Sometimes we get sick of our own voices, so we introduce people we love who are willing to share their experiences with Prescribe Nutrition. As you know, juniors is our theme this month. Meet Elena Holsman. She is one of Megan’s friends, and a mom-to-be for the very first time. She’s a health nut just like us, but breaking down how pregnancy has been her biggest lesson in ‘letting go.’  We love her.

I am someone who has always liked to feel good about what I’m putting in my body. I come from a family that loves to eat amazing fresh food.  Most always, our family gatherings are centered around the wonderful food that my mom has always been able to whip up out of what seems like nothing.  When I was five years old, I told an out of town visitor that my favorite food was Arugula.  You get the point. 

Arugula. Every 5 year old’s favorite.

So when I became pregnant in January of this year, and all of the things that start to happen to your body when you’re growing a human inside of you started to happen, well I sort of didn’t know what to do with myself.  I was so excited I could barely contain myself, and all I wanted to do was run around and tell everyone that there was a tiny, tiny, tiny person inside me.  I kept real quiet though (thanks to my much more reasonable husband), and just tried my very best to take each day one by one and live in each moment of change.  Those first three months were a great test of my patience.  Aside from feeling like I had the worst hangover of my life for 90 days, I would say that things went smoothly.  The very hardest part for me was what happened to my appetite and my relationship to food. 

This is me, and my very hungry little baby inside.

Eating became something that I had to do, what felt like, 24 hours a day.  If I let myself go more than a couple of hours without food, I would melt.  My hormones would rage, my brain would totally fog over, and I would feel like I had been stuck at sea for days.  I learned to pack my purse with snacks.  My meals became a chore.  Nothing sounded good except for carnitas, tacos and pizza.  My husband was in heaven with my new ‘diet.’  I, on the other hand, was panicked.  Wasn’t I supposed to eat all those leafy greens right now?  What about all the omega fatty acids, and the full fat dairy to feed the baby’s brain?  What about all the images I remember of pregnant ladies downing a gallon of orange juice? I honestly felt like I would never again in my life want a salad, a piece of fruit, or anything that wasn’t made almost entirely of flour and cheese.  

                  What my brain wants for breakfast.    What my stomach and baby want for breakfast. 

And then, I gave in.  I decided that if what I needed right then was a 4:00 am snack of cheese and crackers to get me to sleep through the night, then I should do that.  If eating Arizmendi Pizza (little shout out) for lunch, and then again for dinner was all that sounded good, then my baby must be happy too.  If I was basically just turning into a pinto bean, then I should just shut-up and order another taco.  My body was asking for what it needed during those first three months, and I needed to oblige.  I lifted the self-inflicted weight upon my shoulders and just trusted that it would pass.  There are so many books, SO much on the internet, constant opinions (both from people whose opinion you ask for, and from people who think that you WANT to hear another pregnancy horror story.  Ahem.  No thank you).  There are the doctors who have conflicting information, nurses, midwives, teachers and the family members.  The best advice I got during that first trimester was to take deep breaths and to trust that instinctually you know how to take care of your growing baby. You just have to be kind to your body and try your very hardest to move all those other voices to the side.

And then…it passed!  All of a sudden the blanket lifted from my eyelids and the thought of eating green things didn’t make me want to cry.  I could eat a giant bowl of Arugula (mind you, with a pound of cheese and a handful of chicken).  It was like I was five years old all over again.  Letting go of such high expectations of both my mental state and my physical state during this pregnancy has absolutely been the biggest challenge I have faced.  Learning to relax about what I was putting in my body was the perfect start to parenthood.  We can only control so much and then….well, there are other forces that take over.  It’s ok to take a deep breath and let some things unfold as they are meant to be.