This month we’re flipping the script for May dedicating each of our digital Spaces in different ways to celebrate one of the most influential beings on the planet… Moms.
In a season of unveiling, each week Octane founder Danielle Meadows-Stinnett shares different perspectives across her own motherhood journey.
I started this pandemic unknowingly pregnant which limited my relationship with food. I’m (hopefully) ending this pandemic without culinary “code switching” from breakfast to dessert.
All those social media posts about me eating chocolate covered peanuts and Ale8One was total transparency. I just wasn’t telling you how MUCH peanuts and ginger ale I was downing. That part stayed “offline.”
I was drowning myself in the beginning but I ate myself out. For us mama’s, stress eating sits a little different on us.
In The Beginning
COVID-19 was declared a National State of Emergency March 13, 2020. At the time I was 1.5 weeks from even discovering I was 21 weeks pregnant.
In having a ‘covid baby’ I was supposed to be already overweight. Little does the world know that I’m one of few percentages of women that lose weight in pregnancy. So I actually lost almost 20lbs total from the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. I was all baby. And that literally scared me knowing what we didn’t know in a world pandemic.
But that didn’t stop the cravings of ice (anemia), Fazoili’s pasta, seafood and steak. In fact the next set of events I think gaslit it all.
When the flooding of news from the resurgence of Black Lives Matter and the insidious resurfacing of our nations racial history repeating itself, things got dark. There were nights I woke up in panic from hearing the neighbors door slam shut outside. There were moments my stress levels had me going through 6 bags of Sonic Ice Packs in a trimester. My news feeds were timed.
My only mental solace was watching the sunrise from the glass patio doors, waking up to heightened hormonal emotional imbalance from sleep deprivation and sheer fear for my families lives, especially the non white ones.
All of this contributed to me doordashing my whole life away. Breakfast, Lunch and dinner. I cannot begin to thank my husband for allowing me to emote during heightened times through food, even as he struggled with food.
As I grew, I was walking and staying on my feet just enough to walk 2 full blocks and the bigger I got the more I felt the burn of those two full blocks around my neighborhood. My cheekbones were super slender in second trimester before I “fluffed” out at the end.
Once our bonus baby ‘Player Number Four’ arrived my body stood still for 3 months trying to recalibrate itself. I felt smaller. But I knew then I had to do something to stay that way.
Once our youngest was 3 months old I was really encouraged to start getting out more. But COVID + Kentucky weather made it that much harder for us to do that. Most days it was raining, snowing or freezing.
My mindset was: “work. sleep. play if you can.” And that led to playing with food as a comfort and less as a tool/ resource.
Cue all the sugar free Ale8Ones and chocolate covered peanuts. (I haven’t touched chocolate peanuts in months btw).
Mentally I was telling myself: “I’m downing these particular sweets for balancing levels and my A1c.” This wasn’t my brightest moment but it was comforting me as I managed a new baby, scaling up my small business and just figuring out where my joy was.
I was on auto pilot and the junk I was putting in my body was the stressful reaction from the world I was trying to not feel.
To get other side of this… I had to acknowledge some things:
- Overeating is hiding things I don’t want to express / go through
- To be a better me I have to self care internally
- When to eat to refill my energy and not to soothe
- Living to see my family/ kids grow
In my Instagram post right after George Floyds murder I started to better emotionally release in front of my kids. I would cry if I needed to, I would hug my husband for no reason, I would hug my kids to remind them and myself of the unique value they give the world.
As I began to release emotionally the logic part kicked in. I want to be able to keep running with Theo when he’s six years old. I want to be able to go play tennis or bowl with my older children.
All of that comes to how I take care of my sacred temple… my body.
My mind was made up.
Since then I make a lot more time to both recreationally read, inspire myself, eat better and get outside. Sometimes in heavy work productions I’ll sit outside for 20 mins to appreciate the lush green grass.
Sometimes thats just being able to have some ‘me time’ at the grocery story with Linkin Park and RATM blowing out the car in transit. And even… a Starbucks tea run.
IF I DoorDash at this point, its only for healthy things. I mainly shop fresh groceries and eat from home.
My overall goal: wellness. Because health is wealth.
I want to see my kids grow up and out.
I want to keep dancing with my husband.
I want be able to travel without restrictions.
I have better chances of doing these things if I make personal changes & choices for myself.
Since the restrictions of COVID-19 have lifted almost entirely, I’ve been able find more meaningful ways to connect with people, bond with my kids outside and really just appreciate the free space in my mind (& my stomach) for new things.
In having new inputs I can chuck the old outputs that don’t serve me.
Coping through a pandemic with food is officially crossed off my bucket list.