I’m ashamed to admit that when I was seven months pregnant, I craved cigarettes.
It was early fall and the weather was turning cooler, and (sorry mom, if you’re reading this) nothing sounded better to me than sitting outside on our rooftop terrace and lighting up a smoke.
Fortunately, the actual smell of burning tobacco–even the slightest whiff–made me more nauseous than my entire first trimester combined. So, as I sat there on our rooftop terrace, my growing belly itching beneath my secret-belly-fit jeans, and my back aching against the cold metal chairs, I realized something new about this concept of craving. Let me see if I can explain.
If you look in the dictionary, “crave” is defined as “a powerful desire for something.” Simple enough. But here’s the thing: Maybe the “desire” is not necessarily related to the “something” that your mind perceives would satisfy that feeling.
To put it in context, although I did feel a very powerful desire for something that evening on the terrace, it wasn’t really for cigarettes. (Thank goodness.) It was for my independence. My old life, back when it was just me in my body. I wanted to drink and eat as I pleased, without worrying about the baby growing inside. I wanted to run and walk and lift things without losing my balance, or my breath. Most of all, I wanted to go out to a romantic dinner with John and then slip off to a bar for after-dinner drinks or to watch music like we used to, before I was all tired and moody and uncomfortable and confined to those blasted wide, flat shoes.
This is not at all to say that I regret having a baby. To be sure: Having Jack has been the single greatest experience of my entire life. (And I’m already dreaming of number two!)
This is only to say that I have realized this: It is worthwhile to slow down a little bit when you feel yourself craving something. It is worthwhile to consider whether a few deep breaths, or a phone call, or a good hard laugh might be more deeply satisfying than, say, another scoop of ice cream.
Now, to be fair, I should finish the cigarette part of the story. After Jack was born, once again, cigarettes seemed like a great idea. Instead of taking my own advice (see above), I swung into the neighborhood Quickie Mart and spent close to $10 on a pack of Something-Or-Other Lights. Then I went back outside, leaned against my car (how classy), and started fidgeting with the child-proof lighter. It was windy that day, and as it so happened, instead of lighting the cigarette, I lit my hair on fire. Just a little bit, but still. How completely pathetic.
You’ll be pleased to know that, after that, I trashed the entire pack of cigarettes and decided that I would look into hot yoga … which, although similarly smelly, is much more satisfying.