Pregnancy, health, and fitness are different for everyone. These journeys evolve and change with time and require us to be in tune with our bodies and adapt. In this blog series I want to simply and authentically share what a "fit pregnancy" looks like for me. So far it's been amazing, beautiful, overwhelming, messy, rewarding, challenging, and so different from my last. I plan to share thoughts, experiences, expectations, disappointments, etc. in hopes that it helps create a more realistic picture for other women out there and create a platform for us to connect through experiences and learn from each other.
My first pregnancy was definitely not what I expected (a long story for another time) although everything turned out perfect in the end with a healthy mama and a healthy baby. Things were a little crazy but I recovered, found a passion for fitness, moved through those postpartum months growing as a woman and it truly changed my life. After everything I'd already been through with pregnancy, I felt pretty confident I knew what to expect going into this a second time. I also considered myself to be healthier and in better shape than I'd ever been in my life so I was feeling like I totally had this. So...with that...let's dive in!
When I got that exciting little positive test I had just finished a 9-week macro cut a few weeks prior. I was feeling strong, healthy, lean and in full control, which for anyone who knows me, I love! My goals for pregnancy were of course to:
- Create a healthy little tiny human
- Maintain my meal preppin' clean eatin' nutrition
- Keep up with my usual 6-day/week workout schedule
- Enjoy stressing less about what my postpartum body because I've done this before and know what to expect and what my body is capable of
I just want to say now, it's really easy to have all these expectations in those early weeks before your body begins going through the onslaught of changes that is pregnancy. Very soon...things got real.
Having been through morning sickness before, I thought I knew what I was getting into, however, this time things were different. Nausea, food aversions, and smell sensitivity hit me HARD, early, and fast. At 6 weeks I was totally overwhelmed with debilitating nausea that didn't. ever. go. away. a I was miserable. I'd find myself sitting at my desk literally daydreaming about my bed, constantly. With my new sensitivity to smells, I had to nix all cooking in our house, turn my bedroom into a "smell sanctuary", outlaw all scented laundry detergents, and stopped Aaron from using chapstick, chewing gum, cologne, his usual shampoo and body wash, etc. Everything made me sick.
At 8 weeks we had a quick weekend trip to Denver scheduled to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers and hit up a football game. I was really nervous going because I was just so so sick! Half the fun of traveling is checking out the food scene and I wanted nothing to do with food! I broke down in tears multiple times during the trip overwhelmed by how terrible I felt and the lack of control. Aaron was great wandering the streets of Denver with me, sifting through yelp, in search of places that might have food I could stomach even if it was just a cup of cantaloupe. He also consoled me and helped me order when waitresses asked what I'd like and I just burst into hormone and exhaustion fueled sobs, apologizing as I asked for the strangest, off menu, things asking if they could make them. To my surprise, they accommodated my requests every single time. Arriving home from Denver I discovered that my aversions had extended. I now felt physically sick anytime I even looked at the outfits I'd worn during our time there. It was incredibly frustrating feeling so fragile, helpless, and frankly CRAZY.
Thinking about how many weeks I had ahead of me to endure this sickness always made me fall apart, Aaron was there consistently reminding me to take things one day at a time. It seemed like my food preferences changed daily. Even though I wanted to eat healthy, I couldn't stomach meat, protein shakes, eggs, veggies, most fruit, even crackers were out most days. It lead to Aaron taking me out for almost every meal for whatever it was I thought I could get down in that moment. Living on carb-y takeout sounds like a dream but it wasn't what my body was used to and, though it was good that I was able to eat something, this poor diet didn't make me feel very good either. I was miserable, had no control, and just felt like I was never going to escape ths horrible sickness.
Beyond the sickness I was also putting additional pressure on myself because I'd wanted to have a fit healthy pregnancy, don't we all? With my fitness life being so public via instagram I think I felt like a fraud not continuing to live the life I had pre-pregnancy. I felt like I should be this lean, active, strong pregnant mama but instead I was eating out every meal and basically only consuming cabs, missing workouts, feeling worse than ever, and losing gains daily. I also was feeling like I was dropping the ball on all areas of my life, as a wife and mom, in my job, in fitness and nutrition, and with my instagram and there was really nothing I could do. I was useless at work because all I could think about was how horrible I felt, I was the worst wife because I basically just stayed in bed and put everything on Aaron when I was home, and even though I tried to maintain daily workouts they were just pathetic because I was so tired and so sick.
With all this going on my instagram changed from an enjoyable outlet to a burden. When you're miserable it's hard to share inspiration or motivation, workouts were rough so there was nothing to share there either. I wasn't ready to announce my pregnancy and it left me feeling like I couldn't be candid and real, which is really what I'm all about! I could't help but feel like I was already failing at this whole fit/healthy pregnancy thing I had planned on.
As I moved into that final week of my first trimester we headed off to Hawaii. While we planned the trip before finding out I was pregnant, the timing ended up being more than perfect. The trip came just as the morning sickness fog began to lift. It gave me the little refresher I needed as we got away from everything that had been so overwhelming to me for so many weeks. With my belly just beginning to show, and having not announced my pregnancy, I didn't feel the need to shoot photos for insta or post a ton of updates as we moved through our trip which actually allowed me to be more present and more relaxed. I didn't feel pressured to workout, a bit of my appetite started to finally return and I was able to enjoy eating a bit and I got to escape the cold and the smells that had plagued me. Toward the end of our time there I decided it was finally time to share our news on social media and felt the burden of hiding it lift! The trip was AMAZING! It was the perfect way to transition from my first trimester struggles into my, hopefully, kinder second trimester.
I consider myself driven, strong, and stubborn to a fault, and that first trimester destroyed me. My body was going through so much and I still beat myself up for not meeting my own expectations for what I thought a healthy fit pregnancy should be. It is so easy to get into this unproductive mindset rather than giving ourselves the time, leniency, and love they deserve. It can be so difficult to be realistic and adjust our expectations as we move through different phases of our lives but it's so important to not become your own worst enemy. Allow yourself room to let go of expectations so you can live the life that you're in rather than obsessing over things outside of your control. Health and fitness are going to look different at every phase of our lives, we need to embrace rather than resist these changes and let ourselves grow and evolve.