**I realize in sharing my opinion, I open up the opportunity for people to share their opinions or arguments with my opinions with me as well. This post is to explain my thought process journey of someone judging from the outside to someone now living the experience and learning from it.**
At nearly 23 weeks pregnant, this morning I had a thought in my workout class that made it all just click. You see, before being pregnant I would only form my opinions about working out during pregnancy purely from observations and what I read, not experience. Now that I'm in it, it's a little more clear to me.
My ah-ha moment this morning was:
Working out during pregnancy is more of mental game than it's ever been before.
Not only do I want to move in a way that feels good physically, but also in a way that I'm comfortable with mentally, and in a way that doesn't create anxiety. Let me explain...
I strongly believe in moving in a way that feels good. Before becoming pregnant, it would feel frustrating to me when I would hear of pregnant women not getting any form of exercise at all. My thoughts were "can't you just go for a walk?" On the other hand, it would also frustrate me when seeing women who would appear to be pushing it to their max well into their pregnancy. My thoughts were "How selfish. What impact does you pushing yourself this hard have on your baby?"
Looking back, I realize that was just me judging from the outside (yes, I admit it!) without having my own experiences to draw from. Now I get it. Now my thoughts on this topic are a bit more clear.
We all have a baseline from where we start. As someone who has built a pretty solid foundation (that I'm so thankful for) of working out consistently and moving in a way that challenges my body daily, working out while pregnant doesn't feel like something I'm struggling to continue with. What has been a struggle, however, is adjusting how hard I workout.
Lately my mental state is driving my workouts more than my physical state. I'm sure I could push it harder in my workouts if I really wanted to. Physically, I know I could do more jumping, and move a little quicker. Mentally, I don't want to.
You could tell me it's fine and it's safe and everything will be okay, but at the end of the day I'm going to choose what feels right for me. I don't want to jump a lot. I don't want to do fast moves. I don't want to lift really heavy. Why? Because it doesn't feel comfortable for me mentally.
In one of my pregnancy books, "Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy" I read something that helped it all make sense. This book isn't a scientifically based book, it's more so one girlfriend talking to another about pregnancy, so please take my takeaways from it as just that. Basically the book states that nature is doing something amazing to your body. And, the human body is amazing in knowing exactly what to do. When we work to contract our muscles, maintain our previous fitness levels and fight against the amazing thing that's happening to us in a way to control our exterior physical state we are essentially fighting against nature. This in turn could create a more complicated delivery as our body has gotten used to fighting nature instead of giving in to it.
Instead of fighting against the miracle that nature has created in my body, I'm trying to lean into what's occurring. Instead of being fearful of what my body will look like after pregnancy and how long it will take, or how hard it will be to get "back to normal" I'm choosing to *try* to surrender to the process.
Is pushing my workouts to the max, getting red in the face and lifting heavier than I did before worth the anxiety that may come with what I'm doing to my body during this time while its working hard growing a human? No. To me, it doesn't feel worth it. Before I would workout without consequences, however now it's not just me that's impacted by my workouts, but our baby too.
Before becoming pregnant I wasn't doing Crossfit, lifting heavy and doing box jumps everyday. Why would I start that now? On the other hand, I wasn't sitting on my butt all the time. I worked out at least 5 days a week. So, why would I stop that now?
For this morning's workout, I didn't finish all four rounds prescribed like the "old me" would have. That's okay. I modified like crazy, because it's what felt right. I moved slower with intention and took several water breaks. I showed up and moved without any expectation or goal to finish in a certain time. I did what I could and left feeling physically pushed and mentally okay. Truly, that's all I'm striving for right now, and I'm good with that.
We are each different. We each have a starting baseline and varying comfort levels. What's right for me might not be right for you.... and what matters most is doing what feels good for YOU.