A gestational diabetes journey
by Jaynann from Oklahoma
I grew up with a less than ideal food mentality. Mom would often describe a hearty meal as “healthy.” Meat and potatoes were standard fare, and dessert was pretty much guaranteed to be offered. Bread and starchy foods were favorites, but playing sports in school kept the weight gain at bay until my dad passed away. In my grief I gained 40 pounds! I eventually was able to better regulate my intake and get to a healthier size, but I have always struggled with my food relationship.
When I learned I was expecting my son, I immediately wanted to do what was best for him. I
knew before I held him in my arms that the best way to take care of him was to take care of
myself. Trying to balance my time between work, school, and home meant I had to be
conscientious about what I put in my body. Fortunately, there are many resources such as WIC to help on the journey to good nutrition.
Balancing the macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) was a priority, and then
determining what were high-quality and low-quality nutrients. I tried to steer clear of sugary carb snacks and high-calorie low-nutrient foods. No more skipping breakfast either, because I needed to start fueling my day. I started making smoothies with fresh and frozen fruit, veggies, yogurt, milk, and oatmeal. It was so quick, versatile, and nutritious! Lunch was on the go, so I often opted for salads and sandwiches. Snacks included nuts or cheese for a protein boost so I wouldn’t eat too much between meals. At dinner I tried to balance protein dishes with veggies and a carb like red potatoes or pasta. Carbs and sweets were what I craved, so I had to work hard to keep control of my intake of bread and ice cream.
Then I got hit with a shocker! I had gestational diabetes. I remember being angry and confused. How could I be? I took care of myself. Already I was failing my child, or so I thought. I didn’t give up taking care of myself, but I had to make adjustments to the way I ate. Even the complex and healthy carbs had to be watched. My glucose numbers would tell me what worked and what didn’t. I recorded everything I ate in a journal along with my glucose numbers. The records were to monitor my prenatal care, but looking back it was so useful to see what I was eating regardless of my being diabetic.
At the end of my pregnancy I was rewarded with a healthy baby boy and no complications. I was able to return to normal eating. I stayed within a healthy weight gain and started my breastfeeding journey, which meant my healthy eating would continue to benefit both my baby and me. My mindset has shifted to wanting the best for my little guy, which includes keeping myself healthy for a long future.
Jaynann is a busy wife and mom of a wild 2 year old boy who is such a joy. She has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and loves animals. Spending time finding creative outlets and encouraging other moms is a newfound passion.