Ah, Pregnancy! Its a wonderfully chaotic time in a woman's life! The more children you have, the more important it becomes to try to be as intentional as possible about the choices you make in general, but especially during pregnancy. Of course, like with many other things, people tend to fall on a bell curve in regards to their feelings about tending to oneself during pregnancy. On one end, you have people that(say they) excercise every day, never let one bite of anything processed or un-organic cross their lips, faithfully take their prenatals(or not, since some believe that if your diet is good enough, you don't need a prenatal), and, in general, must be the women that 'glow' throughtout their pregnancies! :) Then, on the opposite end, are the people who feel that they can do as they please while pregnant because they've seen 'healthy babies born to crack-addicted mothers' so therefore, eating fast food and continuing bad habits such as smoking can't be THAT bad!(uh, someone get these ladies some proper prenatal education, STAT!). In the middle, thankfully, are women who do have their babies best interests at heart, but also live in the real world. I'm sure that if this blog had TONS of readers, I might catch the wrath of some overly-zealous foodies out there. Luckily, its just a few of us and these are just my opinions. We're all entitled to them. I find myself getting jealous at the preggos who say that a bite of junk food NEVER crossed their lips and kombucha or homeade kefir soda tasted much better to their pregnant palate than Dr. Pepper. However, with every pregnancy, I have absolutely horrible nausea. I can't stand smell. At all. Food with a smell absolutely cripples me for about the first 4-5 months. No cooked foods and I can barely tolerate grocery shopping. I have to go early in the day before the deli is really cooking. Also, I'm off gluten on the orders of two doctors. That can make navigating nausea and cravings a tricky thing. Now, luckily, for the most part, I wanted things like pickles, watermelon, iced tea and yummy smoothies! I had LOADS of fruit salads, caesar salads with homeade dressing, and DELICIOUS peanut butter cup protein smoothies!! Throw in some homemade yogurt and all the coconut milk and it wasn't a bad diet. Of course, like most pregnant women, I had oddball cravings! For chocolate covered bacon, chocolate chip bacon pancakes, lucky charms and Dr. Pepper were the big ones! I'm big on moderation and know the importance of proper weight gain throughout pregnancy, so I kept the crazy stuff in check, but didn't deny my cravings. If all I REALLY wanted for dinner was a HUGE bowl of lucky charms or some flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, then I went ahead and had that. I think part of it is listening to your body. So many people have, through years of improper diets and disordered eating habits, learned to ignore their body so that they can continue abusing it. I did it for YEARS. If you want cookies, and are satisfied after two cookies, then there is no need to eat a dozen. There isn't something magical in the bottom of the cookie jar. I promise. Except, at the very least, a massive belly ache. I've eaten my fair share of bacon, snickers and Dr. Pepper during this pregnancy, and I have to say I don't feel bad about it at all. Of course, I don't feel bad about my coffee addiction either, but I cut back a bit when, discussing the amount I drink with my midwives, I noticed them all flinch! (For the record, its about 30oz. daily...thats two of my coffee mugs full.) However, I know when to draw the line and what the ultimate goal is! While Pop Tart bacon sandwiches might SOUND nice, I would never eat one. Wheat+sugar=big hot mess! I knew it would make me ill, so that was one craving I just fought my way through. Listen to your body! Realize that, at the end of the day, what is best for your baby may be really rough on you. Think of it as training for parenthood. Children are NOT convenient or easy. They are wonderful and life-changing. However, at some point you(hopefully!) grow up and realize that your child's needs come before your wants. What is best for your children may be difficult and time consuming for you. I want a new sewing machine. My old one works just fine. I just want a newer, fancier one or, at the very least, a serger in addition to my sewing machine. I can get by with the one I was blessed to get. Thank God, because, while I may want these things, my children NEED to go to the dentist, have needed to go to the doctor, need nutritious food to be cooked and put on the table and need to be raised to the glory of God. Therefore my top priority is to focus on their needs. There are days I would LOVE to just lounge about not really worrying about getting things done because I have an 8 hour block of time to tend to my chores daily. However, what is best for my children, via conviction from the Lord, is to be homeschooled. It takes time and sacrifice to homeschool. Yes, it can be inconvenient from some peoples point of view, but since this is what I am called to do, really how inconvenient can it be? What is best for my unborn baby it to ensure that I do the best that I personally can to take care of her. I don't subscribe to the end of the bell curve that figures their body, placenta and baby can take one for the team and that the baby will come out fine. I know better than that so to act in that manner would be to throw caution to the wind and, in my opinion, act in a very selfish and self-destructive manner. Now, while I may like to be sitting out on a chaise lounge and having a margarita, thats just not realistic or healthy or necessary. Nor do I fall on the other end of the curve that says you must live pregnancy in a bubble and eat nothing but organically grown wheatgrass shakes and filtered water during your entire pregnancy. However, I do fall closer to that end of the curve. For full disclosure, I should state that I'm NOT a medical professional of any kind and this information is not to be construed as any kind of medical advice. This is merely my opinion based on my personal experience. I do believe that about 80% of the time one should strive to eat a really good diet. Foods that your great grandmother would recognize is a good place to start. Now, in my opinion, this is the ideal diet to follow during pregnancy. Some consider it controversial and there are aspects of it that I don't follow, such as drinking raw milk. Not because I have an issue with raw milk or those who drink it. I did before I got pregnant, but the cost and distance I had to go to procure it became too prohibitive. If I had a cow on my property, you bet your bottom I would get my fill of raw milk daily. Same goes for raw eggs. I've never had a problem with them, but food poisoning when you're pregnant is the suck, and I don't have my own chickens so I avoid raw eggs. This is what works for me and I can easily follow it. It focuses on real foods, which is easy enough. Now, you will see that is advises against sodas, commercially fried foods, refined sugar,etc. So, obviously, I haven't followed it to the letter, but, as I said earlier, 80% is my focus. This is another good prenancy diet that many women have followed. Again, the focus is on real food and ensuring that you get the appropriate amounts of the right foods. Of course, there are several other nutritional plans that can be followed such as: The Maker's Diet, GAPS, Paleo/Primal, etc. While I am familiar with those, I have not ever followed them strictly or during pregnancy and feel there are others far more capable of discussing them that I am. So, in my opinion, during pregnancy, you should do the best you can. Better than usual since you are growing a baby. However, you shouldn't beat yourself up if you have some kind of complication or illness that makes you only want to eat lucky charms. Pray Daily and follow the convictions that the Lord places on your heart. Drink plenty of water. Do some yoga or pilates daily(trust me!)! Take a vitamin. Don't feel bad if its NOT some fancy prenatal. Sleep as much as possible. Enjoy this short season in your life. It really IS a blessing and the outcome is WELL worth any trials you may go through during pregnancy!