The Baby Fitness Blues

Feb 21st, 2018

Category: Philosophy

The Baby Fitness Blues

I am so excited to announce that after many years of trying, my husband and I are expecting a baby boy this May! The incredible joy that washed over me when I found out we were pregnant is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It was like suddenly nothing in the world was as important as this little life growing inside of me. In fact, I can wholeheartedly say that the past 6 months of being pregnant have been extraordinarily life-changing.

The first trimester started off typically…lots of nausea, some morning (all day!) sickness, and tiredness. I literally could not eat anything but crackers and mac and cheese, but I was so grateful for every second of it because it had taken us so long to get there. Despite the sickness, I was determined to workout every day to keep my body strong and my energy levels up for the upcoming labor. I discovered Jillian Michaels’ book Yeah Baby, which was not only an amazingly informative pregnancy book but also included an incredible workout plan for each week of pregnancy. I followed it religiously and even added in extra cardio sessions.  I was on fire, my body felt amazing, and my energy and mood were fantastic! Who said pregnancy was hard?!

And then the worst thing that could happen to a fitness professional happened. I developed a subchorionic hematoma on my uterus around week 19 and was ordered to completely stop exercise until it went away. My doctor gave strict instructions to not even walk a block, let alone teach my usual classes or do my usual workout routine…I was lucky I wasn’t on bed rest, she said!

At first I thought no big deal, I’m sure it will be just a few weeks, and obviously I will do whatever is best for the baby. Again, we had fought so hard to get pregnant; no way was I about to let anything jeopardize this precious gift. The doctor began to monitor me every other week. After two weeks, the hematoma shrank to half the size, which was great news, but it wasn’t totally gone. Again I thought, no biggie, I’m sure in two more weeks it will be completely gone and I can at least do some yoga or swim. Two more weeks went by…my friendly little hematoma stayed the same size. I would have to wait another two weeks to see if it would shrink and disappear; but the doctor warned that the hematoma very likely could stay the rest of my pregnancy, which of course meant a continuance of my new sedentary lifestyle.

I have to admit…I burst into tears in the doctor’s office when I heard this. It wasn’t because I’m so obsessed with exercise or that my vanity is so extreme that I have to look amazingly fit at all times. I cried because it hit me—ever since I was a child, exercise has always been a part of me, an outlet I could turn to for my emotions and my mental health, even more so than my physical health. Whenever I am feeling down or going through something challenging, working out is always a way for me to process my emotions and get the endorphin boost that my body (and every body!) needs. Suddenly I found myself going through the hormonal hell that is pregnancy without my tried and trusted resource to turn to. And on top of that, my daily routine was instantly changed. I suddenly had so many extra hours in the day without my usual workouts and teaching my usual classes. And at the same time, oddly enough I had a few other projects that had taken up my time on a daily basis abruptly come to an end as well. The busy, productive me suddenly turned into someone who sleeps 9-10 hours a night, takes a nap in the afternoon, and spends countless hours researching the best stroller or baby monitor. Who is this and what did she do with Selah?!

Although the transition was tough, now that I’ve adjusted I am so grateful for this incredible time to slow down, rest, and nest. What an amazing opportunity to be able to relax so much, giving my baby the best “home” to grow, and what a blessing to be able to spend so much time preparing for this new life to enter the world.

I have also learned and dedicated myself to other ways that I can process my ever-changing hormones and emotions. I’ve been meditating every day, using an incredible app called Expectful for expectant mothers; and I’ve refocused my spiritual life with prayer and daily devotionals. I’ve also discovered long baths instead of quick showers and started reading a chapter in a book every night, which I don’t think I’ve done since college. I’ve made it a priority to see my friends more often and surround myself with loving people who keep my spirits up.

But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that this is exactly what it means to become a mother–SACRIFICE. It is not about me anymore. It is about what is best for my baby and that is ALL that matters. When I think about all that my own mother sacrificed to raise me and my 7 siblings, I am overwhelmed. That woman never put herself or her needs first. I don’t think she ever spent an hour to herself working out or went out with girlfriends or bought new clothes our entire childhood; every minute of her time and every penny she had was given to us children. My mother is the most altruistic person I have ever known; and I am so inspired by her as I go into motherhood myself.

And so this is my lesson and my prayer for my pregnancy and into motherhood–that not only will I be able to healthfully grow this life inside of me, but at the same time, I will grow right alongside of him in my character and become the woman and mother that God intends for me to be.

And besides, in just a few months, I know I’ll be jogging down the street in my over-researched baby jogger with my precious little addition in tow, with absolutely no time to take a bath let alone a shower, and completely sleep deprived.  And let me tell you…I can’t wait!!!

 

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