Happy Mother’s Day! Man, do I know a lot of wonderful mothers. I’m lucky that way. I even received a few sweet messages wishing me my own happy Mother’s Day yesterday, which was so thoughtful on the part of the senders. But I have to say that I don’t quite feel like a mother yet- I mean, I haven’t done anything really hard yet. Especially this trimester!
Women who know told me that the second trimester would be great, and they were right. So far, it’s my favorite of the two I’ve experienced. My nausea has subsided and my energy has bounced back: I’ve returned to eating vegetables and working out regularly. (In the past few weeks, there have been times when I’ve literally forgotten that I’m pregnant until I see my reflection and think, Oohhhh yeah. That’s right.) My little belly is growing, and while some might still think it’s a combination of a macaroni and cheese habit and poor posture, most would guess that I’m expecting. One brave flight attendant took one look at me and declared, “Someone’s having a baby!” Who, me?
Technically, this book was recommended to me not by a friend but by a public radio interview I heard. It came out last summer to pretty divisive reviews because the media and People in General, being sensationalistic and possessing short attention spans, glommed onto the chapter about drinking, in which author Emily Oster states that there is no definitive evidence to prove that the occasional four-ounce glass of wine will hurt your baby. Headline-making material, for sure.
But this is a pretty fantastic and well-researched book, and I hope it starts changing some of the conversations around pregnancy culture in this country. The author starts the book by describing her impetus to write it: when she found out she was pregnant, she felt that the information she received about having a healthy pregnancy and delivery was either a) contradictory or b) one size fits all, and all of it was delivered without c) the cold, hard facts.
So the book is one very well-researched chapter after another that either debunks or upholds the standard pregnancy advice. Oster explains what randomized studies are (which, as an English teacher, I appreciated), and then proceeds to choose the best of the best available research to explore these questions.
What the online peanut gallery has failed to grasp about her book is what she makes clear over and over: this is not a book of recommendations. This is a book which explores research. You, the reader, are left with the responsibility to do with it what you will. You, the reader, are left to make up your own now-informed mind. She is also very clear when the research says it’s best to check with your own doctor.
If you’re looking for a book to arm you with evidence about how things outside of your body affect the little miracle within it, I’d recommend this. If you’re more comfortable adhering to standard pregnancy advice, I think that’s totally fine too (sincerely), and in that case, you can probably skip this one. I just like being able to give a coherent answer to someone who says, “Aren’t you not allowed to eat fish?” rather than defensively flipping that person off while stuffing my face with salmon because salmon is delicious.
I wasn’t quite sick enough during my first trimester to ask for anti-nausea meds, but I was sick enough for long enough stretches to be pretty distracted. My mom’s work friend recommended that I try Sea-Bands, these acupressure wristbands that are supposed to help with nausea. Matt picked me up a pair at Walgreens (I adamantly asked for the regular blue ones, as opposed to the pink- and more expensive- “pregnancy” ones), and even if it was just a placebo effect, they totally worked on me. I still felt a little sick if I didn’t have enough food in my stomach, but these made a huge difference in the quality of my day. Thankfully, I passed my first trimester in weather cold enough to warrant the long sleeves that hid these little bands, but you could rock them in summer too, with a little bedazzling.
I will admit that whenever I passed the Blooma Yoga studio in St. Paul, I imagined a lot of earth mothers sitting on the floor with their tiny organic hemp-clad babies, chanting peacefully with their eyes closed. But happily, two good friends of mine- independently of one another- corrected this unfair perception, and I’m so glad they did.
When I was ready to get back into a workout routine, I started with running, but I’ve always enjoyed yoga and also wanted to explore challenging yoga with support and modifications for pregnant women. Blooma is a perfect place for this. I’ve taken prenatal yoga and barre classes at the St. Paul location, and both have left me with that most excellent tired muscle feeling, the one that only comes after a very satisfying workout. Not everyone who attends class is pregnant, and it’s not a studio exclusively for women, but lots of the people who attend are pregnant or mothers, and I haven’t been in a class with a man yet. I have to say that there’s something really special about taking care of my health in the company of women, in a place where women and pregnancy are celebrated overtly.
So, if you’re pregnant and looking for a solid workout, check out class at one of the Blooma locations. (And they’re not crazy-expensive, which I also like.)
My cousin, who is also pregnant, recommended these as an alternative to the iron-packed horse pills that I’d previously been taking. I took those little beasts dutifully, but I complained to anyone within earshot (i.e. Matt) every time I took one about how sick they made me feel. Ugh for everyone involved. For whatever reason, I had no idea that another option existed until my wonderful cousin clued me in. I immediately went to the store and bought Vitafusion gummy prenatal vitamins, and they are amazing! The best part is that the serving size is not one but two gummies! I seriously look forward to taking them every day. Because they taste like delicious, delicious candy.
So, there you go! I have a lot more to write about being pregnant, and one of these days, I will. As soon as I decide to stop taking it so easy.