I think woman have a lot of ideas of what pregnancy should be. With all of the tabloids showing celebrities dropping weight in a second, woman running marathons and competing in cross-fit – there are a lot of mixed messages.
I’d hear of women having strong aversions to vegetables in the first trimester. Ha, that wouldn’t be me. I knew how important nutrition during pregnancy was (source). I’d shove down the veggies no matter what and would steer clear of anything unhealthy.
I’d hear others say how much pregnancy has slowed them down, and forced them to stop exercising in some cases. No way I’d let that happen to me! I knew pregnancy reduces your lung capacity, increases your blood volume, loosens your joints, and throws off your balance (source). Still, I was an athlete for twenty years and am very active. I doubted these physiological changes would slow me down that much.
And then I got pregnant. Hello morning sickness and no appetite for anything that was not the color brown.
I felt so confused and off – I have never not wanted a vegetable. I have never picked a bagel as my morning meal. I didn’t know who I was.
My appetite and hunger for healthy foods returned as soon as the first trimester ended. I now feel like I’m eating as well as I can because it makes me feel really good and I know it is best for Baby G.
Exercise has been another story.
I have lost so much energy and stamina since I became pregnant. I remember around week 10 I was on the elliptical when all of a sudden I started to feel light headed and dizzy. Quickly, I stopped the machine, got off and put my head between my knees. Embarrassing much? Right then and there I knew my body was changing and I could not go off of what I used to do. I had to find a new norm.
And that has been the most difficult part – finding my new pace, reducing my workouts by a day and adding in a long walk in its place. Reminding myself to listen to my body and not focus on what I used to do, should do or what others are doing.
Running has come back in the second trimester and it feels really good. Some woman have abdominal pain or strain, but so far, with a bit slower pace, I am back at it. I’ve also added in a lot of toning and cross training because it doesn’t push my heart rate as high so I can fit in my workouts.
I’m going to continue to run slowly for as long as I can. I know backing off is for the best reason in the world, but it’s hard realizing you’re not superwoman. After challenging myself for years, going slowly feels weird. I used to be so proud of my workouts, but now they feel so normal.
But all I wished and prayed for- for well over a year- was to be normal. I wanted to get pregnant like a normal woman. And even though slowing down is hard to swallow for a Type A, competitive athlete, normal never felt so good 🙂
Pregnancy is one of those things where you never know what to expect. Until you go through it yourself, you really have no clue how it feels. What’s more, every pregnancy is so different. Even if you fully grasp someone’s experience, it may not apply to you at all.
What I’ve learned is to listen to my body and trust it. Every day is new and different and I have to be willing to respect my new self. Sure, that voice in my head gets annoying, but right now I’m pushing my ego to the side and enjoying this new adventure.
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Have you ever had to alter your workouts?
What was the hardest part?
How did you deal with the challenge of listening to your body vs. your mind?