I Gorged My Way Through Pregnancy And Have No Regrets

by Sarah Cottrell
gdinMika / iStock

My pregnancy was all about porn.

Food porn, that is. I mean, let’s get real, ladies, pregnancy should at least partially be about pleasure, right?

Pregnancy is a weird time for women. It makes us do insane shit like cry at phone commercials or get weirdly possessive over things that no one in their right mind gives a damn about (hello, body pillow). During the first trimester, we find ourselves settling into aches and pains and waves of nausea. During the second semester — if you were anything like me — you just wanted to eat everything in sight, take a nap, and maybe have sex before the next urge to cook your way through a Julia Child cookbook strikes again.

In the mornings, I could be found shaking my ass around the kitchen putting together the most amazing breakfasts I had ever had. I made everything from eggs Benedict to blueberry muffins to flapjacks and homemade maple syrup. I didn’t even care that I couldn’t drink coffee anymore; I just wanted someone to pass me the butter and that last piece of raspberry scone.

During my quiet afternoons, I would pull out my phone to look for nursery ideas or to catch up on which vegetable or fruit my unborn child resembled in size. But inevitably, I would find myself steering my attention back to the food porn boards on Pinterest where melty mushroom burgers and red velvet cakes taunted me. I would save images and recipes left and right and wait until I got to the market to get all of the things necessary to whip up a pan of lasagna big enough to feed a family of 12…or me.

During this epicurean eon of pregnancy, my husband became worried that I was overeating. My doctors warned me that I was not in fact eating for two and that I should be careful not to gain too much weight too fast. But all I wanted were pork chops with caramelized onions. And fudge.

I didn’t care if I got fat. The truth was, I did care that my body was healthy enough to carry a child to full term and then healthy enough to nurse productively for as long as I needed and wanted to. But after that? I really had no desire for a thigh gap or a flat belly again. For the first time in my life, I was giving in to my body’s desires for pleasure with absolutely zero regard for what culture says about it. This slightly Zen, slightly I-give-no-fucks attitude about my compulsion to enjoy food felt absolutely as close to a religious experience as I had ever had. Food porn was a thing, my thing, and it was making me experience my pregnancy in a blissful way.

After the miraculous experience of birthing my first child was over, my body parts began to settle back into their old neighborhoods. Internal organs shifted. Bones flexed. Muscles and tendons relaxed. The only thing that didn’t relax was my weight, but that was so far from the top of any sane priority list that I hardly paid it attention.

I had gained 30 pounds. No big surprise though. And no big regrets either. I ate my heart out and loved every single bite. To this day, my love for food is still passionate and curious, and food porn still makes my mouth water, but I’ve reined it in to a respectable daily calorie limit.

Pregnant women should revel in the things that give them pleasure, and fuck anyone else’s opinion on the matter. For me it was cooking and eating food. For other women, it could be anything. It could be yoga. It could be knitting. It could be jamming as much sexy couple time in as possible before delivery. What matters is not sticking to a textbook idea of health but rather finding pleasure and beauty in being pregnant and allowing that experience to guide a woman’s journey toward motherhood in as wonderful and delightful a way as possible.

After all, melty mushroom burgers are magnificent and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.