Gestational Diabetes - What To Do When Your Asshole Placenta Messes With Your Anti-Dieting Stance!
I was absolutely raging when I found out I had gestational diabetes, honestly, I had such a disproportionate reaction to it. I think because I have a high BMI (and always have by the by, even at my skinniest and in the height of an eating disorder, my BMI was still in the “overweight” category, I’ll chat another day about why I think BMI as an indicator of health is absolute bollocks!) and had been harassed, and yes, I'd call it harassment, by almost every healthcare professional I’d met up to that point in my pregnancy about my BMI and was treated like GD was a foregone conclusion. So it frustrated me to not prove them wrong, yes, I am that petty!! But also, it’s a pretty upsetting diagnosis regardless, nobody wants to have GD, it’s such a massive pain in the (let’s face it, already very uncomfortable) backside. Pregnancy is hard enough without the added pressure of thrice daily finger prick tests, a strict diet and exercise regime and weekly calls to the GD clinic where, in my hospital, you ran the gauntlet of either the lovely kind Miss Honey midwife or the mean judgy Miss Trunchbull midwife answering your call. It’s all kind of terrifying and overwhelming, and you’re bloody well pregnant, so all feelings are multiplied by eleven billion anyway!
With regards to the diet and dieting, personally, I am a comfort eater, when I’m having a hard time emotionally, I like to eat delicious things. I’m not ashamed of it nor am I in the business of trying to change it, I accept it. I am human and it’s very normal, everything we do is guided by our emotions, including how we eat.
So, in what was an extremely challenging pregnancy for me physically but mainly emotionally, not having the comfort of foods I love available to me was very difficult. It was also difficult to go on a diet, even a medically necessary one, as someone whose eating disorder was partially compulsive dieting. I had worked long and hard to move away from a diet mindset so it was a very real concern that engaging in a diet would send me spiralling back in to disordered territory. But I did it, I escaped unscathed, precisely thanks to all the work I'd done, and I was luckily one of those who managed to control the GD with diet and exercise and didn’t need to do insulin injections.
Just an aside, lots of women need the insulin, it is not a failure on their behalf, I am not better nor did I work harder than others by keeping mine under control with diet and exercise, I lucked out. The women who need insulin simply have even more aggressive jerk placentas than the rest of us. That’s what it is. It’s not something to blame ourselves for (though the GD clinic in my hospital sure did lay on the shame/personal responsibility insinuations, as if shame and blame ever helped anyone with anything *eyeroll*), women of all shapes and sizes get GD, it is the placenta blocking insulin production, that’s it!
Anyway, I got through my last trimester by eating lots of protein, reducing carbs, no sugar, portion control, daily walks. It was truly magnificently B.O.R.I.N.G (I mean, beyond dull, I can’t believe I lived my life like that on and off for almost two decades) apart from the walking actually, I liked that part but I always have, that wasn’t anything new…. but then literally as soon as baby was born and the asshole placenta was out I was like GIMME ALL THE BREAD IN THE HOSPITAL NOW MOTHERFUCKERS. Eight weeks later I’m still a bit like that, carbing my face off, and it is glorious. I genuinely don’t mind if I gain back whatever weight I (unintentionally) lost in late pregnancy, I’m so happy with my gorgeous baby, I'm delighted to not be pregnant anymore, I’m eating what I love, and I haven’t fallen back into the diet culture trap of believing my body is better smaller or that certain foods are “bad” so it’s all good! That’s much healthier to me than obsessing over calories in/out or did I get my 10k steps in or eating “clean” and so on. I also recognise that the restrictive nature of the GD diet is probably why I’m in a bit of a binge cycle at the moment, and I know that it’s starting to pass now so I'm just letting it happen and allowing myself to eat what I crave, but it’s interesting isn’t it? When we restrict it just makes us want the perceived “bold” foods way more.
That’s all really, I thought it’d be good to share my GD experience from the point of view of someone who is anti-dieting. When I got my diagnosis I would have loved to have found a blog post like this but there was literally nothing, it was mainly women saying stuff like "at least I won't have to worry about losing the baby weight now", which is fine, you do you, but it's far from the kind of rhetoric or support I was looking for myself. I would love to hear from other GD mamas and your experience in the comments!!