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Thursday, August 11, 2011

On food and having babies

Photo taken by my sister Anne when Cate was about 1 week old

My body does not like being pregnant. It’s a fact. It happens every time. And yet, here we are, working on baby number 3. Sometimes wondering why we are working on baby number 3 (just kidding!), yet always beyond happy that we are.

As you may have noticed, one of the biggest impacts that pregnancy has on my life is in my relationship to food. For the first half of my pregnancy, I can barely keep any food down with the help of medication. It’s a constant struggle to keep myself, and my baby, nourished. Then, once the crazy nausea and vomiting have dissipated, the constant acid reflux controls what I do (or do not) eat or drink right up until the baby is born. My current food predicament? Nothing sounds good to me. Yes, I’m starving, but I have no zest for food. Except chocolate lava cakes. There is always zest for chocolate lava cakes.

The thing is, food is essential and central to the experience of life. Especially my life. I’m a mother, constantly needing to feed two (and a half) little people. I’m a food blogger, constantly wanting to write about food. And, at the most basic level, I’m human, needing food to survive. So when the relationship I have with food is so wrought with problems, it really does affect everything. It’s beyond frustrating.

I want to complain. And often I do. And I invariably feel guilty about the complaining, despite caring friends and family telling me I have every right to complain, that I should get it all out without feeling guilty. And even though sometimes (okay, maybe more than sometimes) you can find me whining about my latest pregnancy-induced ailment, I truly am so grateful to be growing this little life inside of me. And whenever I do feel like I’ve hit rock bottom…too sick or in pain to move, to be a mother, to be a wife, and feeling depressed as a result of all of that…I remind myself of that gratitude. Grateful that I am in this position to begin with and that, despite the crumminess, in reality everything is healthy and wonderful and the end result will be breathtaking.

I also can’t help but think of many of my friends. My single friends who wish so much they were married and having babies of their own. My married friends who never could get pregnant or who struggled for years to conceive, with month after month of heartbreak defining the process. My friends who are parents but for various reasons cannot have more children and constantly feel a small hole in their life where that child they thought they would have should be. I love these friends dearly and I hope that I have been able to keep my shallow complaints about sciatica and heartburn to a minimum in their presence.

I very recently had the most precious moment with our little Anna, who is now three years old. As the pregnancy progresses and she gets a little older, her interest in her baby brother increases. It’s so sweet to see the evolution. Two days ago she was gently feeling my belly, trying to see if she could feel the baby. He wasn’t moving, but there was a bump that she said she could feel. I am never quite sure if she really gets what’s going on, but I love that she tells me she does.

After a few seconds, she laid her little head to my belly and said, “I can hear his dreams.”

She’s three and you can’t always understand everything she says. I wasn’t entirely sure she had really said the word dreams, so I asked, “You can hear the baby dreaming?”

When she answered that, yes, she could, I asked her what he was dreaming about.

“He’s dreaming about us.”

And at that moment all of the struggles didn’t matter. All I could feel was love and gratitude. For my supportive husband. For my friends who, no matter their own circumstances, are truly and wholly happy for me. For my beautiful daughters anticipating the arrival of their little brother. And for this person moving around inside of me who, before I know it, will be grown up and having babies of his own. And so I take my iron pills, throw a pillow between my legs and eat my dinner that doesn’t really taste that great. Because life is good and I’m lucky I get to experience it.


  1. 1
    Debbie Ward

    You expressed that beautifully Jane. Brought tears to my eyes and was a gentle reminder to us all to truly treasure what is most important. Thank you for this today!

  2. That brought tears to my eyes! Such a special special thing…

  3. 3

    I teared up Jane. This is a beautiful blog post!

  4. 4

    I love that Anna thinks she hears her baby brother’s dreams…especially when they’re about all of you.

  5. 5

    Such a beautiful way of expressing such a conflicting time–I fully agree (and comiserate!) with it all. Luckily, every second of pain and discomfort is worth it the second you look into that new baby’s eyes. Oh, and the food tasted SO good that first month after it all!

  6. 6

    “He’s dreaming about us.” That’s a quote to remember always. Oh, how it made me cry! Thanks for sharing and all the best to you at this time:)

  7. I feel like I’m walking through this with you, having these same thoughts, feeling the same guilt, and ultimately feeling the same gratitude for new life, my children, and my dear husband. I’m due in October. Making food decisions is tough, cooking is even tougher, and cleaning the kitchen after a long day is near impossible. I have to call it a day after dinner (or lunch) every day. My back hurts, my feet hurt, it’s been 50+ days of over 100 degree heat and no rain in Texas….I like to complain too (it’s a part of being pregnant I think.) However baby number 3 is on his way for you and for me. I’m trying to savor all the lasts of each moment of this pregnancy. For my family this is it. I will never experience this again. Thanks for reflecting and reminding me to be grateful during this moment.

  8. 8
    Janelle McCreary

    This post seriously warmed my heart… I have nearly the identical problem(s) while pregnant… it was great to hear your perspective and the wisdom of Anna.

    I will remember that during these next few months…

    Thanks Jane.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. 9

    Janey May, you just made me cry too! Such beautiful words. I love how Anna put it all in perspective. In a short time you will have this precious little boy to love and watch grow. And I promise you that you will once again have a wonderful relationship with food. Hang in there the best is yet to come!

  10. Well said, Jane. I, like you, do not do pregnancy well. Same issues, too – months of naseau followed by months of reflux. I love how you try your best to see the good things in it. Because it truly is a miracle. Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy.

  11. That was beautiful.

  12. 12

    My eyes are tearing up Jane. How sweet 🙂

  13. 13

    Absolutely beautiful.

  14. 15


  15. 16
    Erin O.

    Leave it to the 3 year old to drop such a sweet bomb. Cheers to you for saying all of this out loud. I have the same pregnancy experience and it’s hard to feel okay about complaining/venting/sharing because, yes, you feel lucky to BE pregnant when so many struggle. Babies are wonderful. Pregnancy…not so much. 🙂

  16. I think any mother who read this teared up, myself included! Beautifully said and your daughter sounds wise beyond her years! I hope food can be appetizing to you again soon!

  17. 18
    Maria Pitts

    Jane…I love you and your precious family! Look forward to seeing photos of baby boy in the near future. 🙂

  18. 19

    Lucky-yes you are in every sense of the word, and I’m happy that you understand and acknowledge the fact that some people aren’t as lucky as you…and I am saying this to you with fondness and love in my heart. =)

    My husband and I are on our 3rd year of trying to start a family and after 4 attempts at fertility injections, we will being resorting to IVF in just a couple weeks. God has blessed you with “3” beautiful babies, and I am hoping that He will fill our hearts with as much love for just one. Hang in there!

  19. 20

    This is beautiful. I love what Anna said – how amazing! Miss you tons, and wish I could be there to hear every “complaint” and marvel at the soon-to-arrive little one. BTW, at first when your site came up I thought the pic of you and Cate was of you and little boy Maynard! Just a bit early…ok, quite a bit early. 🙂

  20. Beautiful post. Definitely brought tears to my eyes.

  21. What a sweet post, on so many levels. I highly recommend chocolate lava cake every single day, especially if it’s the only thing that sounds good. That and maybe rootbeer floats?

  22. 23

    Incredible beautiful post that I needed today. I am in the last week of pregnancy and have extremely hard pregnancies as well. I can’t wait for it to be over to be able to be there for my other kids again. Thanks for the reminder of how it is all worth it and I truly have so much to be thankful for…

  23. 24

    Thank you for this article and your understanding. My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for over two years. I hate when people complain about their pregnancies or their kids. I know it can be hard sometimes but nothing worth having is easy. In the end getting pregnant and having a healthy baby is a privilege, one that many people take for granted.

  24. 25

    I remember when my youngest was born – Aaron (@3yrs old- the middle child) laying to go to sleep – telling me a week after his brother was born – “ok he’s fun” “but can we send him back now!”
    this year Neil the youngest(18yrs) is leaving for college – last weekend they were all home! Grace(25yrs w/ her husband), Aaron(22yrs) and Neil all home to help celebrate my birthday – the best part they all like and get along so well! Had a great time just hanging out with each other!

  25. 26

    I loved that! Exactly what I needed to read right now. I am 8 months pregnant, and at times I do feel like a big complainer. My back hurts, heartburn, moodiness, uncomfortable sleep, this new body.. Food is also eh to me right now.

    However, I feel the same way you do. I am so thankful to be married to a man that I really love and making this a family of three. I always wanted children, and I am so grateful to be pregnant with this one.

    I am trying to make the best of it everyday, as it sounds like you are!

  26. 27
    Natalee Maynes

    I LOVE this Jane! So perfect!

  27. 28

    Beautiful and honest. Sometimes it can all just be downright hard. But so wonderful at the same time! Thanks for sharing. I’ve wondered if it gets hard to run a website like yours when you’re so busy with the throws of motherhood, and life! You seem to be doing a fantastic job, of both. 🙂

  28. Thank you for that post, Jane. That is perfect for us right now. I had the worst pregnancy with my first (9 months of morning sickness even with meds, sciatica, carpal tunnel, heartburn, 3 months of antibiotics for chronic utis, etc.) I’ve been a little gun-shy to get pregnant again, but this really puts things into perspective. It is SO worth it after they come. Good luck to your family, and I can’t wait to hear about the newest addition!

  29. 30
    Kelly B

    Such beautiful thoughts! I’m due with my second child in September and reading this post totally hit home with me. 🙂 Meal planning & grocery shopping seems to be such a difficult task when pregnant. Thanks for reminding me of the blessings I have in my life. I’m so grateful to have your website to help meal plan during this pregnancy, it’s been a lifesaver! 🙂

  30. Bring on the tissues! So sweet.

  31. 32

    I hope your friends took in every bit of this.

  32. 33

    Anna’s comments are truly the sweetest, lovliest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Beautifully shared. I thank you.

  33. 34
    Jane Maynard

    I just wanted to thank you all for your sweet/heartfelt/touching comments…I didn’t want to go on a comment frenzy on my own blog responding to each comment, but I wanted to! just wanted you all to know how much I appreciate your words and the stories you share…

  34. 35

    awwww, Janey-Jane 🙂 miss you! Thanks for your eloquent and heartfelt words.

  35. 36

    How precious, thats what life is all about.

  36. 37

    Wow, what a sweet, sweet experience with your three year old. I wonder if what she said is true. Maybe she knows something none of us do. Maybe she felt him anticipating coming into your family. I think that little children are closer to heaven than we realize. This makes me excited to have another baby. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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