Monday, July 9, 2012

The BIG NEWS: I'm pregnant!! :-) (and I'm back to the blogsphere) :-)

Me at a bit over 4 months :-)
Well the blog has been in hiatus since early April & I want to start off by saying how much I've appreciated the kind emails and messages encouraging me to post again.  It really means a lot to me to know how much you like the blog and how you actually miss it!  Thank you!  I want to apologize for not getting responding to a lot of those emails--for the last three months I have needed to disconnect completely from my blog life and focus on managing my pregnancy.  


Yup thats right folks, you heard me right.....here is the big secret news & the reason I stopped blogging for awhile:  we are pregnant!  :-)   I'm absolutely SO happy, grateful and excited about being a Mommy (our first!)!   


That said, I think its important to share honestly on this blog.  So I need to tell you all that for most of my early pregnancy I was scared, anxious and almost paralytically overwhelmed at the responsibility of nurturing a life inside my own body.  I fixated on doing the pregnancy "perfectly" (which of course is impossible) and then I critiqued myself constantly when I didn't live up to my expectations.  


I particularly felt like a failure because I wasn't able to maintain a 100% vegan diet.  All my best intentions went out the window with the nearly constant daily nausea and then I was hospitalized for food poisoning in the first trimester only to discover my blood protein levels were dangerously low.  I don't believe my low protein was because I was eating a vegan diet--I believe it was because I wasn't eating very many vegan protein sources.   For some reason eating more vegan protein just seemed to be beyond me at the time, and I got scared so I ended up turning to my old omnivore ways part of the time.


And so it went, week after week I felt sick, I was angry at myself for not enjoying this pregnancy that I longed for and not eating perfectly and I was building up a major resentment about having to work SO hard at my job when all I wanted was to stay home and rest.  In that chaotic mental state, its no wonder I didn't felt like blogging!  I just wasn't sure what I was going to say!  And even more than that, I felt like a hypocrite!  How could I possibly write about the importance of the vegan diet when I was eating meat a few times a week!!


Thank HP,  finally one of my twelve step eating recovery program friends said "Cat you need to start writing again.  Just write about how you feel & be honest.  You are eating mostly vegan anyways so just write about that."  She shared that wisdom with me two months ago and its taken me all that time to forgive myself enough to share my feelings with all of you (and to have my life calm down enough to have blogging time!).  I have such high standards for my own behavior.  When I don't meet those standards, years of program work has taught me how to be gentle with myself. And I was, gentle with myself.  Until I discovered that I had started growing a life inside of me and I seemed to forget that!


Now that I'm nearing the end of my second trimester things have changed.  I am so happy and grateful and feeling physically really good.  I'm much more able to truly celebrate the awesome gift we have been given.  I'm a LOT kinder to myself and accepting of my imperfect self.  Unsurprisingly, these good feelings have accompanied increased work in my twelve step overeating program!  I've come to accept that all the anxiety I felt at first was really me trying to control the impossible--my own body.  Over time, after I'd worked through a lot of the extremely negative body image issues (putting on weight was initially terrifying as I felt like I was heading back up to my 100lbs heavier self instead of having my body do what it was supposed to--nurture a new life!), I have been able to let go of the rigid desire to control this process & can now marvel at the changes in my body.  My hips are wider but that is because they need to support the baby better and prepare for labor. My shape has changed because the baby needs room to grow.  And so on and so forth.  I'm actually enjoying being pregnant--it really does make you feel incredible to have this life inside you.  At first it was extremely exciting and very weird to feel the baby move!  Now it just makes me smile deep inside because it is amazing to me to know that we as women have this ability to nurture life insides us--awesome.


So that is where I am :-)  In a funny way, going off my 100% anti-inflammatory vegan diet has really taught me how right my pre-pregnancy diet was for my body!  When I eat meat, sugar, gluten & dairy I have an amazing immediate reaction within 24 hours--body aches & headaches!  My GI issues have come back powerfully with the re-introduction of meat.  I know that some of you will think--well this is just due to pregnancy but I really don't believe that.  I believe it is due to the dietary changes--so over the last month I've been cutting back even further on the omnivore diet, heading back to a more predominantly vegan diet.  The trickiest part is that I really am not cooking much right now and I often get overwhelmed trying to count my protein carefully like I need to do when I eat more vegan sources. But I'm going to keep trying because I really want to raise my child in a vegan household--I just believe it is more nutritious and will help them (and my husband and I!) live longer.  I will be breastfeeding (at least I strongly intend to) so I will need to become comfortable eating more vegan protein for quite some time--would love to hear any ideas or recipes you guys have for higher protein vegan meals!  


I have done quite a bit of research this pregnancy on nutrition (among MANY other things baby & birth related) and I do think I will share some of my pregnancy-related findings on the blog.   I have been blessed to continue my abstinence unbroken in this pregnancy--which was only possible by my taking the advice of my new sponsor and others who helped me be comfortable with increased flexibility in what I consumed.   So I will share about that.   But I really want to continue to write about nutrition, recovery from obesity and medicine.  Being pregnant is obviously defining my life right now so I will write about it some--particularly some of the body image stuff because I think it is helpful to hear about that (I think its a pretty taboo subject so of course I want to talk about it!).  But the majority of my blog posts will be similar to those in the past.  


I love writing this blog and despite my broader personal diet I will continue to only write about my experiences with the vegan diet b/c I believe as a medical professional it truly is the healthiest way to live.  I've really missed sharing with all of you and I'm excited about returning!  And yes--I will share some photos of my journey :-) The photo above is not current but it does capture part of my pregnancy journey :-)


My blog posts will be much less frequent--probably about one per week instead of three or four--but I do hope you'll stay tuned in and comment.  Your words enrich my life.


So I'm back and happy to be here.  Thanks for reading & for all your love and support!  


Love,
:-)Dr. Cat

24 comments:

  1. Congratulations!
    So glad that your blogging hiatus has such a happy cause!

    To the protein question: I include small portions of the dal versions of beans (moong dal, urid dal)daily. I find they are easier on my digestive system and they contain more protein than the whole bean.
    I also put red lentils into all types of soup if I think I need more protein and I tolerate them pretty well.
    And I tend to eat a bit of Tofu on a daily basis. But I do remember you were not sure whether you can tolerate soy.
    I am really glad that you plan to again share your experiences with the blogging community!
    Greetings from Silvia in Germany

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    1. Thank you Silvia! Great ideas! I'm occasionally having soy these days without issue so I will definitely try that. So lovely to hear from you--thank you for being one of my first readers when I started the blog and for hanging in there with me through my absence!!;-))

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  2. I am so, so, so! happy for you and your husband. Congratulations! There is no doubt in my mind that you will be a wonderful mother. Glad to hear you're feeling better and enjoying this amazing experience. Look forward to reading your future posts. Remember, stand where you are!

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    1. Thank you!!! I really appreciate the comment on me & motherhood--so kind & definitely appreciated!! I'll do the best I can and I've wanted to be a Mom for a long time so this is so special! I like that "stand where you are!":-)).

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  3. You ROCK and your honesty is refreshing, glad to have you back.

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    1. Awww thank you! Happy to be back!

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  4. Congratulations!! Having a baby is such exciting news! I'm glad the first trimester sickness is over and you're able to enjoy this experience. I'll be super excited to read how you navigate this new journey in the vegan world!

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    1. Thank you!!! I do love sharing my journey and this one is definitely a big brand new horizon! Thank you for joining me for the ride!!!

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  5. Welcome back, Dr. Cat! I'm so so happy to see you back here! I was worried that something bad had happened to you. I am thrilled about your pregnancy and wish you all the best!!!!

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    1. Thank you Gina! I really should have posted something about being ok earlier so I appreciate your kind patience and apologize for causing you concern!! Thank you for your support and for celebrating this with me!:-))

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  6. According to Ginny Messina, "Any woman can feel confident about a vegan pregnancy with the easy-to-read but comprehensive Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book, written by a registered dietitian who also holds a doctorate in nutrition." The dietitian referred to is Reed Mangels.

    Just connecting blogs I read...

    Good luck with the pregnancy - you now have essentially no control over your body, so enjoy the ride!

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    1. Thank you Mary--I feel like I read that quote before? Is that from the Happy Herbivore blog?

      I definitely checked out Reed Mangels book from the library in my first month of the pregnancy--it's good but at the time I felt like it just wasn't specific enough to help me but maybe I should try reading it again. At the time I was SO overwhelmed so that colored everything! I'll check it out again--thank you very much for the rec!! :-)))

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  7. Congratulations!!!! How exciting!!!!

    I totally appreciate your honesty. I fell off the "vegan" wagon when I was pregnant also. I had just started eating vegan for a few months, then I hit 8 weeks pregnant and became sick at the THOUGHT of eating beans. I mean, I would actually vomit. :\ I was/am so disappointed in myself, thinking I could have tried other things, etc. but you have to do what works for you at the time. You do not need to be perfect, heck, it's not even possible. I know I don't read your blog because you are "perfect", I read it because you are inspiring and real.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your pregnancy. I loved being pregnant - it's amazing. Enjoy this time of extra attention and pampering, pretty soon people forget about you and will only be asking about the baby! :) Good luck!!! Enjoy!!!!

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    1. Meredith thank you SO much for this comment--it actually got me teary!!! Thank you for sharing your own struggle with me--oh the beans were such an issue for me--so awesome to hear that someone else faced the same challenge!

      And bless you for saying that you don't read the blog bc you expect perfection & that the honesty is inspiring---that really really touched my heart so thank you very much!

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  8. Awesome news! Congratulations!

    Do you like lentil soup (25 grams of protein/serving)? http://ohsheglows.com/2012/01/09/triple-lentil-recovery-soup-booty-camp-fitness-giveaway/

    It's so hot here I'm eating lentil salads rather than soup.

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    1. Thank you Jackie! I love "Oh She Glows" blog as well so I will have to try that! Do you have a fav lentil salad recipe? I love the soup too but am also melting in the heat here so a salad sounds really appealing!!;-)

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  9. Congratulations! I am glad you have been gone for a "good" reason. You had us worried :).

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    1. Thank you JC!! I'm so sorry that I worried you all--I really should have put something up saying I was ok but just overwhelmed earlier than when I did finally post this! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

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    1. Thank you!!:-). Feeling great these days!

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  11. Hi Dr. Cat, I agree with several others that we don't read your blog because you're perfect; we read you because you are REAL. (I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but I'm working my way towards that goal.)

    One other note, you might think of the meat,eggs, etc as a medicine you need while you are pregnant, maybe even nursing. Most of us wouldn't take antibiotics, antidepressants, or other meds unless they were needed. Eventually we can stop those things but they are needed as a bridge to maintain or restore health and balance. Also, as a mom, you learn that there are times when we don't always get our way.! (I have two grown kids.)

    Stay well, and do what is right for you. The rest of us here will support you.

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    1. This is VERY belated but I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this truly thoughtful comment. It really lifted my spirit to hear your kind words (many months ago) and I am very grateful. Thank you so much.

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  12. Congratulations Cat - What lovely news!

    We have ground hemp seeds in our porridge, which are a great protein boost!

    I was vegan when I was pregnant with our youngest child & found that morning sickness wasn't as bad as it had been with my other 2 pregnancies... I remember craving potatoes!

    Hope it all goes well for you!

    Kay :)

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    1. Thank you Kay! Very belated reply here but I really appreciate your well wishes! So great to hear from you. I hope you and your husband are still doing well.

      I've been a huge fan of hemp seeds during this pregnancy--seem to toss them in everything from pasta to toppings for waffles! My morning sickness was unfortunately not the best, but I'm feeling great now and so grateful for the gifts in my life.

      Thanks for being a part of the community here! Hope all is well in England! :-)

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