Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scrupulosity and Other Post Baby Craziness

"Do you think that pregnant and breastfeeding women are exempt from the sin of gluttony?"  

I blurted this question out to Paul a few days ago, who shook his head while clearing the table and said something like:  "You don't usually ask stupid questions, but when you do, they're exceptional."  

"Is that a yes or a no?"  I asked, watching his face as he shook his head.

"I think I pretty much answered your question."

"No...  You said 'you don't usually ask stupid questions, but when you do, they're exceptional.'  That could mean two things...."

"You're burning a ton of calories nursing."

"So you don't think the non-stop eating falls into the gluttony category?"

"No, no I don't."

Writing out this conversation, it sounds silly, and yet I know there's a good chance later on today these questions will start floating around in my head.  

I don't usually struggle with scrupulosity, but when I do, logic completely goes out the window.  And I've been rolling this particular issue around in my head as a brand new possible sin that I've never given much thought to until now, with baby #3, because I pretty much have been eating non stop around the clock.  Thoughts like: Well, if you're not gaining weight then obviously you need to be acting like hoover inhaling everything around you, right? are followed by: Wait, am I just justifying and coming up with excuses... beginning the cycle yet again.  

When I'm pregnant it's easy to give myself a pass on thinking about this sort of thing, but nursing this time has been downright odd, because I'm far hungrier than I remember being when I was pregnant (and way, way hungrier than I was the last two times I nursed).  We eat lunch and I eat more than Paul and then go scavenging around the kitchen, looking for more food.

I think it probably has something to do with only gaining 20-something pounds this time instead of 40-something and all those days of being on and IV and not being able to eat during the third trimester, but the differentness of this time has for some reason made me worry about this.

When Paul was studying for finals he'd find emails saying: When you come home I need you to go to Burger King and get two junior whoopers.  I'm starving.  

So yeah... scrupulosity?  Post-pregnancy craziness?  A combination of the two that will only be compounded by my yearly:  "It's Lent and I'm eating like a horse around the clock" worries that completely defy logic (wait, am I starting to worry about Lent during Advent?  That is crazy...).    


  1. Awww, you have my sympathies on this one. I am STARVING as I feed this baby. I don't lose weight (my insulin system is off so my body doesn't release fat when I need it to do so) but I get very very hungry.

    I sometimes think that I am hungrier when breastfeeding the boys than the girls. It isn't likely, but it feels like it is.

    As it is, I am 10 months into feeding my youngest and the kid is ravenous and I get really hungry.

    As long as you aren't gaining, you are not eating too much. Just remember that when the baby weans, the eating needs to go back to smaller portions-- I have found the larger portions get to be habit, and after the breastfeeding is done, it is harder to downsize.

    I think it is fine that you think about possibly blind spots, and it is also good to listen to the common sense of your husband about them too. He would know if you were being gluttonous.

    If you ate less, how would you ever have the energy to keep up with your intelligent, active, creative children?

  2. Cam, Cammy, Cammy... calm down.

    Now that I'm done being condescending, and at the risk of seeming rediculous, Paul is right. Increased hunger post-partum, particularly with nursing, isn't just normal, but to be expected. At the moment, your body needs more of, well, everything, at least from a nutritional standpoint.

    Still, if you're hungry and Patrick's hungry then those are both really good signs!


  3. I worry about this too. My cravings are bad although I'm not eating around the clock like you are. I think it may have to do with the post-pregnant and now nursing body needing to resupply it's vitamin and nutrient stores. Look up the Weston A Price foundation and they have a bunch of scientific articles and papers on this. They say it takes three full years after a baby to get those levels back up and ready for another child. You've depleated yourself several times now with close pregnancies, miscarriage, illness, and nursing. If it would make you feel better about needing to eat, get a blood test done to check your body's nutrient stores. They'll let you know where you have deficiencies. Then you can plan to eat foods that are nutrient dense and bioavailable for you.

    I however am doing it all wrong. Intentionally eating candy bars, soda, sugar laden hot tea, cake, cookies, aggghhhh! I could be eating better food. Darn.

  4. If it helps, I have found that I am way hungrier nursing than I was pregnant. It makes sense, you do burn more calories nursing. In addition, while I didn't have too many pregnant cravings, I seem to have tons of nursing cravings.

  5. Well, a nursing woman can certainly be guilty of gluttony (just ask me about the gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream that "disappeared" in one day)... but it sounds like you're just hungry! lol! I would pay attention to what you're eating, too. If your diet is crummy, you're your body is still going to ask for more food because it craves proper nutrition. If your body is screaming HUNGRY, feed it what it (and the baby) needs most. Eating a little more healthy proteins, fats and carbs is not the same as scarfing donuts. Nursing does not require nearly the number of calories that I wish it did... but it does increase the woman's metabolism which is probably the reason we get ravenous. Gotta love metabolism increases. :) Also, fatigue causes the body to feel hungrier since it looks for additional energy sources... and I know you tend to stay up late sewing. :) You look great as always, btw!

  6. I don't think you're being a glutton. I don't gain much with my pregnancies and when I'm nursing I'm ravenously hungry in those early months. You burn a lot of calories when you are nursing.

  7. Having nursed 5 babies, 4 of them boys, I can easily say that I am WAY hungrier while nursing than while pregnant and nursing BOYS made me eat more (because they ate more) than nursing my girl. I feel like with nursing and pregnancy, you have to listen to your body and it's cravings because they tell you what you need. For example, if you crave chocolate, you are probably anemic, not a glutton!

  8. Stop this now! ;)

    Not only are you nursing a very healthy and hungry baby boy, but you also have to keep up with two very active little ones!!! I would be astonished if you weren't constantly starving!

    Keep in mind that the Church, in her wisdom, pretty much gives a pass to pregnant and nursing women on those things that the rest of us must adhere to (fasting, etc.)

    God bless!


  9. This made me chuckle, but really I think it is not unwise to consider the possibility of the sin of gluttony. I think a happy medium is to try your best to eat healthy foods, rather than junk. That way you can probably distinguish between eating because you are hungry and your body needs the calories/nourishment, and eating to satisfy a "craving". Just a thought.

  10. Yes, it is absolutely because you gained 20 lbs this time as opposed to 40. I gained more with the 2nd one than with the 1st and I ate nonstop with the first.

    Maybe instead of worrying about the amount of food, just concentrate on making sure it's high in nutrients/protein etc. your body needs. :-) So glad you and baby are healthy!

  11. Coming from a pregnant mama who has nursed a baby round the clock within the last two years...I don't believe it's gluttony if you're genuinely hungry. The first week and a half after my son was born, he wanted to nurse nonstop, but I had zero appetite. Turns out I had a serious infection and wound up back in the ER 12 days after he was born. As my doctor told me, "if you're nursing this much, you should be ravenous!" So honestly I think it's a good thing. :) You're provided your sweet little boy with much-needed nourishment, and taking care of your body as well! Now, if you were stuffed to the gills and sending your husband out for Burger King, Oreos and hot fudge sundaes because you wanted to take advantage of the "I'm pregnant and/or nursing" thing, that's a different story! But yeah. You are very much safe from the sin of gluttony!

  12. From

    "Gluttony (From Lat. gluttire, to swallow, to gulp down), the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking. This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways which are set forth in the scholastic verse: "Prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose" or, according to the apt rendering of Father Joseph Rickably: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily.

    Clearly one who uses food or drink in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony. Such a temper of soul is equivalently the direct and positive shutting out of that reference to our last end which must be found, at least implicitly, in all our actions. At the same time it must be noted that there is no obligation to formerly and explicitly have before one's mind a motive which will immediately relate our actions to God. It is enough that such an intention should be implied in the apprehension of the thing as lawful with a consequent virtual submission to Almighty God.

    Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, "whose god is their belly" (Philippians 3:19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin. Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with mortal sin. St. John of the Cross, in his work "The Dark Night of the Soul" (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony. He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who "will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communion but in all their other acts of devotion." This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great evils."

    Sounds like you are safe to me.

  13. Cam,
    This is getting ridiculous.
    You have posted for years about politics, faith, and your problems. The thing is that you are right on about faith, Tradition, and politics. But Cam, you are starting to come accross as hypocritical. You posted and posted about how much politics means to you, yet you missed voting. You post about how you and your family are faithful Catholics but you miss Mass and Holy days of obligation. Bottom line is why should one consider valid your points on headcoverings, Mass, Politics or anything. I am still confused about the Holy Day of Obligation situation. Did Paul miss it as well? Does he go to Mass?
    Look, anything can happen in life. We all can miss a day, or forget to register to vote when we move, the difference is we dont broadcast our opinions like they are so important to us and then fail to live the life we are vocalizing. Talk is cheap.

    I know from your blog that your life is stressful and is not filled with an abundance of joy. But you really should try to see how you can come across sometimes.
    Publishing about scrupulosity about being a gluttony is quite odd considering your recent issues.

  14. I don't think you are guilty of the sin of gluttony, but I do think that if you are always constantly hungry than you need to look at WHAT you are eating and focus on the most nutrient-rich foods possible. I am also nursing pretty much round the clock and I have found that when I focus on nutrient rich foods than I am less hungry and eat less overall. Eggs, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, root vegetables (beets, sweet potatoes), greens (kale, collards, etc.), cultured veggies (homemade saurkraut) and brazil nuts are foods I try to eat each day, and when I do, I definitely have fewer cravings and overall feel better.

    I would skip the whopper jr and focus on more nutrient rich, whole foods and I think you will find that your cravings and ravenous hunger decreases a bit. Even just frying 3 eggs in butter would be so much healthier (and cheaper) and eggs are ridiculously good for you if you are pregnant/nursing.

  15. When I was nursing Gabriel, I got so hungry I felt like chewing my own arm off some days. What helped me was eating a lot of high-protein food -- like beef jerky or trail mix with lots of nuts. So, try to have a lot of high-protein snacks around (hard-boiled eggs are good if you like them).

    Anonymous, what a bitter and uncharitable comment. Perhaps you should ask yourself what it is in your own life that makes you want to tear others down.

  16. Also, Anonymous -

    The fact that you feel the need to BE anonymous should tell you something about your own intentions. If you don't have the guts own your words, then you shouldn't publish them. It's an indication that you don't truly mean what you say; you're just being nasty and mean for the fun of it. I pity you.

  17. I'm nursing (only twice a day) and pregnant and I'm starving to death half the time! I try to remind myself that I'm providing nourishment for a busy toddler and tiny baby who is rapidly growing! You look great so I don't think you need to worry!

  18. Ignore Anonymous. The joint wisdom of the rest of the comments should show you how it is.

    You are a skinny lady and I would be shocked if you didn't get very hungry nursing.

    You know how to make nutritious meals, up your fresh veggies and fruits a little, make sure you have enough quality protein and check your omega 3 fatty acids and see how it goes.

    Don't let the trolls upset your peace.


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