I’ve struggled with my relationship with food for most of my life, but pregnancy had a huge impact. I learned that food is a gift, not the enemy.
I spent several years, before becoming pregnant, with a nutritionist and therapist working through body image issues that stemmed from childhood. I learned that I had engaged in years of disordered eating without any idea. To be honest, I just never felt skinny enough to think I had an eating disorder, but as I worked through the layers of my self-worth, I began to realize just had warped my viewpoint was.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m pregnant with the twins. I remember being so ill, absolutely inconceivably ill, where vomiting 7 times a day was a good day. About 8 weeks into being pregnant, before I even had my first OB appointment, I had to check myself into urgent care because I couldn’t keep water down anymore. I remember showing up with a waste basket lined with a trash bag, just a hot mess, begging for a shot of anti-nausea medicine, despite having a full blown Blood, Injury, and Injection Phobia.
Even with the medicine, I still got sick every night, multiple times a night, until 5.5 months. After that, getting sick at night was hit and miss but still a consistent strategic concern. I had to juggle my Zofran schedule and learn how much and what kinds of foods made me feel good because those were the only ones staying down!
During the first half of my pregnancy where I showered on the floor sobbing and couldn’t drive longer than 15 minutes, I remember yearning for the craving of food. My food aversions were absolutely insane and nothing ever sounded good, but I would get sick if I didn’t eat. And I couldn’t just eat berries and bread, which was all I ever wanted, because I needed proteins and fats to satisfy my body and prevent me from getting sick.
So here I am, hormonal, exhausted, needing to eat to not vomit, but every option I think of makes me feel sick. In these moments I would have given anything to have a food craving. I would have given anything to be able to stomach the taste of food. And every time I got hungry, I remember thinking, “Not again.” I struggled like this for my entire pregnancy, the first half being far worse than the second.
It was such an interesting experience because I had spent a lifetime trying to eat as little as possible and ignoring my food cravings, only to I realize how blessed I was to have a desire for food at all. Food is sustenance. Food nourishes us. And when you actually can’t consume it, as opposed to choosing to withhold it, you realize food is a gift.
For 5.5 months, I ate with a trash bag next to me because I never knew how it was going to go. I always had to eat outside because the smell of food was overpowering and made me sick. I had to have comfortable clothes on that didn’t press on my belly and make me sick. It was such a hassle, and I missed the days of hopping in the car to meet Yev at a restaurant. I missed out on dinners with my friends.
We are so blessed to be able to experience food: the tastes, textures, aromas. It is not only an enjoyable culinary experience, but food almost always provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Food nourishes our bodies and our relationships. How could it ever be considered the enemy?