Love-Love Relationships

Week 34: 3.31.08


A Theory of Relativity

Making room for a new relationship in my life has changed my relationships to so many things. For one thing: my husband. I recently tried to express this for the first time (let's hope I didn't freak him out!) and it came out something like this:

Before, Aaron was the partner with whom I was building a home, a future. But very soon after I got pregnant, as though we had taken some new, deeper vow than we did when we got married in 2006, our relationship, our family, became my home and future.

Then there's my relationship to myself. I remember jogging on a hot day last September. My face was turning red in the heat and I'd just read that you shouldn't overheat while pregnant. I didn't feel pregnant yet, but was getting a good workout no longer healthy? Was I in fact being selfish? It was a confusing time, till the nausea came and cleared things up by essentially saying "You are not the same, you cannot do the same things, and this is not all about you." I hated feeling sick but it did make me realize I had to listen to and learn from this pregnancy.

I've learned a lot. I've even learned to let go of the "ugh, I feel fat" mentality. Well'…mostly. When the OB announces another 2 pounds in 2 weeks, I hear her saying that's right on target but all I'm thinking is "oh man, this better go away fast, or I'm going to get dumped right back at the bottom of the 'ugh, I feel fat' pit so fast I won't know what hit me." I look in the mirror at yoga class and I'm a little shocked that I don't see the lean, flexible creature I feel like. I'm puffy. But I have a big, round, healthy belly, and darling friends who tell me I look beautiful, and what can I do but accept this new, temporary, baby-growing me?

A Delicious Realization

Most surprising, my relationship to food has become joyously liberated. For the first time in at least a decade I feel a simple, healthy respect for my body's needs. No more eating salad for lunch, feeling cranky all afternoon, and thinking I deserve it because I ate ice cream yesterday and swimsuit season is approaching. Now if I have some ice cream, I call it calcium and move on! Hunger feels healthy, and for the most part, what I want when I'm hungry is healthy, satisfying, real food.

Sure, there are times when emotion calls the shots and I decide that only something really comforting will make me feel better. And often at restaurants I order the indulgent things I used to crave, only to find they're a bit overwhelming, not really what I needed. Before I got pregnant, I think that kind of thing was the norm. There was so much noise in my head about eating and body image, and so many social (not to mention professional) distractions.

Now the truth is loud and clear: a bowl of turkey chili, a walk in the park with Aaron, tea with a friend who says I'm glowing—that's everything this pregnant me needs to feel that all's right. I hope I can take these lessons with me into my postnatal life—especially as swimsuit season approaches.

Turkey Chile Verde