Loving your body & fitness journey during pregnancy
Wow, it has been a minute! I honestly thought I would be more on top of these blog post updates about my pregnancy, but life (and this pregnancy it seems) have just ran away with me. I am in my 26th week of pregnancy and there has been so much I wanted to write about the past few months, from the outside world's opinions on how they think I should be living through this pregnancy , what I should & shouldn't be doing according to them and all the highs and lows experienced so far, but today after I felt pretty defeated after my Crossfit session I found myself pondering how amazing the pregnant body actually is and that I am being way too hard on myself for having an off day. I found myself making a conscious decision to instead of bringing myself down, honour & love my body for what it is doing and appreciate the fact that I can still actually exercise this far into my pregnancy. Is it always easy though? Definitely not!
Loving my body
For someone like myself that is qualified in the Pre/Postnatal field of fitness as well as a Doula I should know better than wanting to live up to people's expectations of how pregnancy should be and how a woman should look during various phases of pregnancy. But the moment I open my Pinterest all I see is "How to have a belly only pregnancy" and "Bounce back after baby" when I KNOW this is unrealistic and nobody should "bounce back" after having a baby. Headlines like these puts unnecessary pressure on women thinking there is a certain way to attain this and this could in turn lead to unhealthy habits during pregnancy, especially when it comes to the recommended weight gain guidelines and trying to stick to them. Every woman carries different and when maintaining healthy eating habits and keeping a fitness routine your bump will grow how it should - healthy and at it's own pace! On the bouncing back post baby - your body needs the proper time and attention to recover from pregnancy, to regain your strength and allow the body to heal before jumping straight back into intense exercise. The 6-week green light from your doctor doesn't necessarily mean you can go straight back to what you did before, you need to take it easy on yourself for at least the first 3 months post baby and build your foundations back up.
But did all my knowledge in the world make it any easier to adjust to my growing and changing body? Nope. Not one bit. Does it help that around every corner people have an opinion about your changing body ranging from "oh wow look how big your bump has gotten" to "you must still go for 3 more months, you are going to be huge" Also a big, fat no! Anybody who knows me will know I have always been on the skinny side of life and my weight never fluctuated more than 1 kg up or down so naturally speaking all the changes that came along with pregnancy was quite the adjustment for me and to be honest, I have only really started to love and embrace my little growing belly for the past month or so. I had to learn to not be so hard on myself and that this is a special phase and that in few months time I will actually miss this bump and all the wonderful kicks and butterflies of my baby girl growing inside of me.
Loving my fitness journey
As mentioned in my previous blog I found out I was pregnant the very same week we started Crossfit - and even though I was fit & active before pregnancy, this is still a different type of training and intensity than what I was doing before. I made a decision that I would continue with Crossfit as long as I can and as long as I am comfortable, while scaling the exercises and adjusting where necessary. For me I didn't have to adjust anything other than core exercises off course, until week 22 where I had to stop running because my round ligament pain was giving me a bit of trouble and a slight sciatic nerve pinch in my bum. But for the past 4 weeks since then I have really been feeling it, my endurance seems to still be fine but strength wise I am struggling and the bump is starting to get in the way of a few exercises - which is actually kind of funny when you are not used to having a belly come between you and the bar! But on day's like today where I felt pretty useless during my session, it can be tough. Mentally & physically.
My main aim throughout this pregnancy has always just been to keep moving, stay active and as fit as possible while making sure I am not getting injured and the exercises are safe for my growing baby. But I still wanted to challenge myself and feel strong & capable both mentally & physically in order to best prepare my body for the rigors of child birth in a few months - but at the same time I was battling feelings I've never had before because I can feel my body holding me back as this pregnancy progresses when all I want to do is go go go! Even though I know this is normal & I know what I am currently doing is safe and beneficial for not only myself but for my baby as well and this is feeling of being "useless" with my fitness is temporary, I can't wait to return to my normal exercise regime & intensity and really give it my all again.
But for now I am loving my body for what it is doing and that it is growing a brand new little human being, and some days I have to remind myself how amazing and just plain bad-ass that is on it's own. So I am thankful that I am still able to do my training, even though scaled and at lower intensities, 26 weeks in without any injuries. I am thankful that I can provide all the wonderful benefits of exercising during this phase of my life to my little girl and hopefully one day instill the love for health & fitness in her as well, and I am thankful that I get to be pregnant because that alone is the biggest blessing out of all of this!
In the end, it all comes down to how you are feeling even though it is sometimes very challenging to really know what that is. It is easy to get lost on Pinterest, searching for pregnancy workouts and feel that you aren’t doing enough, or that your body doesn't look they way you thought it would or to not compare yourself to other pregnant women. We all just want to be healthy and have a healthy baby, but the emotions we feel during pregnancy doesn't always make this easy and I think as women we tend to be extra hard on ourselves, always wanting to be superwoman and feeling like we are letting ourselves down on the days when we don't live up to that expectation.
If you have experienced any of these emotions, being a little too hard on yourself for no reason I hope you know that you are not alone and most importantly I hope that you are able to enjoy this special time of your life, regardless of all the pregnancy symptoms that might get you down some days and know that it is okay to have those days! I don't think anything can prepare us for becoming a mother, but making healthy choices everyday for yourself and your baby will all be worth it when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. I know I can't wait for that moment and until then I am trying to have grace with myself and enjoy this wild, special, amazing ride that is pregnancy!
"A mothers joy begins when new life is stirring inside, when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone"