Pregnancy is a time of joy, excitement, uncertainty, and change. And, for many expecting moms, pregnancy is accompanied by an inundation of unsolicited advice from friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Many moms wonder how to respond to unsolicited suggestions gracefully. Our Ambassador Lindsay Sanii gives her best advice on dealing with critics and being true to yourself.
“How can she be so foolish?! Doesn’t she know running during pregnancy will hurt the baby?” “Excuse me mam, you should really take it easy. Lifting weights isn’t good for pregnant women”. “Wow, doesn’t she know that drinking coffee could cause her a miscarriage?!” “What a selfish woman, putting her vanity before the baby.” “I know a man who is a doctor and he said that what you’re doing is not healthy for you or your baby.”
Are you cringing yet? Then I suspect you are a mom and you’ve been bombarded with commentary such as this at least a dozen times before.
No matter what you do, if you’re a woman (especially a mother), you’re doing it wrong. “It” being anything at all, of course. If you’re overweight you’re doing it wrong. If you’re thin, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re not exercising during pregnancy, you’re hurting your unborn child. If you exercise during pregnancy, you’re hurting your unborn child. If you’re a mother, you find yourself questioning every single decision you make, not because you doubt yourself, but because you know the piranhas are out there waiting to shred your ideas and practices into bits and pieces. Rather than following her maternal instincts, a mother weighs her choices against the critics’ opinions – those critics being just about everyone, from close acquaintances to complete strangers.
So what is a mother to do? I actually have an answer for this in my three simple fit mom rules to live by.
You must be brave enough to follow your gut and make your own decisions based on what you know is right, because no matter what choices you make, they will always be wrong in the eyes of someone else. Learning to hold your ground is a giant step toward living a free life.
If you’re always looking to do “the right thing”and win majority opinion, you will lose your SELF and be eaten up by the “opinionaters” (my term for those who will kill your spirit with their opinions if you let them).
During my first pregnancy, I maintained a fitness routine that included at least 4 days of spin classes per week, which I partnered with some light weight lifting, body weight training and stretching up until about four weeks before my daughter was born, at which point my body just told me to slow down. In exchange, I took 5+ mile walks with my husband, followed by a short series of lunges and squats, right up until delivery day. I didn’t have a single complication during my pregnancy, and I vaginally delivered a strong and healthy nine pound baby, who is today a toddler genius (if you ask her mom and dad ).
Given that I’m now a stay at home mom, I don’t have the luxury of running out to the gym. Therefore, I design home workouts. I log a few slow paced miles on the treadmill, and I have been on a DIY yoga crusade since the beginning of my third trimester. If you’ve seen my Instagram @shemomfit, you’ll note that I’m experimenting with new yoga poses daily. Everything from your basic downward dog to head stands and handstands. “Woa! You’re standing on your head while pregnant?! Isn’t that BAD?” Yes, I sure am. Why? Because it feels good. And according to many yogis, there are tremendous benefits to inverting during pregnancy (Yoga Rahasya volume B, p.29). Of course, like any other exercise, there is a plethora of arguments for and against this practice, which is why I make decisions not solely based on medical opinion, but maternal instinct.
Yesterday I visited my OB for my 31 week checkup. My baby is growing beautifully, he’s already cozied into the correct head-down position for his grand entry, and my fluid levels are looking great. Departing words from my doc: “Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing”. Ahhh, I wish everyone was as supportive as my OB. But since the reality of our world as women, as mothers, is quite the contrary, we will just have to get comfortable making our own choices based on our own expertise – that which comes with being the sole proprietor of your own mind, body and soul.
More about Lindsay: Lindsay is a full-time mom with a boisterous tot in tow and a baby on the way. Her part-time passion project is inspiring moms of all shapes and sizes to meet their health and fitness goals, and to look and feel their best before and after baby. She infuses components of her background as a childhood ballerina, personal trainer, yoga enthusiast and aspiring runner to her roster of pre and post-natal workout combinations. You can read more from Lindsay at SheMomFit.
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