*This is a recap of my own struggles finding balance with staying active during my fertility journey and pregnancy. This should not be taken as medical advice and is provided to help others find their own balance that works for them.
“Just workout as if you’re pregnant.” The words my doctor told me when I hadn’t gotten pregnant after only two months of trying. May seem easy enough but for someone like me, this was a lot harder than it sounds. Working out was my medicine, passion, whatever you want to call it, I loved it. I couldn’t get enough.I grew up dancing, doing gymnastics and ballet, and the feeling I got from working out brought me back to being a kid, feeling that natural high and adrenaline. I also went into trying to get pregnant thinking I would work out throughout conceiving until the day I gave birth. Marathon runners do it, so can’t I be that person that doesn’t change her workouts and has an easy delivery because of it??
This is why when I heard the words to “work out as if I was pregnant” I was confused on how to actually do that. I remember having a specific conversation with my then acupuncturist and she said “I think you usually give 100% in your workouts, try giving like 40%.” I”m like “so you mean like take breaks?! I know I sound ridiculous but this was extremely hard for me to wrap my head around. I tried taking this advice, working out less times per week, and told my trainer what my doctors said so that he could tone down our fitness. I took breaks in classes and pushed myself little bit less. I started becoming nervous and anxious every time I got that adrenaline, high on life feeling (if you work out, you know the one) because I felt guilty that I wasn’t focusing enough on fertility. It was just so stressful to do something that once relieved my stress.
When nothing happened naturally, even with seemingly cutting down on the amount of work outs and the effort I put into them, I entered the world of ARTS. With ARTS, working out seemed to be even more “in the way” of the process. The terms “lay low,” and “bed rest” surrounded IUI’s, medications, egg retrieval and eventually IVF. I became so nervous that I was going to literally twist an ovary or ruin chances of implantation. Yet, I felt like working out would be the only thing to help me get through what was the most trying time of my life. Also, what if I didn't get pregnant for another year? I was supposed to just not do what I loved for that long, let my body change and feel even shittier?
So after talks with friends who had been through the same, I started solely working out at home with my trainer, Mikey Victor Raposo. It was a godsend. I felt better not being in 100 degree rooms and being in control of my workouts. I wasn’t about to tell instructors in classes about my infertility so having a trainer who catered to my feelings not just physically but mentally was incredible. It also set the stage for pregnancy. I remember finally getting pregnant and at about 1 month in, I felt ready to go back to one of my old favorite workout classes again. It felt amazing while I was in it, I could still keep up, I remembered the moves, but once I left, I broke down crying. I felt selfish and worried and nervous. I realized that I didn't need to keep up with these classes anymore to feel good physically. It wasn’t necessarily about me anymore but about this potential HUMAN I was growing inside me. I changed my regular workout classes to prenatal yoga and work outs such as Body Conceptions, where I felt comfortable telling them my situation both during infertility and pregnancy. At first, it took some adjusting to not focus on what I felt was a lack of intensity in these modified workouts, but then after talks with other women going through the same thing, I felt proud I was even still being as active as I was. I finally found my own balance and routine of fitness that continued throughout my entire pregnancy.
I’m writing this to say that I know how hard it is to find a balance when you’re trying to get pregnant. Balance with life, work, enough sleep, diet, and being active when doctors and people are telling you to adjust all of the above, is near impossible. There’s no direct answer but one way or another, you find a way to do what works, after some troubleshooting.
I am now 39 weeks pregnant, I stopped working out with my trainer as of last week, at 38 weeks. I didn’t stop because I felt that I couldn’t physically continue, I stopped because I heard that same voice in my head tell me “its time to stop” that told me 9 months ago that it wasn’t about me anymore. After working out my entire pregnancy, helping me through so many pregnancy moments like morning sickness, feeling gross physically and just getting my blood flowing, it was time to say goodbye for now. (I did sneak in a prenatal yoga class this week!).
**Having a network of pregnant women and friends who are already mom’s helped me find the balance above. Mo’ Mommies will bring more of this network to life to help others with similar struggles. Hope this post helps those trying to conceive or those trying to stay active during pregnancy!