Lucy weighed 94 pounds at her 6 week post-delivery checkup and her doctor was alarmed.
“Noah is quite the handsome little man isn’t he?” the doctor said as he kindly stroked the back of Noah’s head. “Just beautiful…but my dear what is going on with you? You’re gaunt….and 94 pounds. That’s not a healthy weight for a new mother. Especially not one who is breast feeding.”
Noah was alert and checking out the examination room from over Lucy’s shoulder. “I eat all day long.” she said as she shifted the baby from one shoulder to the other.
“What kind of foods? Tell me what your meals consist of.” the doctor was typing his notes into Lucy’s electronic medical chart.
“We have a professional chef at the house.” Lucy said defensively “Lots of vegetables and I eat pasta….Lentils….fried rice. Healthy stuff. He makes me extra meals during the day because I am always so hungry. ”
“I assume you’re still Vegan?”
“Yes, but I get ample protein. I’ve been Vegan for twenty years. I know how to eat.”
“It doesn’t look like you are getting enough of the right foods required to maintain a healthy weight. How often is the baby feeding?”
“Every two hours. Give or take…”
The doctor’s line of questioning was insulting, as if Lucy didn’t know how to take care of herself, but Lucy wasn’t exactly upset. Defensive, but not angry. She knew her weight loss was dramatic and probably shocking to someone who last saw her when she was super preggo. It was understandable. And Lucy had to admit that she felt like complete shit lately. The weight loss was taking a toll on her, even though she was pretending for everyone else that it was a blessing to “pop back” to her old self so quickly. No one really knew she was 15 pounds lighter than she’d ever been.
Lucy didn’t blame her Vegan lifestyle for the weight loss though. It’s something else for sure. Lucy has been eating like a pig at a trough for weeks. Never seeming to go more than twenty minutes without feeling like she is going to starve to death if she doesn’t eat again…like immediately. She can’t get enough food in her, that’s the problem.
As the conversation continued, Lucy actually began to appreciate the doctor’s concern. It validated her own feelings and made her feel important again. Being Noah’s Mommy was a lot harder than she had anticipated. He’s high maintenance but she loves him. It’ll be better once he starts sleeping through the night. She’s sure of that. And once she’s not so tired anymore maybe she can get in to some sort of routine again where she’s out in the world instead of house bound. She’s lonely and kinda resentful of all the attention Noah gets from Jared. Attention that used to belong to Lucy and Lucy alone.
“I’d like to do some blood work but I’d also like you to eat some meat.” the doctor was saying.
“But…I don’t eat meat. It’s…just….wrong.”
“Cage free, cruelty free…whatever you like but definitely red meat.”
“And start taking your pre-natal pills again.” the doctor sighed when he saw the look on Lucy’s face “Or you could stop breastfeeding.”
Noah turned to face the doctor. Lucy cradled his head though it appeared he was holding his neck just fine himself.
“He is very healthy but I’m afraid the opposite is true for you Mrs Leto. Let’s get a few pounds on you again. Gotta have you in tip top shape to handle such a big guy, right?” the doctor tickled Noah’s foot “… Ok?”
“How is your mood? Are you having any negative thoughts?”
“I think I’m just very tired. I don’t have a lot of energy.” Lucy wasn’t about to admit how crazy her thoughts have been. How she sometimes scares herself with how out of control her own imagination has become.
“I understand. I think it might be better for both you and baby if you stop breastfeeding at this point. I’m worried about your heart too. Your blood pressure is quite low. I think you might want to consider hiring some help until you get some weight back on. I’m alarmed.”
As Lucy tried to absorb the doctor’s words, Noah began wailing. His hungry cry. Lucy felt conflicted about what to do. “He’s hungry.” she said and the doctor popped up and began opening cabinets looking for formula samples. “If you’re going to heed my advice, you might as well start now. The doctor found a premixed can of Infamil and a nipple and handed them to Lucy for Noah to drink.
Noah sucked the bottle down with gusto.
“He was hungry indeed.” the doctor noted then finished up his notes in the electronic patient file. “We’ll see you again in one month, ok? I want to see 10 pounds gained. Alright?”