30 weeks of pregnancy have been and gone: 26 since the message on the magical stick, 27 since my last alcohol-soaked evening (washed down with a venician plate of parma ham I must add), 26 since my last strength session, 25 since my last jog, 24 since my last handstand. Over the past few years, I have become a fan of documenting fitness progression and personal revelation through various forms of social media, seeing it both as a means of connecting with like-minded people and keeping a personal journal to look back upon.
Naturally, I imagined pregnancy to be more of this – more going on, more experience, more thoughts to share, but to my own surprise- it has been completely the opposite. I have posted and shared very little. Pregnancy, for me, has felt so deeply personal and all of my energy has gone towards maintaining my “inner wellness”, my closest connections and my work. I still want to empower women and now particularly, pregnant women, but I think above all, women need to let themselves be in pregnancy: to fall into the natural rhythms of whatever communication and connection feels relevant. Some women want to hibernate for the entire time and others need daily reassurance and human contact, it really just depends.
The scariest and the most wonderful thing that this pregnancy has bought me thus far is the need to “let go”- to surrender to the processes Mother Nature has in store and to stop trying to control everything. Being in control has always felt amazing, but it is tiring and relentless. Letting go has given me a greater sense of trust and ease.
The hardest thing has been letting go of the expectations of others: “you’re so fit, pregnancy will be so easy for you”, “child birth will be a walk in the park for you”, “you will get your body back right away I am sure” – all the time I am thinking “what if it isn’t and what if things don’t work out that way?!”. I know that people have more challenging pregnancies and yes, physiologically, I have been blessed so far with very little sickness, very little backache and only a little acid reflux due to bump sitting so high. I am still feeling strong and positive and mobile. I am so grateful for entering this process fit and it is definitely a plus of all the hours I have dedicated to training over the past decade.
But the letting go of my training, reducing my output, stopping inversions and acroyoga, limiting strength work, not sweating (I have tried, but my pregnancy hormones don’t seem to allow it), trusting my wonderful team with a business that I have spent 7 years building up – has not been an easy transition! I have been happy in my body and with my weight for the past 3 years (after years of unhappiness prior to that) and to watch myself getting bigger on a daily basis is mentally not easy, despite the fact that it is just normal pregnancy and to be expected! Some women do continue strength training and acroyoga, but I didn’t because it didn’t feel good for me.
If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or considering starting a family then just remember that no book or magazine or health professional can tell you what is right for you. You have to listen to your instinct and your body and do what feels good. Being fitter prior to pregnancy is definitely an advantage but you can’t predict how your hormones will be, what physiological symptoms you will suffer from and how well you will cope with the change of lifestyle and outlook. No matter how fit you are, the need for change is very likely and how “easy” this is really depends on how good you are at accepting change and going with the flow that your body is encouraging.
Please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your pregnancy experiences as I am so interested to hear how similar or different your feelings may be. I completed my ante and post natal yoga training with Sally Parkes last year and will be doing some specialist training with ‘Fit for Birth’ this summer so that I can offer more support to current and new clients through this changing time.
To all mamas and pregnant mamas, I salute you!