“They” said pregnancy just flies by, and I admittedly rolled my eyes at them as I battled my way through constant nausea and food aversions. But, as it turns out… they were right.
Folks, I am entering the third trimester next week and I thought I’d share a little update on this whole baby growing thing. From body image woes, to digestion challenges I am baring all in the hopes that it may shed a real, and hopefully empowering light for the first time mamas that come after me.
Body Image Woes
The last 6 months have been a lesson in ‘practice what you preach’. As I prepare for our second round of the Love YoSelf: Body Positivity Workshop happening on June 20th, I am constantly reminded of what it means to love your body through every phase of life. While I’ve made a concerted effort to stay active and nimble (as possible), I have also had to make some adjustments to honour the changes my body is experiencing. These changes have also come with weight gain outside of the cherished baby bump, an increase in cellulite (just in time for short weather), and a few (rather unwelcome) stretch marks along my middle. I’d like to say I am taking it all in strides, owning the changes and loving myself every minute of every day. But, I’d be lying. It requires a daily reflection, a reminder that my body is doing something magical, and that there is an end in sight.
(assumed & ignored)
Starting with my cherished kickboxing routine, that sadly was put on pause in favour of a lower impact regime. Not only do I miss the JBKB community, but the adrenaline high of the accomplishing a kick ass workout, pushing my body in new ways with each visit, and let’s be honest the simple pleasure of maintaining muscle tone. Instead, my workouts have consisted of more hill climb/ incline workouts on the treadmill, with a side of low impact bodyweight movements. Topping that off with long daily walks with the pups and mobility stretches, I am feeling good with this new routine.
I’ve also chosen to play in a Spring beach volleyball league, knowing that the summer league will be impossible with this growing bump I just had to give it a go. And, so far so good! I definitely don’t have the same level of mobility… and those digs are a no-go, but I get to experience most of the game I have come to love, with a kickass team of friends.
These choices aside, I am finding others want to limit me more than I feel inclined to limit myself. I have chosen thus far to not only trust my mama-instinct (which is already VERY real), but also to listen to what my body and this growing babe tells me with each new opportunity. The way I see it, a lot has changed in the way we approach pregnancy as a collective, but some of the dated mentalities remain. Nowadays we know our bodies are capable of more, we know that it is in fact healthy for both mama and babe to remain as active as possible (high- risk/ complicated pregnancies aside), and we know our bodies are our best advisors, so trust ‘em. The most important takeaway here is to do what feels right for YOU, and I will continue to model this myself.
As it turns out 29 years as a tummy sleeper fails to prepare you for the bulk of your pregnancy when this is no longer a luxury. While a thoughtful (and rather pricey) gift, the pregnancy pillow my husband purchased for me was just too bulky for this rather active sleeper- so alas I’ve fallen back on the ol’ faithful- the knee pillow. My wind down routine is still ever present, and I often find it helpful to lay on my back briefly with a pillow under my knees to allow my back to settle before flipping onto my side for the night. So far so good, although I am told the best in sleepless nights is yet to come…
What a surreal experience it was when it happened for the first time. When I first felt the flutter I was home alone with the hubs away, winding down for the night and listening to our ‘sleep’ playlist. Maybe it was our taste in music, or maybe it was my stillness, but that first flutter was surprisingly emotional. Honestly, up until that moment I had struggled with connecting to this growing little human. Perhaps it was the rather irregular opportunities to confirm that they were still in there, aside from nausea, tight pants and sore hips, but all of a sudden it was REAL. Since, the flutter has turned into very obvious, and sometimes obnoxious punches and kicks that can be felt inside and seen outside, while still remaining just a little bit magical.
Aches & Pains
While I am still rather nimble and mobile, I am not immune to the aches and pains of rapid weight gain centred in your mid-section. My biggest struggle being mid-back pain and hip/glute pain. So far I’ve been able to manage with a daily stretch routine, regular massages, and epsom salt baths galore. I welcome any other natural remedies as well, because I can only assume I am in for a treat these last three months.
Digestion is naturally slower when you’re pregnant, blood flow has changed and your internal system has shifted to make room for that growing babe and it’s comfortable home. While this has not been a huge issue for me, I do notice that meals high in fat are not well tolerated, large indulgent meals are immediately rejected (by way of a tight and uncomfortable belly), and regular nutrient dense snacks are a must. This is an area that I felt very prepared to navigate, and I am so thankful for the feedback system I’ve established with my bod before this pregnancy.
Documenting the Journey
Aside from sharing with the #itsalifestyle community via this blog, I have not been drawn to the photo documentation I have seen so many other mama’s do. While I am often asked for bump photos, I never feel 100% comfortable taking them. I am not much of a journal person so that was out of the question, but one thing I have been doing is keeping an email log for the baby. Early on in my pregnancy I set up an email account for them with the intention of writing them as we encounter new milestones, and one day sharing the password for them to shift through the goodies on their own. Everything from the first recorded heartbeat, to our gender reveal reactions, to our everyday discoveries have been documented in brief emails addressed to them. Who wouldn’t want a little more insight into their early days?! and no doubt the reminder of how loved and anticipated they were will pay off when the teenage angst sets in.
All in all, I’d say trimester 2 was a smashing success. I’ve grown a little more accustomed to the loss of control, I’ve developed a bond with this little human, and I’ve been able to uphold my personal commitments and values throughout. A special shoutout to my ever patient and adoring husband, who takes every opportunity to check in, snatches every baby in sight to log all the practice hours, and is my #1 fan (as I am his). I shall leave you with a couple of my documented ‘lifesavers’, should you ever find yourself in the baby growing way.
- Investing in maternity clothes that I feel comfortable in. I tried to borrow as much as I could, stretch my pre-pregnancy wardrobe as far as possible, and basically cheap out at every opportunity, but this failed me. As soon as I invested in some proper maternity clothes I felt 100% more confident to rock the bump.
- Communicating with my partner. Often when I am struggling internally with my body love (or temporarily lack thereof) I shy away from my partner, find myself acting very cold, and manifesting the anxiety by picking the most ridiculous fights. By over-communicating what is on my mind, I am able to avoid the spiral and I benefit from a extra dose of his love and adoration. #winwin
- Moving & eating the way I SHOULD, not the way I am necessarily drawn to. Cravings are real, and mine are all carb related. Being mindful of my weak spots and making conscious decisions to maintain my healthy habits helps me feel confident that I am doing everything I can to look and feel my best.
- Thanking everyone kind enough to offer their advice, suggestions, and judgement… and then do what I was going to do anyway. While this is my first pregnancy, I’ve been in this body for almost 30 years, and I know best.
- Take a break from social media. I’ve shared here before about my personal social media hiatus and I cannot recommend this enough. Not only has it provided mental clarity, but it is just a few less outlets for others to see, comment, and advise.
- Avoid using pregnancy as an excuse. I could very well assume the horizontal position rather than sneak in the workout, I could indulge in nightly ice cream binges rather than consume in moderation, and I could 100% lean on my hubby in favour of saving myself a few hundred steps a day, but I don’t. I am sure there will come a day when I need to slow down, and assume some of those roles- but I am riding the wave of mobility until it flattens out.
Onward, upward, and inevitably outward to trimester #3.