My big fat vegan pregnancy…

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting | 0 comments

This time a year ago my partner Ken and I started discussing seriously whether or not we were finally going to take the plunge and start trying to have a child. We had been together through ups and downs for about 18 years at that point. It seemed like if we were ever going to do it, this was the time. 

We often fantasized about raising a little girl. I knew Ken liked the idea of nurturing and teaching everything he knew to a growing mind. And I did want to have the experience of being a mother one day too. But I have to admit, I was extremely apprehensive about it all. For many reasons.  

First, I have a great but incredibly demanding career advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights globally. It’s not easy, but I love what I do. It has given me the opportunity to travel. It has made me into a fierce advocate and leader. And I knew that balancing my job and a baby would be difficult. 

Second, I knew it would fundamentally change me as a person.  I was afraid that I’d become a mother first and Shannon second and that my identity, the things that made me who I am, would slowly slip away. 

Third,  I knew that becoming a mother would mean that I would have to become selfless. I would have to learn to put my baby and my partner first and that it would require giving up a lot. 

I wasn’t sure I was up to it.

Nonetheless, we decided that after a big trip that would take me on the road for a month or so, we would start trying. I added a prenatal multivitamin to my vitamin mix and stopped using my NuvaRing to start preparing my body for eventual pregnancy.  And we stocked up on vegan pregnancy books: The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone, The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book by Reed Mangels, and The Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebel. 

On that trip I had a lot of time to think about having a baby and decide once and for all whether it was really what I wanted. I will tell you, there were nights I actually cried myself to sleep.  It felt like a monumental step and I really wasn’t sure I was ready to take it. I kept thinking to myself, what if I waited a year? Or two? 

The last leg of that trip was a journey home to Australia to see my family, who I had been missing like crazy.  I landed in Brisbane and spent some time with my sister Brooke, her husband Jono and their five kids. My mum and youngest sister Angela met me there and then we went back to Newcastle to see my three brothers and their growing families. Seeing the joy that my siblings got from being parents and raising kids, despite all the challenges that came with it, was exactly what I needed to help me decide that Ken and I could do it too. And of course it helped that my nieces and nephews were beautiful, sweet, fun-loving kids. 

Our goal was to fall pregnant in December, with a late summer delivery date. That would get me through the first 8 months of 2015, which I knew would be incredibly hectic at work.  And without too much effort, that’s exactly what happened.  

As I write this I’m now 38 weeks pregnant and Ken and I are expecting a little boy to enter our lives at any time now. Am I still nervous about becoming a mother? Yes. But more than anything I’m excited and can’t wait to meet the little guy that I have been incubating for what feels like forever. 

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to write a few blog posts about my vegan pregnancy and our plans for raising a vegan baby. And very soon, I hope I’ll be able to introduce you to our little one. 

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