Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I tend to be defensive and criticize this culture, but the truth is, I am heart-broken. It is very, very sad to me that we insult God in this way; and very, very sad that not more members of the "true and living church" see this. They will read a scripture and then listen to a commercial on the same topic, and do what the media tells them, or what society says (i.e. high-protein diets, medications, etc.) The whole idea or circumcision is appaling and sacreligious, not to mention removing the appedix, tonsils, and female reproductive parts before there is even a problem, just because they "might as well," and thinking it will prevent a problem. Then you talk about birth control and operations to tweak or change our bodies to our personal preferences! This is such an insult to our creator.
The underlying insult in general is just the belief in this culture that our bodies are not wise, that our bodies make errors, etc. For instance, if I have a fever, then something must be WRONG with my body. But did they ever stop to consider God's purpose? That a fever is the body's WISDOM to kill off toxins? And a runny nose, to expel toxins? And osteoporosis, to buffer the acids in our body and keep us alive another minute? The body makes changes out of wisdom and is continually weighing the best choice for our survival. This is not "disease" at all. This is wisdom. If your body's healing tactics bother you, stop consuming toxins and give your body a break from all that business altogether. Then you won't get sick at all.
This also applies to our approach to disease. When we have a tumor, our first impulse it to cut it out. When we have a cavity, our first reaction is to drill the tooth and fill it up. What doctors are missing out on is that (1) there are other, gentle ways to guide the body back to wholeness, and (2) these intrusive methods have horrible consequences in themselves, such as affecting our meridians and subtle energy fields in the body, which will cause further imbalance down the road, until we learn that our bodies are holistic, and all disease ought to be addressed on an emotional/energetic level first. When you cut something out or simply treat a symptom, you are only skimming the surface of what is causing the unwanted condition. Hence, the condition still exists and will still find another way to manifest itself.
Back to broken bodies. I do realize that some Christians think we are fallen and that is why our bodies die, get sick, don't work, etc. From my understanding, we are fallen in a spiritual sense. We are separated from God and are exposed to adversity. I don't remember Adam & Eve getting cancer upon their exit from the garden. Yes, we will die as a result of living in a fallen world, but I dare say that is not because our bodies are broken; it is because we are imperfect and a life of impure thoughts, emotions, and choices will reap the consequences of shutting down. Remember, Adam and many of his peers at that time lived to be 900 years, quite a different story than in today's world. The same fallen body. It is not our bodies that are killing us.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The big selling point on it for me is that birth is a normal thing that doesn't require medical attention. Secondly, it is run by hormones, hormones that are easily disturbed having a practitioner. For more info on that you can read Michel Odent. Another thing is that by having a midwife, a lot of moms (including me, with previous birth) do not educate themselves and trust the midwife so much that they do whatever she says, and at her slightest look of worry, the mom loses all faith in herself. When the midwife is the authority, sometimes she makes things out to be complications that aren't really. But she may not be giving the best advice. Another reason is simply that a lot of midwives do things for no real reason but out of tradition, routine. They make all sorts of mistakes, which instill fear in the mom when it really wasn't a big deal, and this really takes away from what beautiful, wonderful experience could have been.
Midwives in general do not trust birth because if they did, they wouldn't be a birth practitioner. Mothers trust birth practitioners, not birth. I want to trust birth, that thing that God designed. I want to take this as an opportunity to grow spiritually because I know that (1) any reason I would not do it is based on fear, unless the spirit prompts me, and (2) If I am in-tune to the spirit then I can go by these promptings, instead of having prental visits to LOOK for problems, or having a midwife around to expect problems.
Pam, the midwife here, is a big UC advocate. I feel comfortable hiring her as a back-up in case I feel prompted to have a midwife in attendance. But I didn't feel comfortable hiring her for prenatals and to DIRECT my birth. I believe the mother should direct her birth by following instincts and the Spirit, and by being educated.
It seems to me, UC is a personality thing. Especially in cases where this is the option of legally hiring a midwife. I think lots of people have great births with midwives (or in hospitals) and that's great for them. They are strong people who are not susceptible. But I am susceptible, easily, to influence, to the fears of others, to their persuasion. My son's birth was very much influenced by having a midwife and I could easily blame her for the complications that happened.
Let me show you how a midwife affected the outcomes in my last experience: I had found a wonderful place psychically in my labor and was doing great. I look back at this and see 2 roads. The one road (which really happened), the midwife interrupted my groove because she was concerned that my labor stopped and that I had fallen asleep! This was not the case at all! In fact, it finally was progressing. She insisted on pulling me out of the tub and giving me a vaginal examination, to which she surprisingly found the baby descending the birth canal. This ruined my trance and got me into the social "pushing" mode, which of course she encouraged, instead of reminding me to do what I was doing (it didn't occur me to, I didn't know that a body can deliver a baby without pushing). I wasn't prepared for the birth, myself, psychologically, and depended too much on her. Things got all crazy when he was born and "needed oxygen." What's funny is that my instinct said nothing. He wasn't blue. He looked just fine. But they grabbed him away from me to vigorously rub him and give him a rub, and blankets. Little do they know, blow-by O2 isn't proven to be effective in the least, and the best thing you can do for a baby is skin-to-skin contact with the mom, hearing mom's voice, mom rubbing him, mom blowing in his airway. Everything a mother would do instinctively without an attendent present. Anyhow, this got my fears up, it completely disturbed the 3rd Stage of labor, which CAUSED a hemorhage. Yes you heard me, it's completely possible that midwives cause complications that would not have happened in a UC birth, much the same the complications happen in a hopsital that are unheard of in a homebirth.
The other road is that if I had been left undisturbed, I would have stayed in my trance, unbeknown that the fact that the baby was descending, skipped the whole ordeal of pushing, until felt the baby come out gently and effortlessly. (A body can easily expel a baby without the mother being conscious of it. It's actually the psychologically barriers that make the process difficult.) I would have held him, caressed him, got him breathing just fine, which would have made me feel so confident and in tune with my nature as a woman. I doubt I would have hemorhaged, but if had (due to my own fears, not her actions, maybe that caused it), the midwife was there with her trusty pitocin, and maybe I could have been educated on herbs for prevention, like I am this time. I would have bonded with my son, nursed him right away, and avoided a lot of his attachment problems that he has today. (I didn't hold or nurse him until an hour later. I was so taken aback, was in fear of needing a transport, on an IV, etc.) I have grieved this experience, and it's sad to me that I didn't bond immediately the way nature intended. I love seeing birth movies with the perfect simplicity of the baby emerging, mom holding him, nursing, and everything beautiful. This is what I am striving for. Honestly, I don't care if a midwife is in the house. I just want to birth un-interrupted.
I think most UCers do it for the positive reasons, not just avoiding negative things of hospitals. UC is partly anti-attendant but it is MOSTLY pro-autonomy. It's about faith. It's about learning, pushing yourself, meeting a challenge, facing all your fears, working through barriers, and personal growth. It is joining with God, putting your trust in HIM, not in technology. It is intimacy with your husband, fulfilling the sexual act of procreation. It's about the beautiful moment when you pull your own baby up to your chest and there are no strangers in the room, no busy-ness, no instructions, just a peaceful still of a primal mother reaping the rewards of a primal act. So even if the alternative wouldn't be "so bad," (like a positive, supportive midwife), it's still not true to nature, not as wonderful as it could be, for people who seek the ideal.
Nevertheless, I am considering having Pam closer at hand because it saves me the trouble of memorizing a lot of info (which herbs to use, positions, teaching Rychen, thinking of what to do with only 2 hands, etc.). I would like to clear my mind and trust birth without being pressured to remember stuff. I wouldn't want to be the strong person to reassure myself AND Rychen, so it would be nice to have a doula-type for psychological reasons. Also, I know that if I have worked through emotional barriers, I can have a complication-free birth but I realize that this isn't true to real life, and honestly I DO have a lot of emotional barriers. I need to be prepared for complications, especially since I hemorhaged before and that would scare me to handle on my own. So one idea I have is to get through the labor as much as I can, and if I feel confident, not to call. But I may call during the pushing part, and that way she would arrive just AFTER he is born, (which would be the perfect kind of midwife) and be there in case of hemorhaging, and help clean up, maybe I'd need stitches, advice, etc. So mostly I am going to play it by ear and develop enough faith and closeness to the spirit that I can go for my dream, which would be a huge accomplishment and dream come true for me.
Monday, January 28, 2008
My weight gain is interesting because it was all over one week at the beginning of my nauseas period. I went through a phase where I ate a lot of processed food, cheese and crackers, organic chips, and organic cereals. (I succomb to buying this stuff at Grocery Outlet because it is such a good price--so I just can't shop there very often!) After gaining 5 lbs. in one week, I made a chart of what I'd like my weight gain to look like, and I knew I couldn't gain more than 5 lbs. in one month. So that's when I got back into fruit, and haven't gained since then (I probably have gained pregnant weight, but lost that processed food weight, so the net weight is stable).
Don't misunderstand me, I am not dieting during pregnancy, and I am not going to starve myself to control my weight gain. If you saw my grocery receipt, you would know I am far from starving myself!! I am not even that paranoid about my weight gain, but when I gain so much weight so quickly by eating processed foods, it's good to be aware of that so that I can know the effects of what I eat and be careful of eating certain foods! Processed foods are the reason for the obesity epidemic in this country. When you eat whole foods, cooked or not, meat or veggie, you know when you are full. You don't overeat, and it's very difficult to get fat on whole foods.
Another thing to note, I gained about 8 lbs. right before I got pregnant too. So does that get included in my pregnancy weight? My usual weight is 115 or less, so really I am up 10 lbs. over the weight I would be if I wasn't pregnant. I do think it's a significant note because that weight gain was probably necessary for my pregnancy hormones, so it is incorporated with pregnancy weight.
So the weight gain outlook was something like this:
January - 5 lbs. - 125 (at end of month)
February & March - 8 lbs. - 132
April & May - 5 lbs. - 137
June & July - 5 lbs. - 142
August - no gain
total gain 22 lbs. (20-25 is the idea)
Wow. Can I do it? People say they only gained 25 lbs. over pregnancy but when you stretch that over 8 months, you are barely gaining anything at all! I guess I got really nervous when I gained 5 lbs. in half a month, but seeing how I have been able to maintain that the second part of the month, I know that if I focus on raw foods I can do it. And I know that starting June, I will be eating close to 100% raw so I really shouldn't be gaining excess weight at all. We'll see!! (Last pregnancy I was up 10 lbs. or so at every visit, so the only thing I am used to is gaining, gaining, gaining) This is probably really silly and trivial, but to me it's important. I don't care so much what I actually weight, but it's a sign of my eating habits and if I've stayed in control of my binges. So that is what I am concerned about, what I can't afford to lose, after coming so far in my compulsive eating healing.
P.S. I wanted to specify why I decided on 25 lbs. After my son was born, after I peed out all my water retention, after all the delivery fuss was over with, I was 25 lbs. lighter. Hence, I knew, it takes 25 lbs. for me to deliver a 10 lb. baby. (and that was with 10 lbs. of water retention!) Anything gained in excess of 25 lbs. would be weight gain on the mother, not having to do with pregnancy. Follow my logic? An anonymous posted has suggested that a thin person ought to gain more weight than this. May I remind you, the point of pregnancy is not to turn a thin person into a fat person. When all is said and done, you should be pretty close to the weight you started at. If you are significantly over, you gained too much. I am sorry to burst your bubble! If you are heavier than you used to be after your pregnancy is over and done with, then you gained weight in excess of pregnancy weight. One way you can avoid this is by measuring your thigh and thus having a baseline to know exactly what size YOU are, without a huge uterus and baby attached to you. The point of pregnancy is to grow a BABY. Not to grow yourself! Catch my drift, anonymous??
On one hand, we've been commandment to "cleave to" our spouses, putting them first, (and I think most women go this way, at the expense of their developing children) but really I don't think that is referring to biological, nurturing needs!
I really think it's a pity that a husband pits himself against the child and makes the wife choose, rather than joining (cleaving) with his wife and being united as nurturing parents. An adult has no right bringing un-met childhood needs into marriage and seeking their fulfillment at the children's expense... children who will only carry on this un-met need to their marriage! I say stop the cycle and devote yourselves as parents to nurturing selflessly, and meeting childrens needs before the become fixated. Spouses are to support each other, not parent each other. I am guilty of this myself, so no finger pointing here, but what I am saying is, we should acknowledge this and grow in our needs, put our children first and see how that may fill our own bucket.
You hear it all the time, the wife doesn't get the birth she wants because the husband cares too much what society thinks. They kick the children out of bed prematurely because the husband wants his bed back. But since when does the bed belong to the parents? Since when is the child in someone elses bed, permitted/tolerated temporarily until the parents have enough guts to toss them out? What a horrible sentiment! Who says the bed belongs to the parents? That is not an objective fact, it's just society. My son has been in our king size bed his entire life. It is as much his bed as it is ours. I don't use the language "our bed" and "your bed." I say, "the big bed" and "the little bed," leaving the option open to him which he'd like to sleep in. (ok, rant over with.)
Anyway I am genuinely curious and would like your thoughts. Obviously we shouldn't go on strike against our husbands or pit our children against them. We can wish all we can for an ideal, but the fact is, the husbands are needy for attention. Ideas?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I am also able to relax where parenting goes. I have released my son from all the food rules I used to have. I want him to have a normal childhood (well, almost) and not feel restricted where social eating is concerned. I realized that I can make sure he has a good diet 95% of the time (around the house) but to relax when he wants certain things and Grandma's, or at a restaurant. But he still has never had meat, and the sugar is very, very limited. We have kept these rules because he is OK with them. If he wants something and I say, "Oh that is meat," then he says "We don't eat meat," and there is no argument. It's very ingrained in him. Also I can say "That has lots of sugar in it," without too much fuss, and sometimes he even volunteers to say, "This is good food! It doesn't have any sugar in it!" So I am glad that I have taught him correctly along these lines, and now I can loosen up and let him have borderline foods like white bread, packaged foods, etc. that I used to freak out about. I discussed this parenting and food situation with one of my readers via e-mail and it was so great to hear another parent relating to this stuff.
Relaxing my raw foodism mentality has also helped extremely with my in-laws. I don't judge other people's food choices anymore, which allows me to love them and relate more. Of course it has also helped to eat certain things they eat, so that we can enjoy food together (but still very limited, since I am vegetarian, but at least we can go to a restaurant and share a "Yum" sentiment, without me just ordering the salad). -- The only thing now is that they worship the God Protein, and I just can't get that... I admit I am critical in my mind everytime I hear a protein comment... or a "sugar-free jello" comment, which I think is absolutely ridiculous, thinking that's a health food.
So like I said, my diet right now is mostly raw. It is predominantly fruit. I eat fruit during the day and then something simple for dinner (toast or soup) but if we are dinning socially I indulge in whatever (vegetarian). There is a Mexican restaurant here that makes such yummy veggie enchiladas, and I don't give myself a hard time about eating the cheese.
So I wouldn't call myself a raw-foodist. But then again, no normal person eats as much fruit as I do. I am just an intuitive, whole-foods, healthy eater, without getting overly paranoid or stand-off-ish about it.
I am so grateful and so relieved that my nausea passed quickly. And I'm not even following all my little rules that I figured out, they really weren't necessary after all. I am not sure what changed, could be as simple as the prenatal vitamin I am taking, but honestly I think it was more of an emotional issue. I like to have needs, like to have excuses to moan and lie around, and I guess out of necessity (and personal growth) I decided to give that up.
With my son, the first trimester was tough. It was so hard to get out of bed, I'd go right to the toilet and throw up, and I could barely keep anything down throughout the day. But this time, I never experienced that, not even once. I had probably 2-3 hard days when I couldn't keep too much food down, and I've only thrown up when I ate something that specifically disagreed with me.
I guess it really helps that I go to bed early, but I only do that because I am in-tune to my body and I follow every direction I am given. That's probably a skill I have gained since my last pregnancy, that has helped my hormones balance out and enabled me to provide my body with exactly what it needs. So having gone to bed early, I am fresh and ready to jump out of bed, feeling stable and great, at 6:30 or 7:00. I feel normal throughout the day, listening to my body for what types of food I eat, resting when appropriate, and retiring around 8 pm. So my only complaint is not having a ton of energy and sleeping 10-12 hours at night.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that my diet is very low-protein, compared to society's standards, and what most OB's recommend for pregnant women. I am vegetarian and even beans seem to be too heavy. My body does not want heavy foods. I eat mostly fruit and some veggies, a serving or 2 of bread and raw cheese, and only a little bit of starch. So I'd say I get around 30 grams of protein per day, but I know it is assimilated at a much higher rate and therefore better net protein than if I had eaten 100 grams of animal protein, which assimilation is very low (and sucks up your energy to no end). Also I am consuming a wide range of ready-to-go amino acids, instead of proteins that have to be broken down and re-arranged in order to be used in the human body. Anyway, so this low-protein food plan helps me to feel lighter and have more energy (although probably contributes to bloating), and I feel this is right for me right now. I was considering the fact that most women use a high-protein diet to escape undesireable pregnancy symptoms, the irony in that, and possible reasons. After doing the nutrition/physiology research I have, my first thought was that high-protein diets AVOID these problems (i.e. suppress them) but low-protein diets SOLVE the problems (express them). Working from a detox framework, this makes perfect sense.
In other news, my face has broken out (and I don't own any make-up) and I have been experiencing these odd chest/neck pains that I used to get last year with my thrush. * Does anybody know about this? Or has anyone else experienced this? * It's like a knife in me, but only when I am in certain positions. So I have to sit leaning to the side, and when it's really bad I watch my breath. I found that I only feel the pain after my exhale. (By the way all these precise symptoms is exactly what it felt like a year ago, so whatever it is, at least it's consistent for me.) This pain is very tolerable, except a couple days ago it was pretty bad and I was breathing a certain way to avoid fully exhaling, and I couldn't get comfortable in any position. It was very bothersome, but I wasn't too scared or anything. I remembered my cousin got chest pains with a pregnancy and she went to the emergency room a few times, only to be told it's nothing and go home.
My belief is that our buried feelings tend to surface during pregnancy, giving us a chance to explore them and resolve them (and thus resolving on baby's behalf as well, preventing them from continuing on through the generations). Sometimes these emotions manifest themselves in physical ways. So on that really bad day, I took a bath and did some meditating to feel out the emotional cause of this chest pain. I was impressed that it is a result of a broken heart, all of the disappointment that I have felt through life, life letting me down, people letting me down, in particular the intimacy I long to feel with humanity that I have been unable to find. So I took some time to mourn over this. Affirmations didn't come to me, so I didn't do anything positive but I think it was beneficial to mourn. I went straight to bed and felt totally better the next day.
So after my shower I got up to try this idea. Tucked a stuffed animal into my very loose, low-cut undershirt, put a button-down shirt (not buttoned) over that, and that alone kept the stuffed animal nicely tucked in, nesled up next to my heart. But I think my baby will weigh more than half a pound, so I will need to wrap some fabric around and just tie it up (like a Mobi wrap sling). The only peice left to work with is whether the baby will need head support, in which case we'd have to wrap the sling a certain way to hold the head down (or worse case scenario, I just have one hand on the baby).
This might get a little tricky with E.C. (diaper-free baby) but we'll see what we can do.
This is my idea for the first month or so, just around the house. When we go out, I will dress the baby and wear a sling. Still, I want to avoid cars for at least a month (unless we drive illegally, with me in the backseat wearing the baby in a sling!) so we'll stay at home mostly, ride the bus, and send my husband out for groceries. We'll see if we can do this, if not we'll have to be flexible. This is my idea to keep the Fourth Trimester true, not separating the baby from adult contact (so other close adults can hold him/her, yes), which I learned about the importance of from the book The Continuum Concept.
I think if I had done this with my son, he'd be a lot more emotionally secure. I learned a lot with him, and having seen the consequences, I am doing my best to provide security, warmth, and ongoing affection for the next one.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So this got me thinking.... There is no way I am playing this game with a toddler AND a nursing infant. Kid, you got 7 months! He has a little bed in our room which he starts the night out in sometimes, depending on how exhausted I am (he needs me to lay next to him until he's asleep). So if I am on the verge of zonking out myself, I will just let him sleep with me. But now I am telling myself, I need a renewed effort! He's GOTTA start the night out in his bed so he gets into the habit, hopefully enabling him to sleep for longer and longer stretches before waking up to come in our bed. Cuz I just don't know how to handle this when there is an infant with us too! There is no way my husband is going to be down with 4 in the bed!
These are jeans I bought before getting pregnant, when I had gained some winter/hormone weight and needed a bigger size. I chose low-rise, with a stretch waist, hoping that it will fit into pregnancy. Well, the belt is officially off. I give these jeans another month. *Sigh* (BTW they are my only pants right now!)
Also, being self conscious about these standard long-sleeve tees showing off my chub, I purchased a top that is a little different and has a big pocket across the tummy. And thankfully it's winter, so I can always bundle up in jackets :)
I guess I am not used to showing early (or the chub) because last time I was sick for 3-4 months and actually started my pregnancy by losing 10 lbs!! Boy, that was nice :) But I sure made up for it, I think I started gaining at month 3 and by month 5 I was already up 20 lbs.
So we had a talk. I asked him, "Do you miss nursing?" We discussed why we've both been a bit grouchy lately (It's been ridiculous with the amount of "No"s I hear, and no matter what I say, he insists the opposite is true. This being contrary has really gotten the best of me lately). So we said, if he needs attention and needs to "nurse," that's fine! I expressed to him how it bothers me when everything he says is "no," and could he please say "OK mommy" instead? He agreed.
I think it's been hard on him not to have the intimacy with me, and so he has been contrary to get attention. (If he's anything like me, I know that is what's going on!) So now that I realize this, I need to be sure that when he acts out, instead of getting upset with him, we need to take a time out and go lie down and "nurse" and talk. So if we start each day like this, that would probably set the tone of love and respect all day (so far today he's been delightful!). I need to keep making an effort here because my first inclination is seriously just to be grouchy back, or to spank! We're like 2 two-year-olds going at it, how embarrasing for me. That's giving into my natural man... Yikes, gotta stop that.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Yes I have been eating a lot. I am not nauseas now that I am eating cooked food, but I have this compulsive appetite. I am not too concerned, but more reason to stay away from processed foods and focus on veggies (soups!). Today I ate so many meals pre-dinner that for dinner I just made a nice raw salad. Mmmm! I just threw stuff in the blender and made up my own "citris-ginger" dressing, with Wakami, which is now "a vegetable with a high mineral content" so nobody eating my meals gets scared off!
Thanks, "Anonymous" for your comments. Yes I am Sagittarius and A+!! I am the classic Sag, restless wanderer, idealist, enthusiast, etc. It would be good to hear about you... you should e-mail me, or leave a link.
It's been a while since we've had a baby (they'll be over 3 years apart) so we may be in for some surprises. We had some friends over the other night and were struck with reminders of what life is like with a baby! They have one, yes, and he fussed through dinner--we had to take turns holding him, they apparently have eating-with-your-left-hand-while-you-occupy-a-baby down. Whoa! We had totally forgotten about this. But yes, when Rychen was a baby we went to restaurants a few times and the company would take turns walking around the restaurant with him! A few times I nursed him at the booth while I ate (with my left hand)!!! Aaahh! This is so silly, so ridiculous, I can't believe I did this, I can't believe PEOPLE do this, and I have it coming at me again!
See, this is why I am an idealist. I see situations like this and say, "This was not meant to be.... What is wrong here? How do we remedy this?" So I pursue extreme AP, in hopes of stabilizing my baby's emotional health so that they don't have a need to fuss and cry at inappropriate times! :-) Seriously, I am going extreme next time. After reading The Continuum Concept, my child will not be more than 6" away from an adult for at least the first month, ideally 3. We will ride the bus with baby in sling. Skin-to-skin contact. Nursing very frequently! I am buying into this and will be acting like a lunatic, overprotective mother.
See, another thing was crying in the car. We remembered how Rychen would cry in the car and we'd have to reach a hand back to him and pat him or let him suck a finger! Now I understand why babies cry in cars, with no adult in sight, and more than a couple feet away (babies can't regulate their own electro-magnetic field, so they need to stay close to an adult for their first 3 months). How sad! Carseats are a sad, sad thing. I told my husband that when we HAVE to drive, I will sit in the backseat and rub the baby. (yes, sit between two carseats!)
I wonder what else I've forgotten about? Things that we did with babies, things babies do.... See I am not really a baby person. I don't get kicks out of holding babies, cuz really they don't do much. I am not "baby hungry," I am just excited to have children, to mother, to watch them grow and learn. But there is nothing especially appealing about a baby in and of itself. So I say, live the 4th trimester in tranquility, and then once they start doing stuff, the good stuff will happen. Ha! Sorry if I sound like a scrooge... I promise I will love my baby and I really am looking forward to this!!
I started on the raw path 2 years ago, after losing weight by following Dr. Joel Fuhrman's diet, and then finding Nature's First Law at my library while browsing for other vegan books. I didn't know much about the raw diet but the book intrigued me. As I turned page after page, I found the book very forward, very extreme, and yet I could not deny that these were truths. Although most readers would be aghast and incredulous, I was very intrigued. I searched for "raw food" on the library catalog and checked out every book I could find! My husband was already dealing with my extreme ideas of wanting to be vegan, so he would sure be in for a surprise!
The things I read made absolute sense, to the reasoning side of me, the religious side of me, and the activist side of me! I started buying loads of fruit right away. I ate 100% raw for a week but then decided to be more moderate about it. So I would cook a vegan meal with veggies for family dinner, and have mine with raw veggies and only little of the grain base. I stuck to fruit and salads during the day, which was easy to do considering Oregon's bounteous farmers markets.
I ate this way throughout the summer and fall, and then once the cold weather hit I began feeling weak, which was very odd for me. Raw food had given me so much vibrancy so I wasn't prepared for this setback that winter brought. I prayed about this and while studying scriptures, was reminded that Jesus ate fish. Our LDS scriptures advise against eating "flesh of beasts" and "fowls of the air," so I was relieved to realize that fish would be a preferable food. After adding fish to my diet, and some cooked whole grains, I felt well again.
But a couple months later, a yeast infection had me going back to raw foods. Robert O. Young's pH diet cleared that up within a couple days! And I was so excited about it that I stuck with the raw foods this time. It was nearly spring, and I stuck with it again throughout the warm months.
This was summer 2007, and my husband and I were talking about having another baby. I had read Jinjee's Ecstatic Birth e-book and had been looking forward to a raw pregnancy. As we prepared to conceive, I read more about raw nutrition for pregnancy as well as other big goals like Unassisted Childbirth. I was living high on the raw foods and seeing a bright future of huge dreams fulfilled!
Eating raw was never challenging for me in the warm months. I didn't even require motivation; it just seemed to come so easily to me! I felt fantastic and honestly, I had no desire to eat cooked foods! I loved the raw corn, bell peppers, pears and figs, which were a great price and fed me continuously all throughout the day. Also, in preparation for pregnancy, I did a few short juice fasts and herbal colon cleanses. I was on top of the world in terms of physical and spiritual health.
But when the cold weather hit, again I felt not-quite-right. This time I tried eating sushi, since my diet would still be raw. But I was getting mixed signals from my body and I wasn't feeling right. Off and on and I would get motivated to try raw again, so I went back and forth for a while. This lasted for 3 months, and generally I was really struggling with finding the right cold-weather diet for me. Meanwhile, a close friend who had eaten raw for 2 years straight decided it wasn't the path for her anymore. I lost the social support and discussed with her the downsides to the raw diet.
At this time I weaned my toddler and returned to fertility. Now was the time to get pregnant. The idealistic part of me said, "You can still do this! Go back to eating 100% raw and you can have your raw pregnancy!" This idea would last for a couple days, and I just wouldn't feel solid on the raw diet so I would go back again. To be honest, I also had concerns about my fertility on the raw diet. I wondered, was raw food the reason for my 2 ¼ year amenorrhea? Was I too skinny to be fertile? Why did I have to wean my son in order to be fertile, and was it just a coincidence that I finally got my period after eating cooked food and putting on 10 pounds? (I am very religious in my musings as well, and reflected on the fact that while on the "Garden Diet" in Eden, Eve was not fertile either! She had to experience carnality in order to bear children.)
Well, we conceived with the first try, at the end of November. My back-and-forths continued, as you can read about on my blog. (Sometimes I feel so silly with my public journal, exposing my weakness in not sticking to anything!) But when my nausea hit at 6 weeks, I started paying precise attention to the way my body reacted to certain foods, and fruit was exactly what set me off. If I ate raw I would feel shaky and nauseas all day—comparable to detoxing, except detoxing never lasted for weeks on end! And when I've done detoxes, I could still function. But I felt this way all day long and it was disturbing me. It was not a wholesome feeling.
As I experimented with some cooked foods, I found some to be very balancing to my body. In particular, unpasteurized cheese is satisfying and feels quite stable in my stomach. I am also eating whole grains, some beans, and vegetables. My raw foods are salads, nut milks, and a few pieces of fruit each day. My diet is still vegetarian, organic, and minimally processed. I now feel generally well, I'd say I can just barely tell that I am pregnant J I have no nausea unless it's a quick vomit after eating something that didn't agree with me (certain herbs) and my energy is pretty stable throughout the day, although not as high as I'd like! I feel well. When I eat, it is to feed my body, to balance me. I feel good about what I am doing because I'm not eating out of lust, and I do not feel sick or regretful after eating cooked food like I have in the past. I know I am not acting out of temptation, but rather from a sound rational mind. I still agree that raw foods contain more nutrition, but I am realizing there is more to the picture than that. I respect traditions such as Macrobiotics that acknowledge the metaphysical aspect of food, not just the physical molecules. We eat not only to nourish ourselves but also to balance our bodies, and depending on where our spirits are at that point in life, we may need foods with certain energies, other than raw.
This experience has been humbling for me. I am a very idealistic person and love to generalize truths to everybody. I would love to say I ate 100% raw for my entire pregnancy and had an easy, blissful pregnancy and birth. But that is not reality for everybody, namely me. I am learning that people really are different, on an energetic level. We need to respect that some ideas may not be suitable across the board, but that every individual should learn to listen to their body and eat for their needs. Having said that, I still LOVE raw food and consider it the ideal. I can't wait for the springtime when the Farmers Market will re-open and my body will thrive on living foods! Hopefully I will report at that time that I am eating just raw foods and preparing my body for a blissful unassisted birth!