My name is Katherine and I am a trainer with Love your Body Fitness. I am currently pregnant with my second child and I am writing this blog to share my personal experience of being pregnant, and giving myself permission to be selfish while pregnant.
Let me start by saying I feel lucky to be pregnant. I want to be pregnant. I chose to be pregnant. I wanted to establish my perspective before we dive in to be clear that you can have seemingly contradictory feelings simultaneously and both are valid.
I think it is often assumed that when you choose to be pregnant that you’re willing to sacrifice your own needs and desires for the tiny human living inside you. You’re going to eat the right things, avoid the “bad” things, you’re going to stay active, but not too active — essentially assuming you will place your well-being on the back burner for your pregnancy, and maybe longer.
I wanted to talk about my own pregnancy experiences, and use them as an example of how we can have a pregnancy that supports the health and well-being of our child, without having to sacrifice our own mental and physical health. What if putting yourself first was seen as an act of love for your child because it allows you to be joyful and fulfilled while pregnant?
To demonstrate my shift in perspective from first to second pregnancy I wanted to talk briefly about my experiences. During my first pregnancy, I literally thought of my pregnancy as an injury. I was super reluctant to let go of certain workouts that I associated with part of my identity but I felt pressured to put a lot of my activities on hold. I didn’t understand how to continue to do the things that brought me joy in a safe way, which led to me feeling frustrated and looking forward to when I could return to my “normal” life. (Keep in mind this was my first pregnancy so I did not yet know that “normal” wasn’t going to go back to what I remembered it to be!)
During this pregnancy, I’ve been educating myself on how to move and workout safely because being active just makes me so happy! To be clear, there are certain activities I’ve had to put on the backburner or modify, but I’ve been continuing with the activities that I can do and this has helped me enjoy being pregnant so much more. By staying active and doing the things I love I feel more like a whole person and have been able to shed the expectation that being pregnant requires me to sacrifice my desires.
My biggest piece of advice if you’re looking to create a similar pregnancy experience is to seek out a support system that includes health care professionals (ie. physiotherapists, trainers, midwives, doctors) that support your goals and how you want to live your life while pregnant. By having these professionals in your back pocket you can ask questions and seek guidance on how to safely do the things that bring you joy.
The second piece of this support system is your social network (ie. friends, family, partner) and making sure it’s composed of people who are excited to see you investing in yourself and celebrate your successes as a parent but also as a human being!
It can be really easy for our entire lives, and identities to be swallowed up by our children so I’m here to remind you that you have permission to be selfish. It’s healthy for our children to see us being selfish and investing in ourselves. One thing I’ve learned while parenting my toddler is that he is always observing and the way I live is what he will learn is acceptable. By demonstrating for him that I make my health and well-being a priority I’m hoping to also empower him to do the same thing for himself.
This blog post was written by Coach Katherine Miceli