I will admit, becoming a mother is not something I’ve always wanted for myself, and when I found out I was pregnant I was not scared by the thought of sleepless nights, spit up, diaper changes and drool. My fear was stretch marks, saggy skin, hair loss, and most of all weight gain.
With each passing week I stressed about the possibility of stretch marks, and gaining weight I worried I would never lose. In August 2019 I went into labor. I had gained roughly 20 pounds total throughout the pregnancy which is healthy, but on the low side from what I’m told. When I was eight months pregnant, one of my doctors actually told me I could stand to gain a little more weight. Still watching the number on the scale increase made me want to crawl out of my skin.
After 39 weeks of pregnancy, 27 hours of labor, several frightening moments regarding the baby’s heart rate, an epidural, and no sleep I gave birth to a perfectly healthy, beautiful 6 lb 2oz baby boy.
Prior to becoming pregnant I had always enjoyed exercising. My daily work outs would vary, but typically involve cardio, lifting weights, and most recently Pop Pilates. For anyone not familiar with Pop Pilates it is a combination of traditional Pilate’s exercises, mat based fusion, and core work choreographed to popular top 40s hits. Pop Pilates was developed by the #1 fitness instructor on YouTube, Cassey Ho. Since incorporating Pop Pilates into my daily routine nearly five years ago I feel stronger, leaner, and much more agile. I attribute my ability to staying fit throughout my pregnancy to Pop Pilates. Working with my own body weight allowed me to keep my circulation going, my muscles active, and my endurance level strong. I was also able to complete my workouts at home which saved me from cramming my large pregnant stomach into the car, and sitting uncomfortably as I neared the end of the third trimester. Pop Pilates also saved me money on a maternity fitness wardrobe. I worked out at home for the most part, so I could get away with wearing anything; even an ugly oversized t-shirt.
While exercise is an important layer in the triple chocolate cake, it is not as important as what we put in our bodies. A few weeks into the pregnancy I began looking at food differently. The responsibility of carrying a child for nine months was a huge motivator when it came to my food choices. I found that cutting myself some slack, but limiting my intake when it came to sweets worked best. If I wanted cake, chocolate, ice cream or a combination of the three all at once I at it, and I didn’t beat myself up about it. Instead I focused on portions, and timing. If I ate the sweets at night before bed snuggled up on the couch watching Netflix with the dog I knew I wouldn’t feel great in the morning, and my energy level would be very low. I also knew that if the food wasn’t nutritious for me it most likely wouldn’t be nutritious for the baby.
What started out as a fear of getting fat turned into a focus on what is healthy for the baby and I. He does not need ice cream and cake at midnight any more than I do. Taking care of myself allows me to be the best version of myself for him.