Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Baby detox, maternal guilt
You see a sweet little bright-eyed baby. I see a sweet little bright-eyed baby with puffy eyes and a double chin.
With my first three pregnancies, I did the best I could with the information and skills I had at the time. With Simon, it was the Brewer diet, which focused on getting 100 grams a day of protein. I also started eating meat again, with the encouragement of my midwife, because my iron was very low (a long story which is discussed in my bio in the archives). And I ate a pint or two of Ben and Jerry's a week (now did I truly believe that was for the health of the baby?). With Keziah and Salome, I had discarded the protein myth and begun to move away from dairy. I also stayed vegetarian, although I remember having a few cans of salmon. I also had added a bit more exercise in... But emotional eating and overt fats were a big part of my life. I had high blood sugar in all of my pregnancies.
My babies were quite big from birth, and only gained in girth from there. My youngest daughter was 9 lbs. 10 oz. at birth and 26 pounds at 6 months, exclusively breastfed. I got continuous compliments about how fat she was, and I took personal pride in having supplied the calories. LOL! When I came to the low fat raw vegan lifestyle, she was 2 1/2, and I realized how my high-fat diet had adversely impacted my babies. I always thought that if I ever were to have another baby, I would do it all right!
Well, I can say that my diet and exercise improved dramatically from my earlier pregnancies, but it didn't match up with my knowledge... And so I feel a great sense of disappointment. I would like to be the best mom possible for my children, and I feel a sense of regret that I haven't been.
I feel grateful that I can stay home and nurse my little guy. I know I have contributed to his health when I see the glow of his skin, his bright eyes, his intelligence, curiousity and enjoyment of life. He has never been truly sick, although he did get a cough and runny nose when the rest of the family had a bout of the flu in October. He is very active and can already crawl rapidly, stand unassisted, climb three stairs, and walk easily around the furniture.
I find it interesting that his poop is different than my other babies. It looks like sweet potato baby food. My others had poop that had curds of fat in it, like cottage cheese. I can only assume this is an improvement connected to my decreased fat consumption. Of course, if you have ever been around formula fed babies, you have seen and smelled the dramatic difference in their poo. Uck!
But I can always see the consequences of any less-than-ideal food I eat on my little guy. Though his poo isn't fatty, he is a little on the chubby side. Born weighing 9 pounds even, he is 22 pounds at 8 months. He stores fat like his mama, in his saddle bags. LOL! And have you ever seen an 8 month-old with cellulite? Poor kid. Also, if I have a fatty binge (Halloween, anyone?), I notice he gets oily wax discharge from his ears.
If I eat beans, he gets gas. I haven't figured out what exact food gives him the puffy eyes, but they only come around after I've eaten something less than optimal.
The worst part is that he is so interested in what we eat now. He sits in either my lap or Jason's during dinner and reaches for everything. We let him grab lettuce or pieces of fruit to taste, but push the cooked food out of his reach. He watches us fork it into our mouths with the intense look babies get when they first begin to explore eating. I feel sad to think what we're imprinting into his brain.
I know that guilt has no real benefits. I do not change my behavior because I feel guilty. But my awareness is expanding. I see now how loving myself and caring for my own health, can impact the health and well-being of all those around me, especially my precious children.