Being a Crazy-Fit-Pregnant-Mama
Hey Mamas (and Papas),
Before any of you go bananas, let me state for the record: This is a guest post. I am NOT pregnant. Not that there’s anything wrong with being pregnant (my pregnancy was wonderful, and gave me a new appreciation for taking care of my body, but I don’t want any of my readers (hi, mom) to get the wrong idea. One of my closest friends, and first clients, is pregnant, though. She is also an amazing writer, and graciously agreed to share her story with all of you. She’s got some great perspective and, well, let me let her tell you…
Hey, Mamas. I have an ugly little secret. It’s not that I ate dessert tonight, or that I skipped my squats this morning. (I did both.) My name is Sara and I… hate being pregnant. “Hate is such a strong word,” my husband often reminds me. Yes, it is, and in this case, it’s accurate. I don’t dislike pregnancy for the usual reasons. Morning sickness, though not at all pleasant, isn’t so bad for me. If that were the problem, I wouldn’t be knowingly having my second baby in less than three years. The anxiety about parenthood, worries about raising siblings when I am an only child, and apprehension over my second Cesarean section? Pft! No big deal!
So what is the big deal? One word: control. I used to be the kind of girl who hit the gym nearly every day to unwind, but a happy marriage, busy social life, work, graduate school, etc. pulled my priorities in a different direction for longer than I’d care to admit. By the time I was ready to get back into fighting shape, I found that I was pregnant with my first child. I walked and practiced yoga through most of my first pregnancy, but even with a lower than expected weight gain, I found myself heavy and exhausted weeks after her birth. Just a few short months later, I jumped into a new and fairly stressful job complete with a 45 minute commute, and never really got back to feeling like myself.
In the summer of 2013, I became a full-time sahm, and began to enjoy long daily walks with a couple of fitness minded girlfriends and their stroller bound babies. I had made a pledge to myself to lose the baby weight I’d gained with my daughter, which I’d been hanging onto like a memento from her baby book since March 2012. Daily walks, yoga at home, and some changes in my eating habits helped me to drop pounds in short order, as well as alleviated some of the effects of an existing stomach condition. Finally, I felt like myself again! (Read: Back in control.) By the time I started training with Katy @ Crazy Fit Mama in March 2014, I was willing to keep an open mind and try anything she had planned. (Yes, including burpees.) I’ve been enjoying my workouts and making progress ever since, and even found a love of group fitness thanks to Boot Camp: Just Babes.
Skip ahead to June 2014. Yay! Baby #2 is on the way! This time, first trimester arrived not only with nausea, but with blistering daily headaches that no amount of water could cure. Despite my best efforts, having a 2 ½ year old in the house means we also have germs. My lowered immune system has played host to a couple of ugly bugs over the last few months. For me, pregnancy clumsiness is a very real thing, so no one was surprised when for the 2nd time I broke my toe in a big way. All of these things were inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even painful. Most of all, they were disheartening because they A) caused me to lose some of the mindfulness over what I was putting on my fork and B) made it impossible for me to regularly attend my workouts. There goes that control I mentioned, as well as a serious chunk of my peace of mind. By the time I came out on the other side and began my second trimester, the old familiar discomfort was threatening to return.
This probably all sounds very negative by now, but I’m getting to the silver lining. When the going gets tough, the tough scream for help. Thanks to a whole lot of goal-adjusting with my trainer (thanks, Katy), listening to my body and its changing needs, and honest chats with my doctors, we’ve put a plan in place to get me through pregnancy #2 AND come out the other side smiling. Here are some highlights:
- Do a little every day, even when you don’t feel like it. There were days with my first baby when I just wanted to lie on the sofa and be pregnant. I’ve got those days now too, but unless I’m feeling truly under the weather or seriously uncomfortable, I get up and move. A walk with my toddler, an arm workout, second trimester yoga, a light jog, or even quiet, mindful stretching and breathing is enough to remind my body that we’re in this together.
- When a workout is more challenging that I can handle that day, I don’t bail out, I modify! Ask your trainer for help figuring out what your body needs now, whether it’s doing abs on a fitness ball instead of on the ground, dropping a portion of a multistep move, or taking things a little bit more slowly. It’s really hard not to go “all out”, especially in a group fitness situation, but I’m learning to listen when my body says “no.”
- Cook, eat, and be merry. If you’ve been pregnant, you know food is a BIG deal. (No) thanks to my rather complicated dietary restrictions, it’s sometimes tempting to eat the same things over and over. I love to cook and am making it a point to vary my family’s diet, adding what’s available seasonally for variety and freshness. Takeout is easy, but a well-planned meal is better and cheaper. Eating five or six small meals a day has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling, my power over portion, and admittedly, in my attitude. My favorite small meals include green protein smoothies, almonds, egg whites with a little salsa, bananas with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, sliced seasonal fruit, bean and grain salads, and tuna salad made with avocado instead of mayo. Larger meals often include dense veggie based soups, veggie and bean tacos, and huge salads with roasted root vegetables and complete proteins like quinoa. I’m getting hungry just typing this. There’s still the occasional urge for “comfort food” or takeout, but being well-nourished keeps me from overdoing it and feeling awful later.
I’m now in my 19th week of pregnancy, and feeling worlds better than I did this time a few years ago. I still wake up (most) Saturdays wanting to go to Boot Camp, and look forward to my workouts during the week. I’m honest with myself, my trainer, and doctors about how I’m feeling. Pregnancy is still frustrating in some ways, but mostly when I want to carry my kid, the groceries, and a bag of library books at the same time, or climb a ladder to paint the ceiling. (Yes, I know better.) This time around, my secret weapon is fitness, a diet comprised of real food, and a ton of support for my goals, and that’s better than any amount of Tylenol or time on the sofa. I’m looking forward to 21 more weeks of health, even if I’m still not 100% sold on that “pregnancy glow” thing.
Sara Mason Rosensteel
Wow! Thanks for sharing, Sara! I know many of you can relate, pregnant or not, to many of the ideas here. Hopefully some of her takeaways can be applied to your situation, too!