One year ago I was at my strongest, physically and mentally. I had recently qualified for the Wodapalooza fitness festival and was at the top of my Crossfit game. I was training two to three hours a day, with my eyes and heart always set on the prize...
The Crossfit Games.
Professionally things were going well too. I had regular clients, I had written a book and my business was growing. I was speaking at schools about being "Unstoppable". I was known in my neighbourhood as "Super Mom".
My kids were in school which allowed me the time to work and to train and to focus on myself, and my business, for the first time since having kids.
I was at the top of my game...
But I was also stretched to the limits.
All the training required me to visit physiotherapists, message therapist and do lots of mobility and stretching daily (after all the training).
I was getting up at 4:30am to get all my work done, and then preoccupied in the evenings with work, that I was too tired and not present with my kids.
I was ALWAYS sore.
I was stretched like an elastic ready to burst, both physically and mentally, but I had no idea. In my mind I was proud that was finally a high performer. I was living my purpose, my dreams were coming true. No rest for me. I never sat down.
But then the elastic burst in the most wonderful of ways. I got pregnant.
We had been trying but it wasn't working for a while, so we gave up trying. You would think that I would be ecstatic about the news, and I was, but what I couldn't have predicted what would come next.
My first reaction was "nothing has to change". I even considered still competing. My coach talked me down from that ledge. My health and the health baby was more important. This was very hard for me. Fortunately, I also started getting very nauseous and my training naturally stopped. For the first five months I could barely train because of morning sickness (all day sickness) and extreme exhaustion, which lead me to stage two.
I couldn't train, I couldn't work. I was sick all the time. I was angry. I had been trying for so long to get pregnant and when it finally happened, I was angry that it affected my body so much. I kept on saying "it was the worse possible time".
Don't get me wrong, I was super happy to be having a baby, I just was angry at the changes my body was going through, and how the pregnancy was affecting my life in such a profound way. Which lead me to stage three.
I felt shameful for feeling the way I did. I tried to deny my feelings and push through it, but deep inside I could feel the anger, and it brought me shame. People would say "Be easy on yourself, you are having a baby", and all I kept thinking was goodbye old life, goodbye body, goodbye freedom. This negative spiral brought me to stage four.
For the first 4 months I was depressed. I couldn't train. All I could eat was bread and white things. My body was changing. I was peeing my pants all the time. I would look at other instagram accounts of pregnant athletes and wonder why I couldn't be like that. Then I would struggle with shame, because I didn't feel like I had the right to feel that way. Some people PRAY to become pregnant and can't, and here I was feeling angry and depressed. Eventually, my circumstances changed, and my mindset changed.
Acceptance is sometimes confused with the notion of being O.K. The truth was, I was happy (about the pregnancy) but I was still mourning my pre-pregnancy life. Around 5 months in the fog lifted and my circumstances changed. I wasn't feeling sick anymore and I was finally ready to accept my new reality. I started training again, and my mood lifted. I accepted where I was and started enjoying my pregnancy. I started to meditate. Things really started to turn around for me. The sun after the storm.
I trained until a week before the baby was born and I was back at the gym two weeks later. And then again, there I was ready to get back to it like my life hadn't changed. But it had. BIG TIME. I was sleep deprived, pissing myself with every step, and bitter again.
What the %^ck had I done?
If I thought maintaining a semblance of my old life was hard while pregnant, things got even HARDER once the baby was born...
Alas, the next chapter is for my next post... STAY TUNED!