I've done this before. Three times before. The first trimester, the second trimester. These seasons I remember well.
As you know, this pregnancy has been very different for me. I'm into the second trimester without the relief of anticipated good health returning. For the most part, I'm more positive and proactive to make my life good despite my continual stomach problems. I realize it isn't gluten or dairy or any of those other categories I was trying to avoid and now I have a sort of routine of knowing how much food I can eat, what part of the day, from what food groups, etc.
One habit I've started this pregnancy because of my stomach is to make fruit smoothies and often. We're using up our peaches and blueberries from last summer quite fast and I'm learning to experiment with adding handfuls of spinach and protein powder (there is a really great natural powder sweetened with stevia out there I like) to all of the fruit. They have become so satisfying and seem a bit easy for me to digest, especially for lunch which usually has me on the couch soon after eating.
The kids love the many smoothies we make and experiment with. It is my go-to for at least one dinner when Bobby is out on a long business trip.
I've pulled dips and spreads, grainy snacks and such out of my diet because I can't just eat a few. And then I always end up on the couch, angry with myself. So I'm finally learning to set rules for myself and actually stick to them. For the most part, I'm trying to avoid sweets, especially if I'm not really hungry or wanting something in particular. I made a little sign for myself that reads, "When I eat refined sugar I feel awful!" which is so often the case. After months of celebrations and sweets, I'm ready to start believing the sign and really control myself, especially when I'm away from home.
This is also the first pregnancy where I'm consistently lifting weights. I try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week and keep up the lifting I was doing before the pregnancy. As my stomach grows I start pulling certain exercises out of my regimen. And I of course am closely listening to my body to play it safe. I have been amazed that my arms and legs and back and chest feel strong when this is usually around the time when I'm feeling flabby and weak as I gain more weight. It feels so right. And it is just one more thing I can be in control of since I can't be with my stomach issues.
To be honest with you, I've been terribly afraid to gain as much weight as I gained with the twins three years ago. I know, I know, it was twins, but I also know that I tend to gain much more weight than is even necessary just from mindless eating during my pregnancies. Maybe some women have incredible self control, but I'm always so hungry from the beginning to the end of my pregnancies. Because I can't let my stomach get very full all day long, I'm actually stopping before I gorge (most of the time) and rethinking what I should be eating that would have the most nutrients in it compared to empty calories. I'm not perfect at it, but it is definitely causing me to think before blindly obeying cravings.
This trial of my stomach pain, I have to admit, is forcing me to rethink portions and hierarchy of nutrients in foods during the most fragile and difficult season, that of pregnancy. Many days I am in tears because I am sick and tired of it all. Other days I feel empowered that I had a decent stomach day and that there is hope of being whole again. I can definitely say this season of my life will go down in the "history of me" as one of the most difficult. But I'm finally taking the reins. I'm finally doing something, anything, to feel empowered despite the lack of control I have to heal myself. I'm accepting that it is there all the time and that it affects my whole life, but I'm finally reclaiming ownership of my life and joy. I have to because no one else will.
I'm off to take the girls around on their new trikes in the sun. I ignore my gnawing stomach and press forward... What mother and woman wouldn't?
the sleepy time gal