Deep down, I think I had an idea when the meat cravings struck. On the surface, I was a little baffled, but since I’m not a strict vegetarian, I went ahead and listened to whatever my body was trying to tell me, and Steve and I had our first burger date possibly since discovering our favorite local burger restaurant. Apparently, as I scarfed a couple (delicious) chicken wings hot off the grill around a week later, I wasn’t the only one who was starting to wonder. By the time we headed to Boston for the Fourth of July, I was basically going hog wild, at least in my mind, with a bowl of clam chowder, some meaty afternoon appetizers, and, to top it off, an all-American hot dog at Fenway Park on Independence Day.
Clearly, this streak wasn’t all that convenient for a nearly meatless food blogger like myself, but it was easy to hide at first, given that I had lots of family visiting all summer and wasn’t posting (or cooking) as much. But if you analyze the last few recipes (minus the popsicles) and Instagram posts (spoiler alert) carefully, you might notice that I’m slipping legumes and lentils into everything I cook, not to mention starting to post nutrition facts with my recipes, a practice of which I was not previously supportive.
So what the heck happened to Ms. Meatless??? My body has been invaded by a tiny human! Just kidding–invasion is not the word I would use in any case, and despite relatively mild first trimester nausea, extreme fatigue, and hunger for nothing but all-things-carbs, I LOVE being pregnant.
Everything is going great so far: it’s not twins, growth is on track, we found a great birth center with midwife care, and now, as I approach 16 weeks (out of 40, which I say because pre-pregnancy me had no idea how many weeks were in nine months), I’m turning a corner. The nausea is almost nonexistent, I’ve gone four nights in a row without waking up twice to pee (another of my first trimester signs), and I’m hungry for things besides toast before 5 PM. Woo hoo! There are so many things I could and want to share in this post, like the story of how I told Steve (waking him at 5 AM his time, on a work trip for him, after holding my first at-home test in disbelief), my plans for the birth, or the gender. Oh wait, I can’t share the gender because we won’t know until March! There will be posts for all those stories, though, as, unlike my wedding, I do plan to blog about pregnancy.
Instead, I just now decided to dive a little deeper and say that the first trimester is scary as hell. I’m 31 years old–not super old, definitely not super young. While I myself am not high risk, I know and know of plenty of women who’ve experienced loss, mostly in the form of miscarriages. That’s how I explain the fear and anxiety that I experienced from the time I found out (around four weeks) until just before the end of the first trimester. It decreased gradually as time went on, and the days of ultrasounds or the first time we heard our baby’s heartbeat I was especially worry-free.
Other days, I would inspect for any sign of red when using the bathroom, or have moments of tears, or endlessly research miscarriage stats, or continue to adamantly wait before starting to look at maternity clothes, nursery plans, or baby gear. Honestly, I don’t think it ever became unhealthy or extreme, but no one really warns you (at least no one warned me), that my days would progress from anxiety-filled in the morning, when the whole day, full of grim possibilities, lay ahead, to total relief at night that we made it through another day with no issues. It’s very weird: the most joy and excitement I’ve ever felt, and the most anxious and fearful at the same time.
We told our immediate families early, not long after finding out. It felt good to act with confidence, and I took the time to consider letting the secret out to them, but in the end, I knew I’d want that support if something bad happened. Selfishly, I was also motivated by the extra prayers. I’ve never felt like I needed them so much, and I appreciate every single family member or friend who said one or 84 prayers for us thus far. Not too long before getting pregnant, I started praying somewhat regularly, after a long time off. That’s not exactly a story for this food blog, but I will say that when I “used to” pray, maybe five or ten years ago, it often felt like a duty, but now, not only has it become essential to my mental stability and happiness, but I also believe that it works. Whether this pregnancy and birth is completely seamless, or whether we have hurdles ahead of us to overcome before meeting our healthy baby, I’ll attribute the miracle that it is to prayers and a divine plan for our baby’s life.
Like I said, I will be sharing about pregnancy on NCK, but if that’s not the stage of life you’re in, don’t worry! Much of the content I’m brainstorming will simply involve healthier (and yes, higher protein), faster recipes and meal plans. There will hopefully be weekly pregnancy updates, and I’ll make it as easy as I can to skip over the content you’re not interested in and find what you want. One thing I’m particularly excited to share is my maternity wardrobe basics, of which my closet is already full because I started to show pretty quick! So thankful for maternity leggings and Target. Of course, I’ll also explain how I get plenty of protein in a mostly meatless pregnancy. I’ll try to be honest but not overly graphic in the pregnancy posts, and I really hope they get some discussion going on the blog and on social media. While I’m becoming acutely aware that every pregnancy is unique and am already avoiding generalized pregnancy and birth advice, I love the sharing of individual experiences, so don’t hesitate to comment or email!
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