Ok, I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a cereal girl. It’s been my post-race snack after high school cross country, comfort food in college and my favorite breakfast food. But while I was pregnant, I got unexpected news that would change not only my breakfast routine, but my perspective as well.
My relationship with food has not always been a good one. Being a perfectionist, I’ve spent much of my life reading nutrition labels and wanting to control every bite I took.
However, I was in a good place when I got pregnant. I finally had freedom, peace and enjoyment when it came to food. I’d embraced the idea that pregnancy would change my body, but I was determined to do everything I could to be the “perfect” pregnant woman.
To me, this meant I would enjoy “eating for two”, but I’d also work out like crazy so as to not gain much extra weight.
Until the halfway point of my pregnancy, everything was normal. My husband and I were thrilled when we learned that we were expecting a little girl.
Then, around the 20 week mark, I had to take a routine glucose tolerance test. After failing it, and a more extensive test
that followed, I got the less thrilling news that I had Gestational Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a diagnosis of elevated blood glucose levels in pregnant women. The hormones in the placenta that help a baby develop can also block the insulin from doing its job: changing blood sugar into energy.
When I got the news of my GD, I was shocked and embarrassed. For someone who prided herself on eating healthy and being active, this was not what I expected. Didn’t overweight people get diabetes?
I was frustrated. After finally experiencing peace and enjoyment over food, I was going to have to analyze and read the labels of everything I ate to monitor the sugar content. I had to prick my finger three times a day to check my
glucose levels. The fun of “eating for two” was over.
Many people- including dear friends of mine- deal with much more serious struggles during pregnancy. But as I look back on my months with GD, I realize that it wasn’t wasted. I did learn a few things about perfection, sacrifice, and of course, sugar.
- Perfection is impossible. The definition of a perfect pregnancy wasn’t contingent on how cute I looked or how much weight I gained. Embracing the imperfection in my situation allowed me to connect with others and recognize my dependence on God. Letting go of the desire to be perfect is a skill I hope to pass along to my little girl.
- Sacrifice is a cornerstone of parenthood. I experienced unique sacrifice early on as I had to give up many foods I loved (hello, cereal!) that weren’t good for my baby. Recognizing that I needed to prioritize my child was good “perspective shift” for my self-focused mentality.
- I made healthy changes to my diet. I was careful to limit my sugar (carbohydrate) intake… especially in the morning. This meant exchanging my beloved cereal for a protein-rich breakfast of eggs; granola bars and crackers for almonds and Greek yogurt. Changes like this allowed me to manage my GD and also my pregnancy weight gain. I was able to gain only a moderate amount of weight and lose it quickly after delivery.
Though I would have loved a more simple pregnancy, I realize that it was still amazing because of the gift of my beautiful daughter and the things I learned along the way. And guess what I now crave in the morning for breakfast…. Eggs!
By guest writer Beth Cieminis: Beth is a stay at home mom to her little girl, Leah. She has a background in teaching physical education. She and her husband reside in Orange County.