Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What do you worry about?

Jo had a post on this subject, or at least something like it (um, scroll down past the sex rags part to see what I'm talking about), a couple of years ago. (Damn, have I been reading IF blogs that long?) And seeing as how I am currently consumed by worry, and how a lot of the (14 or 15) people reading this weren't part of the blogosphere when Jo wrote her original post with its fascinating comments, I thought I'd revive the topic.

I was never one of those green-tea-swilling, pineapple-munching, my-body-is-a-temple TTCers. I mean, it probably didn't hurt that by the time I started TTC, I'd already spent my 20s transitioning over into a diet of less meat, more beans/greens/grains, organic/hormone-free when I could, no high-mercury seafood, etc.; that I've never been a big caffeine consumer or fast-food addict; or that I'm smoke-free and, thanks to local ordinances, almost never come into contact with cigarette smoke anywhere in my daily life. But I drank (copiously) during my follicular phase, consumed refined sugars with abandon (except when metformin punished me for it), ate street food in Bangkok and slathered myself with DEET in Cambodia.

Once I got pregnant, it was a mixed bag. I ate as decently as I could, but several months went by when I couldn't force down a green vegetable if my life depended on it, and once freed of the bowel-churning grip of metformin, I never met a brownie I couldn't love. I've avoided the litter box (but really, when you have a totally indoor cat, pregnancy is just a convenient excuse to avoid a stinky task), but have had no problem eating slightly rare meat, smoked fish, soft cheeses (though I do steer clear of raw milk cheese), or cold cuts. Hey, when you are seven months pregnant and craving a muffaletta, nothing else will do. My doctor said sushi was fine, and if I'd been more mobile during this pregnancy, I would have eaten it nonstop. (Unfortunately, the only sushi place that delivers in my 'hood is slightly sketchy, and I'm thinking if I eat sushi, it should at least be good sushi.) I got a thimerosal-containing flu shot and haven't looked back. I have mostly avoided alcohol--just a few thimblefuls of wine through this whole pregnancy--but haven't been particularly militant about it. My husband makes the most divine sauces using wine or brandy and I'm not going to obsess over whether every particle of alcohol has cooked off (which I'm sure it hasn't).

Instead, I've gotten swept up in more obscure worries. (Incidentally, you know you have gone off the deep end when you identify with a parenting subculture written about in New York magazine, home of the repulsively overprivileged with too much time on their hands.) Phthalates, PDBEs, parabens in my personal care products, and of course the Dresser of Death. I've bought "green" cleaning products, an organic crib mattress, and glass baby bottles. In other words, I've basically ignored the things 99.999% of pregnant women worry about and zeroed in, laser-like, on the things only 0.001% of humans have even heard of.

(I am NOT, however, worried about the effects of ultrasound, as was a recent poster on the message boards who was freaking out over having had three ultrasounds her whole pregnancy and would it give her baby autism. Having had probably 20+ ultrasounds this pregnancy, I could only laugh.)

The scariest part is, as Meira so eloquently pointed out in her comment to my last post (and BTW thank you, Meira, for saying EXACTLY what I needed to hear, both about the breakdowns and about the breastfeeding), and as someone said in the comments to Jo's post, even if we do everything "perfectly," there are no guarantees. You can have the purest diet, the healthiest lifestyle, the cleanest environment around, and have cycle after cycle after cycle crash and burn, or suffer multiple losses, or have a child with serious problems. You can eat nothing but McD0nald's for nine months and have a happy, healthy baby.

What do you worry about?


Blogger May said...

Oddly, I'm pretty much the same as you. I tried to avoid things while pregnant that I knew might be harmful, within reason. I try to feed my daughter organic foods when practical, but now that she's over a year I'm much less militant about it. (Except I still will only give her organic, hormone-free milk. But then again, she drinks her body weight in that stuff every two and a half weeks.) I get her any vaccine her pediatrician recommends without hesitation.

But yes-- offgassing, neurotoxic chemicals, etc... If it's obscure, I worry. I guess I do my best with regards to the stuff I know about, but I worry what's lurking out there that I don't know about.

35 and a half weeks now, right? If you're not careful, this kid's going to go full-term!

10:53 PM  
Blogger MsPrufrock said...

I started eating more organic foods when I was pregnant, and I'm particularly militant about organic, hormone free milk (like May), organic, free range eggs, and organic meat which is also hopefully free of hormones.

As a woman with PCOS and now a mother to a daughter, artificial hormones terrify me. A veggie friend of mine loaned me Ruth Ozeki's "My Year of Meats" a few years ago and ever since then I refuse to buy anything that might contain growth hormones. Genetically my kid has enough to work against without exposing her to something which can bring on menstruation at 10 or breast growth at 8. Ugh.

I don't worry about the more arcane things. Yet. I'm a natural worrier, so the first time I read articles about the things you've mentioned I'm sure I'd go off the deep end. I'll skip your link for now I think.

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Kath said...

Dear Electriclady, I think I would worry about the same things as you. Because my worries have to be somewhat off the beaten track -- have to be something that no one knows much about, so no one can really put my fears to rest on... It's quite mind-altering, really. I do hope that your worries are not all-consuming, and can be put in their place.

Not too much longer now, my dear!

3:23 AM  
Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

I guess if I'm ever lucky enough to have another, I'll stay away from sugar (I had gestational diabetes) and definitely alcohol (didn't have half a glass total, the entire pregnancy). I guess not much worries me because I know most babies are born pretty OK whether or not the mom is extra-careful.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Thalia said...

I couldn't agree more. I got all green and crunchy about my body when we started ttc. This cycle I drank alocohol, and coffee, and ate everything, and I somehow appear to be pregnant. Do what works.

3:07 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

Yeah, I agree with you. I think we try so hard while we are pregnant to do all the right things.

Over 35 weeks!! Woo-hoo!! You go girl. You might make it to your scheduled c-section!

Also, I still want to connect about potential places in NJ, CT area but I don't have your email...can you email me at so that I can get you email! Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

Sending you a big hug and keep hanging in there!!

5:08 PM  
Blogger K77 said...

Right now I worry about the endo coming back. And it's frustrating because I can't just *see* if it's back, I can only go on symptoms, which can usually be explained away (as they were pre-dx).

WRT DS I don't worry about much. I'm pretty confident in my parenting ability and methods, and the choices I make, even though they usually go against the grain.

I do worry about him having a genetic predisposition to multiple sclerosis. We may well have done things differently if the genetic-link research had been done prior to his conception.

2:34 AM  

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