If this pregnancy has taught me anything yet, it's that we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves.
I didn't think I was being that paranoid about my eating - I would "cheat" every now and then. But now I realise I was. I look back and remember feelings of guilt when I indulged in some chocolate on a crappy day, or a slice of cake at a party. Even worse, when I refused to eat at parties because there was "nothing I could eat". I'm not allergic to anything. I won't end up in hospital if I eat dairy, meat or sugar. But the fear of my skin breaking out made me paranoid and in the process I battled with feelings of guilt and also frustration every time I was around food I hadn't made myself.
My skin has broken out a couple of times during this pregnancy, but it didn't bother me at all because the day I broke out, I came home from work and my husband said, "you're looking particularly beautiful today". Sometimes that's all that matters.
It also didn't bother me because I was so extremely tired that I could only think about sleep and getting through the workday without collapsing, and knowing that that's because there's a little human growing inside me made me remember that there are more important things to use your energy on, like protecting and nourishing your little human.
When I ate meat for the first time in two years, it felt pretty good (see me pictured above at a family dinner chowing down on a chicken wing without guilt). It was only then that I realised, over the last few months of being a vegetarian, I had been one for the wrong reasons. Before, I just didn't want meat, so I stopped eating it, and went on a journey of discovery with my health and lifestyle. But then I found myself looking at other people's meals wistfully, wishing I could cram that pork chop into my mouth, sad that I couldn't join my husband at the bakery on a Sunday morning like we used to in the early days of our relationship because they had nothing vegetarian. I found myself getting frustrated with my meals because they never felt satisfying enough. But I kept going because I knew that not eating meat was good for my health.
But now, after eating it, I know that my body going off meat was a huge message to me to sort out my health, my diet, and my lifestyle once and for all, and it has led me on a journey of its own, and that journey happened to last two years.
Now I'm on the second part of my journey, where I know what my body needs. I have a vast range of new and delicious food cluttering up my fridge and pantry, and I know I shouldn't overindulge on sugar and dairy, but it's OK if I do once in awhile.
The great thing about this whole thing is, it's not as if I'm going to go back to eating the way I did before just because I started eating meat again. I have a completely different way of eating that is natural, quality, creative, and delicious, and I intend to keep it that way with the odd piece of meat thrown in while I'm pregnant. I still eat whole, natural foods and stay away from the junk.
Sure, if I go off meat again once baby's born or sometime in the future, once again I will listen to my body and do what's best for it.
So my advice to you, my friends, is above all else, choose the path that feels right for you, and listen to your body - it sends you messages all the time.