When you become pregnant your body knows just what to do and shifts its focus to taking care of baby. However, your mind is still adjusting to the fact that you’re about to be a parent and for me the hardest thing was adjusting that focus and coming to terms emotionally with how that affected me as an athlete. I think as human beings we fulfill a good amount of roles and see ourselves in each role. I think athlete was a big part of my self-identify and has been since I was a young girl participating in sports through college and internationally at the professional level. Adjusting what that role looked like for me on a regular basis was a struggle.
It was emotionally draining as I had become accustomed to ignoring my body and pushing through pain and discomfort to focus on performance. Pregnancy demands the opposite. It requires you to listen and stay in-tune to each and every signal your body is putting out there to ensure not only your safety, but also the safety of your baby. The fulfillment I used to get from pushing through pain/discomfort to find success in a workout was going to go away and all the work I’ve put into acquiring skills like bar muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, heavy snatch numbers to me felt like it was going down the drain. I also felt guilty for even thinking about such things as performance as I should be feeling blessed and grateful for becoming pregnant and my whole focus should be on that right?
The lessons that this amazing experience has taught me are innumerable but a few that I felt can apply to anyone regardless if you’re pregnant or just going through a tough period in life I wanted to share with everyone.
- We can’t change our emotions because we are ashamed of them. But we can own them and adjust our mindset to handle our emotions in a healthy way.
-Whether it’s pregnancy or just a big injury that makes you have to adjust your training and goals it’s ok to be frustrated and it’s ok that frustration is our raw emotion. I felt so much better when I finally owned it that I was scared of losing all my progress in CrossFit and that was ok to feel that way, it didn’t make me a bad mom or a bad person. Letting shame takeover and tell ourselves that we are ‘bad’ for feeling a certain way doesn’t make the feeling go away, it doesn’t make us ungrateful, and it definitely doesn’t help us overcome the pain and frustration we are feeling.
2. Most of the time our real emotion comes out as a bad reaction. Dive into that reaction to find out what’s really driving it so that you can address the real problem.
-What I’ve found out over and over again in life, and then it became glaringly obvious in pregnancy, was that when i’m scared, overwhelmed, or feel out of control I react angrily. I’m not actually angry, I’m actually scared, overwhelmed, or feel out of control. The only way to address these real emotions is to reign in the angry reaction and really dive into the why. This has helped me a lot during pregnancy. There is not a lot you’re actually in control of at this point but being angry and yelling at everyone definitely won’t help. Being vulnerable and letting the people in your circle know how you’re feeling can help.
We are really lucky at CrossFit Bear to have had so many strong women CrossFit while pregnant and they set such a great example not only navigating a major life event but also the many emotions that come with it. Pregnant or not- identifying and digging into our emotions and reactions can only make us better and stronger individuals!