Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Post-pregnancy cravings

When you are pregnant you have all sorts of cravings. The cravings most women know about are the strange food requests. You also crave sleep, non-binding clothes and, at the end, being able to see your feet and walk without getting winded.

Now my children are born. I have two wonderful sons and, to my knowledge, my pregnancy days are over.

And yet – I am still having cravings.
Strong cravings.
Gnawing needs.
Indulgent fantasies.

Want to know my biggest craving?

I want to eat a meal at the proper time.
At the proper temperature.
At the proper speed.
Without interruption.
Without having to share any of it with anyone.

Doesn’t that sound like heaven?

Post-pregnancy cravings, which no one warns you about, are in many ways worse than pregnancy cravings. During your pregnancy, cravings can be managed in two ways. First, you can indulge them. You can feel blameless about sending your husband out to the local convenience store for ice cream and chips at 10:00 at night. And while he’s gone, you can order a pizza to be delivered.

Second, you can wait them out. If you want something you can’t have - I craved sushi during my first pregnancy, margaritas during my second, neither of which I could treat myself to – you know that in a few months your precious bundle will arrive and someone can sneak you these goodies into the hospital if you can’t wait another moment.

But what about afterwards? What about the things we want after the hormones settle down? How do we manage those? And what do we do about the fact that there is not an obvious end to them?

Personally, I didn’t even notice these cravings sneaking up on me. I was so in love with my son after his arrival and so busy trying to balance my many new responsibilities that I didn’t realized that I was starting to have those gnawing sensations again.

Of course the first thing we all crave is sleep. That’s not surprising, but what I really craved was the ability to sleep without hearing every little noise in the house. I found I didn’t need a baby monitor at night because I was so easily alert to all the sounds around me. These included my husband, our cat, and, when we were living in an apartment, our neighbors. We moved my son into his own room six weeks after he was born because the little sounds he would make at night a half hour or so before he would actually wake up would have me practically bolt upright in bed.

But eventually ( and hopefully) the baby begins to sleep through the night and you been to as well. You think you’re out of the woods. Until the next craving arrives. For me that was

1. Less clutter – everyone tells you that the baby will need more stuff than you ever thought possible. I accepted that but I didn’t understand what that would mean for my living room. And the dining room. And the kitchen.

2. Safety for my things. I could measure how tall my son was getting by how far back I had to put things on my desk so that he couldn’t reach it.

And the scariest part about these cravings? There is no “due date.” They go on. And on. And when one gets satisfied, there is another to take its place.

My sons are older now. Some of the first cravings are gone. Some linger. I still would like to eat a meal without someone needing me to get them something. And uninterrupted quiet. I crave that, too.

How long before September?

May you find satisfaction for your cravings,

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Blogger Adele Dubois said...

Very productive moping, Steph! Great article. Good luck with the new book!

--Best, Adele Dubois

July 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM  
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