decisions
Hello all –
Thank you so much for having me today as I’m guest posting for Ashley. It is an honor to be a part of such a wonderful community of bloggers.
My blog is not so much about food, but more about life…my life, to be exact. I try to work in design or pretty things to look at in every post, but the only thing that really seams my posts together is that I’m a 28 year old, married architect living on an island off the coast of North Carolina. While we’re lacking quite a bit of stuff down here (like a mall, a Target, tall buildings, great places to see a band live) we do have stuff like the Atlantic Ocean, the Bogue Sound (another large body of water connected to the ocean), and a laid back lifestyle. I would rather live at the beach and vacation in the city than the other way around.
So, now that you know a bit about me…I’m gonna tell you some more.
I’m pregnant. With twins (you may take a moment…I did).
When my husband and I decided that it was “time” (pronounced like in Steel Magnolias “Daddy…it’s time!”), so did my body. Because I got pregnant immediately. And when I say that, that is what I mean. I don’t often admit that (I know there are many women, including some close friends of mine, and family members, who have had a devil of a time getting pregnant. That statement was not meant to brag or make anyone feel bad…it is just fact). In this way, I know we were very lucky. I know we were. But, in a deep place in my heart…I wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting 6 months to a year of having a great time with my husband before any positive tests.
But alas, that is not what happened. I was pregnant and we were excited (me more so than him).
We go to my first doctor’s appointment and low and behold…..there are TWO. Two heads, two heartbeats, 4 arms, 4 legs. Two babies.
Afterwards, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant (because that’s what we do when we find out big news) and I literally couldn’t eat. I was pregnant with twins and we were excited? (him more so than me).
This is where the body image comes in.
Note: This is NOT going to be a post about the discomforts of pregnancy. We have all read those posts about things a woman’s body goes through (changes that take place, etc) that are funny and sometimes gross and a lot of the times don’t make you want to have children. I didn’t read the whole thing, but I’ve read excerpts from Jenny McCarthy’s book about pregnancy and it really turned me off. So this is not that.
I was shocked about twins, I was. But in my honest heart, I was more shocked about what the doctor told me in our appointment.
You see, I had these thoughts, hopes if you will, about what pregnancy would be like for me. I’m active. I’m a runner. I take dance and hot yoga. I eat reasonably healthfully. I’m not the skinniest person in the world, but for the most part, I was happy with my body. I had been planning to do a triathlon that would have been at about 6 weeks into my pregnancy. I didn’t do it on both my doctor’s advice and the fact that it was my first REAL tri and it was hot and I was nervous.
But, I was ok with all that. I was fine with cutting back a bit, not racing. I was going to run for the health of myself (body and psyche) and my babies. I knew I would have to stop hot yoga (hot + pregnancy = not good), but I was ok with that too. I was prepared for the things that I would have to give up. I love a glass of wine, or gin and tonic in the summer by the pool, chocolate Russian in the wintertime. Give those up? No problem.
It wasn’t until everyone (the hubs, doc, and myself) found out I was pregnant with twins did she say, “no running.”
No running? Not even a little bit? “No,” she said. That was what struck me the most. That’s what put me in the kind of shock that made me not want to eat…not even Mexican food, my favorite.
I had been trying to run and bike and stay fit, but I could tell that my stamina had dropped dramatically. I even had a coworker tell me that I breathed loud at work. And I sit ALL DAY. I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to go to bed at 8pm and sleep all day on weekends. I was exhausted all the time.
This was about the time I began to feel resentment. All of a sudden I wondered why I had to give up so much to have these babies. I felt like I was ruining summer and I live at the beach! All of the normal things that women with Singleton (just one baby) pregnancies gave up were fine with me. I was prepared for those. I was not prepared for this. I all of a sudden felt nothing like myself. I got scared. I wondered if I would ever feel like myself again. Even though I knew I was a mama already, it felt like it had come too soon; it was already taking so much of me because I wanted to stop doing all the things that I loved.
This didn’t help with the body image part. I was reading books telling me to gain weight because of the babes. Odds are, they are going to be in-utero less time than a single baby and they need to fatten up as much as possible. And I was hungry ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I would feel fine about eating whatever I wanted and other times I would berate myself for eating too much. It didn’t help that once I started showing, people would call me fat...literally. The word has come out of multiple peoples’ mouths, directed at me. The people who have said that word have been of an older generation, so I try to tell myself that they don’t mean “fat”, they mean that I’m showing. But seriously…didn’t ANYONE ever tell you that you should NEVER call anyone fat to her face…especially someone who you KNOW is pregnant?
Note: I know this is a long post, and if you’re STILL with me…congratulations! It’s almost over!
Now comes decision time. The first decision I made was to not yell at the people who called me fat…or would ask questions like, “How far along are you again?” As if I was way too big to be only ______ weeks. It was a decision, and I made it. Even though there are still times when I want to say, “I’m pregnant. I’m not fat. I’m carrying on the human race, and I’m actually doing it more efficiently because I’m having two at once. GET OFF MY BACK!”
Just like when I was planning my wedding, I am now being barraged with questions and decisions to be made. This time, it seems that there are MANY more people who have opinions, and super strong ones at that. And with twins, there are less and less people who have actually had the experience that I’m going through.
I was having moments of dread. They were all stemming from unmade decisions. Which cribs do I use? Can I have just one crib for a while? Which stroller do I get? Do I need more than one? What about car seats? Oh goodness…two of everything?!?!? (Well, not quite everything). Which items can I get away with only having one of? Is this going to be my only pregnancy? Do I need those motion sensor monitors?
That last question is one that I have made a decision about. I am really proud of myself. I was going back and forth about whether we actually needed motion sensors. If I got the ones going under the mattress, our twins would never be able to sleep together. That seemed kind of mean to me. They are each other’s first best friend. They’ll know each other before they know me. How can I separate them immediately? But at the same time, they’re going to be small, probably premature. They are at a much greater risk for SIDS. Those are reasons to have the monitors. I went on and on about this in my head for a while. And it was keeping me up at night (well that and the constant urge to pee). So, I made a decision. I found motion sensors that clip on to the babies’ diaper. They each get one and it only monitors that one’s movement. They are portable and aren’t connected to an external monitor. I made the decision that these were going to be what was used for our twins. As far as I can tell, it’s the best decision for us. And there are going to be tons of people who want to give me their advice, but I feel good about this one. It is amazing what making a decision can do for your confidence.
Whew! Thanks for sticking with me. Pregnancy has made me much more long-winded. So, now you know that I’m a 28 year old, married architect, future mama of twins who doesn’t like being called fat (who does really?) and who is planning to use a Snuzo portable motion monitor for my twins.
Note: Now that I’m to the point that it doesn’t look like I let myself go and I actually look pregnant, I’m feeling much better about everything. The big belly makes everything look smaller! Who knew? Some, not all, but some of my energy has come back and I’m trying to get a lot of things done before the third trimester hits. I’ve made even more decisions and I am feeling much better about this whole twin thing. Life is good out here on the coast of North Carolina.
A huge thanks to Heather for writing such an honest, heartfelt post. Wishing you all the best my dear!!