Pregnancy Exercises | and Fitness
Hello beautiful, I have a need to share my true “Pregnancy Exercises”/”fit pregnancy” story. This need is spurred by what I really need to clarify is this:
- My own pregnancy is where I first got into fitness and nutrition. By pregnancy exercises, I mean both physical and mental challenges. I awoke what I can only describe as a very intense self-awareness. As is the case for many others, from what I’ve heard.
- Just because this is where my journey essentially set sail- again and for the infinity this time– it doesn’t mean I did it right. So I want to share what I did and how I felt about it, in the hope that you can share your story and we can help each other, and perhaps others.
The before picture is captured in 2012, my “fit pregnancy”. The after is now, 2018. It’s worth noting that the after has been relatively sustained since 2015/2016. 2013/2014 on the other hand was spent attempting, failing, learning, growing and forming the foundation of my fitness journey- although I did not know it then.
I gained 40lbs during my pregnancy. I know that a lot of people gain more, and just as many gain less. On my 5″1 frame, 40lbs is a lot for my back and bones to handle- and just like many other mamas, I suffered terribly, whilst praying for what I always knew; it would all be worth it.
I did NOT workout like I do now (lifting weights) during my pregnancy. I definitely did not work out before, but I was kindly given a DVD on pregnancy yoga to relieve aches. I found some balance and grounding, more so than I had.
Pregnancy Exercises | and Nutrition
In terms of pregnancy exercises and nutrition: Nutrition really is something you HAVE to exercise at this stage in your life. I didn’t know it then, but the 9 months of which I carried my son, were about to become the most intense smoothie-making ones in my life. For the first trimester, and most of my second, I struggled to keep food down before the afternoon and banana, (lots of!) mango, blueberries and spinach really helped.
All other hours of the day were strongly guided by pregnancy cravings (they really are a real thing, you know!). My top two- cheesy chips, and boy did I want blue cheese sauce. On. Absolutely. Everything. Of course- health risks to my baby involved- I did not have this once. Instead, I created my now love affair with Halloumi cheese; buying, cutting, frying and consuming a whole block of it at a time.
It might all sound ‘okay’, but I did not take great care of myself at all. Mentally or physically, and I felt very GUILTY about it at the time.
Pregnancy Exercises | and Mental Health
Mostly, I was really at a loss of how to cope with it all. My pregnancy was an experience no one could have prepared me for, expectations was high but I just did not know what to do- and I was very conscious about the fact that I wasn’t already healthy, fit or used to working out. Alongside that, where would I even begin?
The only thing I had been used previously was working 45+ hours most weeks, whilst undertaking my final year at university- drinking my way through the nights and sleeping through more lectures than I should have.
I’m not sharing this story to promote not being active during pregnancy- nor do I want to say that it’s okay to not attempt to be more conscious about what you are putting into your body whilst growing another little human. Instead, I want to share that if you’re struggling to figure absolutely everything out, whether pregnant or not, you’re not alone.
I often feel like if I’d known what I know now, my experience and exercises during pregnancy might have been very different. There might still be a time where I get that opportunity again; an opportunity where I can be in a situation where I love, appreciate and respect my body like I do now.
My main point would be that my only real regret is that I spent so long, several years following first getting pregnant, beating myself up about how I handled it. No, I didn’t have a “fit” pregnancy by anyone’s description, but I sure did the best that I could with the knowledge I had at the time.
My Fit Pregnancy Exercises | and what I learned from it all
Pregnancy Exercises – Mind Tip #1 | Know Yourself
“Man’s main task is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality” – Erich Fromm
- No matter how uncomfortable you may feel with certain parts of your own personality, your current actions, thoughts and feelings, don’t ignore your blind spots. Train your mind to to perceive yourself like others would. It’s better to remain vigilantly aware, and true acceptance and understanding for yourself will always follow.
- If you’re tuned in to the previous point, only then will you be able to identify your traits with a new goal- maximise your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
- Learn to make an extra effort to recognise situations where you may need to exercise more patience- or grow a thicker skin. We all feel emotional and over-sensitive at times, and never think that’s something you have to change for other’s sake. This used to be my belief, and long story short; I felt worse, spilled the last drop and couldn’t feel in control [of myself] as it all boiled over.
Get to know what others already know about you. If you are struggling, never be afraid to simply ask around. Be prepared that someone might give you criticism, but also prepare to listen. It doesn’t mean they’re 110% right, but see what you could learn. Most likely though, you’ll realise people really do see your strengths shine through- more so than you’d imagine!
Pregnancy Exercises – Mind Tip #2 | Make Friends with Your Past
“Some of us think that holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go” – Hermann Hesse
- You cannot change your past. But you can definitely change the way you think and feel about it.
- You’re memory may be very biased. Take care that you remember the positives too, as negative feelings have a tendency to etch themselves into your mind.
The start of my fitness journey was rocky, to say the least. It was challenging, most of all for my own mindset. No one could have prepared me for what I wen through, battling myself more than anything (I also only realised in hindsight, after a few years!).
I could also never have know where fitness would take ME. I haven’t just made physical changed, but I have grown in so many more ways- most of then aren’t and never will be visual on the outside. You CAN empower yourself through fitness. This fact is the main reason I wanted to share this post.
Pregnancy Exercises – Mind Tip #3 | Be the Best Parent
“There are times as a parent when you realise your job is not to be the paren you always imagined you’d be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own nature” – Ayelet Waldman
- Your child is personality traits, experiences and understanding all mixed into a wonderfully, loving being.
- The best parent you can be to a child is to, yes – “Be Yourself”. Yourself, meaning someone you would want them to learn from and emulate. Someone you are proud to have put in their life.
The biggest thing I learned from my pregnancy, how my mind viewed myself and my body, is that I would never ever want my child to be so overwhelmed with those feelings- or to feel like support was not to be found around them. If he ever does, it would break my heart; but the fact is that there will be times when he feels lost. He might feel completely alone and unsure of how to view himself in the playground at school – but just as likely to have those feelings come over him when he’s there waiting for his own first child.
Understanding of yourself and your worth comes with experience, from exercises you create yourself in and for your own mind. Never be afraid to open your eyes and heart to yourselves.
So to any beautiful mamas and mums-to-be out there (and you who just need to hear it); Knowing yourself is not about changing for others. It’s about learning to feel strong and believe in yourself in most situations, especially those where you perhaps never used to. YOU ARE AMAZING, so please let go of any guilt weighing you down too.
No one has higher expectations of you, than you have on yourself. So remember to be kind. Remember to that you don’t need to strive for perfection, because you already are perfect. You were born that way, just like your children- right? Don’t compare yourself to someone because it’s crazy to give two different situations the same name, because all of our own situations are unique to us. BE the best that you can in YOUR situation, and DO the best that you can in this moment.