Little one, this food is for me, this food is for you, this food is for our birth... this food keeps me strong and healthy, these good fats feed my brain so I won't become too forgetful... this whole food keeps my blood sugar and blood pressure down... it helps the muscles of my uterus grow strong and well-coordinated and able to bring you into this world smoothly...
My child, as I eat this food, I strengthen my body so that I will be healthy and have lots of energy to care for you for many years, and to enjoy my time with you for many more. As I eat this food, I am laying the foundation for how I will feed you and how I will teach you.
This food builds a big, strong placenta, that miraculous organ created by us both to nourish you, give you oxygen and orchestrate this amazing process of gestation... baby, when you experience the challenges of birth, this strong placenta will ensure that you get plenty of oxygen... this food makes a thick, resilient umbilical cord... even if it gets twisted up during the journey of birth, it will keep you healthy and strong...
As I shop for food and prepare meals for your mother, I am feeding you with love, I am feeding her with love. By eating mindfully while your mother is pregnant, I am learning how to love and how to keep us all strong.
The flavors of my favorite foods are influencing your own tastes... when you are born, you will recognize the smell and the taste of this flavorful amniotic fluid, you will recognize it in the scent of my breasts... you will know you are home... this food is creating your idea of home...
Once you are born, and you get your nourishment from your mother's milk, I will contribute to the nutrition of that milk as I prepare good food for your mother to eat. In this way I will feed you with love. By eating mindfully while your mother is pregnant, I am learning to care for you when you are born.
Little one, this protein is forming the building blocks of your brain, your heart, you liver, your kidneys... determining how strong they will be FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE... This fat is building your brain and your nervous system... all of this good food is programming your metabolism FOR LIFE...
This seems like the heaviest of burdens, this responsibility weighs heavily on me... but I remember that many of the effects of my eating will not be seen in you, my child, but in my grandchildren... and so your health, little one, is also the result of how my mother ate when she was pregnant with me, and how my grandmother ate, and on and on in an unbroken chain of women, and those that loved and supported them, stretching back to my unknown ancestors... and in this way I am sharing in the creation of the future as I become one link among many in the heritage of unknown descendants... this is the amazing creative power of women!
My dearest, I confess, sometimes I eat marshmallows... sometimes I am so nauseous I can't eat any of the good things I should... I can't always afford organic food, the healthiest breads, the best oils... I sometimes have a difficult relationship with food... but when I eat marshmallows, I eat them mindfully, I enjoy it to the fullest, I share with you this bit of fun, a special treat... and I LOVE MYSELF, I love myself eating a marshmallow, I love myself eating broccoli.
I give myself a break because, like you, my metabolism was programmed in utero, my tastes were formed by my mother's eating habits, by what my father liked to eat, by the food I was fed as a child, by the stories and meanings that my family attached to food. So, while it may not be quite accurate to say that I choose what I eat, one thing is true: I choose to eat in awareness, I choose to connect with you as I eat, I choose to make eating an Act of Love.
Through eating-in-awareness, by bringing our love to the table, we strengthen our family, we strengthen our bond, we learn to take care of each other, we learn to love ourselves and each other unconditionally, through marshmallows and broccoli, through thick and thin. We are giving a gift to countless future generations.
Christy is a doula and Birthing From Within childbirth mentor committed to strengthening families and communities through storytelling/storylistening, meaningful celebration, mindfulness, and reflective work.