Friday, April 26, 2013

Conception, Pregnancy, and Nursing

Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and thought, "Wait... that's me?  When did I get that big?"

This was one of those pictures for us:

This photo was taken at a family reunion in the Spring of 2009. At the time, we had three children and had experienced at least one miscarriage. (Maybe two by this point.  We had four miscarriages that year.)

A miscarriage does crazy things to the body.  First of all, the whole body doesn't always recognize that you are no longer carrying a wee little child.  Hormones are going crazy, and the whole system seems off.  Even if you hadn't gained much pregnancy weight yet, the hormonal issues can cause a gal to gain something similar to the Freshman 15. And, on top of that, there's the emotional eating.  Before I knew it, I had packed on 25 extra pounds.

This picture caused me to analyze my diet. Several months later, I decided to take the leap and go Raw Vegan, a diet I was fairly familiar with and had "tried" before. I stuck to it for several months, following our third miscarriage, because I knew I needed to reset my body. I was pretty sure my diet was the cause of our infertility problems.  I did go on to have another miscarriage while I was a raw vegan, but that was not due to my diet, but rather due to a drug I was given in the hospital for some kidney problems I was having.

By December, we were pregnant with our fourth child, Evangeline.  I've mentioned before how vegan and vegetarian diets didn't work for us because we were never full and still had some issues, but the wonderful thing about being a raw vegan was that, similar to the Paleo diet, grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and processed, chemical junk was totally absent from my diet.  For the first time in my child-bearing life, I had a very smooth pregnancy.  With the first three, especially the third, I had been so terribly sick the first 20 weeks I could hardly function or keep any food down.  It wasn't just "morning sickness", it was "life sickness".  It was enough to make me wonder if I could even handle another pregnancy (but, you know, those little boogers are just so stinkin' cute that I felt it was worth it).

My last two pregnancies (Evangeline and Molly Jo) have been so wonderfully smooth.  When I found out I was pregnant with Molly Jo, I was actually doing a juice fast and was about to transition into a raw food diet again. I had issues with anemia (as I have had with all my pregnancies), but I realize now something about the raw food diet was allowing me to skip over the miserableness of nausea and the worst bits of pregnancy (sickness).  I have found that other women are experiencing the same thing, not because they are raw vegans, but because they have at least removed grains, dairy, and sugar from their diet (many of them have removed legumes too).

This tells me that the Paleo diet, and even the Whole30 challenge, are safe for most pregnant women.  I am currently breastfeeding and have not experienced any negatives. My baby is actually healthier and feeling much better now, which is a huge blessing.

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