I don’t give up easily. Even when I was pregnant, I powered through certain situations others probably would have taken a hard pass on (like spending the day on my feet at a company-wide volunteering effort). I don’t know what I was trying to prove, or to whom I was trying to prove it (other than myself). The truth is, there are sacrifices you make when you’re pregnant because you simply are not the exact same person you were before you started growing a human. Pregnancy doesn’t necessarily change you, but it does cause you to alter your behavior and curb certain choices, as you marvel in the amazing feat your body is undertaking. That’s why there are some things you give up when you’re pregnant that are totally worth it.
As someone with a Type A personality, I didn’t give up the gym (I took my last spin class on my due date), but I gave up certain aerobic activities. I didn’t completely change my diet, but I let go of certain foods. Even what appeared to be a sacrifice (what, I can’t have my late afternoon diet soda?) could turn out to be a benefit. Giving up that Diet Coke meant I didn’t have to pee so badly on my commute home.
When you're pregnant, you try to take care of ourself to the best of your ability, for the sake of your baby (and you). That’s maternal instinct, I guess. So, whatever “sacrifices” I made that led to my delivering two healthy, robust children were absolutely worth it. I never felt like I was losing myself in the process of becoming a mother. Instead, I was gaining some perspective on my ability to evolve my habits and lifestyle in an effort to make the world a better place for my kids. Turns out, giving up the following was just part of that process:
Downsizing The Coffee Order
I could not give up coffee, period. However, it is recommended to limit caffeine intake when you're pregnant. Getting a smaller cup made me sad and I felt so denied. So, instead I kept my generous cup, but filled it with half decaf and half regular. As tired as I was in that first trimester, I was glad that I didn’t have so much caffeine in my system. It made falling asleep much easier. Don’t deny yourself that sleep before the baby arrives. Seriously.
No More 'SNL'
Being tired meant passing out before the late night shows. Oh well, that's what the internet's for, right? I can have my sleep, and my laughs (the next day).
Shelving The Alcohol
My comfort level was to give up alcohol completely while pregnant. Not all women subscribe to that practice, and I am friends with plenty of healthy moms who had an occasional drink and gave birth to perfectly healthy children. As long as we’re checking with our doctors about alcohol consumption, we can make the best choices for ourselves about this particular "sacrifice."
As much as I loved my red wine, I didn’t miss it at all when I gave it up while pregnant, both times. By the time I was done nursing and ready to have a glass again, my tolerance was lower and I was happier drinking less.
Turning Down Deli Meat
There are warnings against eating deli meats and soft cheeses because of the risk of listeria consumption when pregnant. Thankfully, for me, giving it up was hardly a sacrifice. I craved lasagna. All the lasagna.
Giving Up Sushi
Sushi is another food on the pregnancy “watch list,” so I decided it would just be easier to eschew it altogether. It’s one of my favorite things to eat, so abstaining took a lot of self-control. The upside of giving up sushi was that I didn’t have to worry about eating anything that might have the potential to be harmful. My pregnant brain was already consumed with all the things I needed to start thinking (and having anxiety) about, with a baby on the way. Deleting it from my menu options was the best decision for me, and I was so excited to order from my favorite Japanese restaurant once I gave birth.
Leaving The Cute Shoes In The Closet
With an expanding middle, my balance wasn’t great during late pregnancy. It was safer to wear flats than heels. While my feet didn’t grow, I know a lot of women who go up shoe size (or two), which precludes them from wearing a lot of their favorite or fun pairs of shoes. Honestly, those shoes are rarely comfortable anyway and now you have the perfect reason to not shove your poor toes into tight stilettos.
Staying Grounded At The Amusement Park
Remember being so excited when you finally reached the height requirements for certain thrill rides? This is pretty much the exact opposite. Pregnant women are rarely allowed to go on anything that moves when visiting amusement parks. I wasn't particularly bothered, though. I was happy to sit in the shade at seven months pregnant while my partner stood in line for a good hour just to get his cookies tossed on a roller coaster.
Saying Goodbye To Belts
I barely wore belts before becoming pregnant, so this one was easy. Who needs anything cutting across your midsection as it starts to expand? Embrace the elastic waist!
Not Being Able To Do Sit-Ups
Pregnancy is the best excuse to ditch the crunches. Sure, there are other core-strengthening exercises you can do that would be safe, but it’s not like you’d be able to see the results while your belly grows, so why bother?
In the last trimester, bending over can be an issue, so my lace-up shoes were taken out of my footwear rotation. Slip-ons, flip-flops and stretch boots are a pregnant lady’s friends. I didn’t have to sacrifice style either, because Uggs are totally fashionable, right? Right?
Being Unable To Sit For Long Periods Of Time
This may sound terrible but if you’re stuck in a work meeting, not being able to sit any longer is the best thing ever. “Sorry, I gotta cut this short,” I’d say, placing a hand on my lower back and easing myself out of my seat. “Let’s pick this up a little later.” Like, when I’m on maternity leave and not responding to your many emails.
Dialing Down Your Speedwalking
I’m a New Yorker, so I move fast. Being pregnant was something of a wake-up call when I reached my eighth month and found myself needing to slow down. I couldn’t jog across the street as the “Don’t Walk” sign lit up. I wasn’t able to run to catch a train. Was I late a lot? Maybe, but I was also relieved of the responsibility of having to rush around. It was physically unsafe to do so, so I was forced to take it down a notch.
It took having to be responsible for the development of another life for me to treat myself a little better. But the lesson has stayed with me. There is no reason to make myself crazy in a race against the clock. Nothing is so urgent (unless I’m running to pick up a sick kid from school) that I need to put myself in physical danger when crossing a busy street. Pregnancy taught me that some “sacrifices” really force you to evaluate (and usually change) certain behaviors. So, yeah, it's all worth it.