No matter how much you think you are ready and your body prepared, you are about to jump into BIG unknown...
If you know me you know I am a fighter. Since the age of 12, when my mum was diagnosed with cancer, the whole world has changed for me. I needed to become a survivor, a fighter and I needed to prove myself. There was no one to go back to cry or complain. I needed to be a shining example and a leader for my sister. I lived in masculine energy for decades. But this is for a different story, which I will write about when I feel ready... Take this into the equation. Living in a foreign country with a totally different health care system. No female family members to ask questions. Lot's of doubt but also lot's of expectations from my body.
How could this go wrong?
We didn't try for a baby for a long time, but I have prepared my body and mind for conception for a couple of years (you will be able to read about this in my story of conceiving). So I didn't even think that I will have problems to have a baby, but still, it surprised me.
Those 2 lines on a test
That morning I found out that this baby is actually real. Not just a distant maybe. I could feel an immediate change in my mind. I needed to protect this precious baby as much as I could. I was happy but also I was scared and in doubt. Is my body actually ready? Am I maybe too old to have a smooth and easy pregnancy? What is it going to be like? I made an appointment with a local medical centre and anxiously waited for blood test results. They came back all great and without any worry at all.
My first visit to the midwife was not soo good tho. Since growing up in Czech republic, where you are under the care of OB/GYN and have your first scan in about 6-8 weeks to make sure that the baby has settled nicely in your womb and you don't have any problems I went into the appointments with this set in stone. I was so surprised when my midwife started telling me about unknown danger form the X-RAYS !!! which my baby will be exposed to so that they are not recommending "dating scan" until 12 weeks in. I was in shock. First, hello, it's an ultrasound, not an x-ray and secondly, it's safe to use and the risk of not knowing might be bigger. So I had fought with my stubborn mind and made her write me a prescription for an early dating scan. Then I was happy and could focus on those thousands of questions she had. I was given a list of "No-No's" and recommendation for supplements and car seat installation, bit early for that bit, but why not...
My inner fight
Ok. Officially I am 6 weeks pregnant, my baby is here and I was warned about cravings, weight gain, morning sickness and all side effects of pregnancy. No one even mentioned that it could actually go well. So do I have to have all of these? Being a holistic nutrition practitioner for over 10 years, I knew how to nourish my body and how to take care of myself. But will it be so hard as they have mentioned? Will I be sick all day, tired and cranky?
Well, I have to wait and see. But deep down I knew that I will be fine... Until all the thoughts and doubts came in. What if I goona put on too much weight? What if I am deficient some nutrients? What if I will be too tired and too sick to work? What if I will be in pain? What if...
The morning sickness.
The first day I woke up feeling blah was new to me. I wasn't sick I just felt like a constant hangover. Tired and without too much of appetite. Yet, my body started to crave things. I wasn't craving chocolate, I wasn't craving cream and gherkins, I was craving my childhood food. The things I grew up on. Gnocchi with spinach and egg, Poppyseed cake, Semolina porridge, Bread with cheese and ketchup but also I craved a lot of oranges and fresh fruit. Despite I was feeling like I had a good night party I wasn't drained and not needed to sleep at all the time. I listened to my body and ate what it asked for. I ate bread and cheese, I ate fruit and veggies and I prepared meals that I haven't eaten for years... Weeks went by my belly started to show and I had trouble to zip up my pants...
Then I had another check-up with a midwife. Where the talk came in like a bomb.
So how much weight did you put on???? For someone as a past dieter and someone who was always scared from gaining weight, it was like a punch into my tummy. Yes, of course, I knew I have to put on some weight, but what was optimal? Am I growing too much or not enough? Taking it from someone who only sees women body as a factory for a baby, she commented something like, it's great that you are not growing too fast as you will have fewer problems in your pregnancy.
So did I pass the test? What was the: "optimal" range for me to be in? This one little comment made me question everything I eat, my hunger and my body. All the bad thoughts and habits came back running to me. I had two options...
Intuitive eating or meal monitoring?
Of course, I wanted to make sure that my body and my baby have everything they need. So I stood in front of a decision.
Eat intuitively and trust my body or put in place my knowledge and education and carefully count how much and when to eat.
The latter seemed like too much of hassle and something I have banished from my life years ago. And I am so glad that I had done this work with myself a years ago and now continue the same with my clients because it probably saved me a lot of pressure and energy in this early pregnancy. So intuitive eating it was. I submerged within my body's needs and gave it what it asked for. Recognising the need and the want and created a new way of nourishing. My body responded so well, that a few weeks in, my morning sickness was gone and I had no cravings. My body was blooming and I felt like I can conquer the whole world.
So what did I eat?
I ale bread, I made a lot of homemade pastries and cakes, but also I ate my 5 cups of vegetables and fruit every day. I listen to my body if it wanted meat or vegetarian option and to my suppose I was not eating much of animal products at all. I didn't restrict myself at all. Except for milk.
I disliked cow's milk for years and always made my nut milk, but all of a sudden I couldn't get enough of this white fluid. So I gave in, I drunk as much as my body needed and it rewarded me with beautiful glowing skin, energy and nice and steady weight gain.
What supplements I was taking?
Supplements are a big part of nowaday culture. Our soil is depleted of some nutrients, so we have to supplement it in certain cases as pregnancy or sickness. The number one thing I am supplementing on:
The Prenatal vitamins and minerals with a natural source of probiotics. As a complex of vitamins and minerals they benefit each other and including herbs and probiotics they help with a digestion, blood sugar balance and energy of mum to be. These two would be my favourite.
Omega 3, plus Vitamin D3 from deep sea, wild-caught fish.
Your baby brain development is greater in the first trimester and if you are not big fish eater, that good source of Omega 3 is essential to you and to your baby. Why combination with D3, because they offer combined support for a healthy heart and brain function, bones, mood and immunity. Including a sufficient amount of Iron and Folic Acid.
Magnesium Citrate Magnesium is a mineral that is critical for energy production and metabolism, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and bone mineralization. During pregnancy, it helps with cramps but also with the relaxation of muscles and ligaments while they being stretched around the uterus, your skin and overall calmness. It's recommended to STOP supplementing Magnesium around 37 weeks of pregnancy.
These three would be my TOP choice and must have.
My last thought and advice about the first trimester
Eat intuitively with a sense for nourishment. Your baby always gets what it needs from your body, but your body might become deficient in energy and nutrients if you take pregnancy as a green card to eat all the junk food you have been restricting yourself on. You are not sick, but also the better you manage your eating, easier the pregnancy will be for you. I know how hard it is to come off a dieter's mind into I can eat what I want as I feed two. It brings a lot of pressure, questions and doubts if you are doing everything right. If you would love to talk more about how to nourish your body to provide your baby with all it needs and to give yourself a nice easy pregnancy, send me a message and I will be happy to help.