I had this thing, pregnancy, all beautifully planned out. It was going to be the best time ever, filled with joy and positivity, the timing of it couldn’t have been any better in my life.
It was going to be the time, when I finally catch up on all the things that I’d never had time to do. I’d write a book, do this blog properly, finally finish my ‘personal trainer’ certificate. I’d finish designing my swimwear collection, I’d even have time to make and sew all my own baby clothes, I really thought that! I thought I’d be running until at least 7 months pregnant, I ordered the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVDs, so I could keep exercising until the end of 9 months. I had it all planned out…
Well, things went slightly off track….
These are the things I’ve learned, that may help you on your own wonderful journey to motherhood:
1- Take it as it comes.
There’s no point thinking what you should have done differently.
I’ve always been a healthy and fit person and, I was running 10k regularly until I was 4 months along, it was actually helping me with the early term nausea. I thought this was a good base for a fit and carefree pregnancy.
At 12 weeks, I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid, which actually answered some concerns I had before pregnancy, perhaps I didn’t have to do 6 workouts a week and 3 marathons a year to stay in shape? No one knew about my thyroid condition, probably due to my healthy lifestyle keeping it under wraps. However, when hormones needed to be produced for the baby as well as me, the issue showed straight away.
I had an unlucky run, it took them quite a while to get the dosage for my thyroid medication right which, really kicked my immune system. I had lots of complications and seemed to just go from flu to flu until, at five months I ended up with bronchitis and pneumonia. I was sick for the full month and antibiotics just didn’t help. The cough I developed made it so hard for me to stay hydrated and coupled with a hectic work schedule, I was exhausted. So at just 26 weeks, I found myself in hospital with early contractions and, my poor baby had an irregular heartbeat. It was one of the most terrifying times in our lives. The hospital staff were absolutely amazing, after 30 hours, taking on liquid via an IV, the contractions finally stopped and we were sent home. I was told I was a high risk pregnancy and everything had to be monitored weekly. My healthy and productive pregnancy plan went out of the window, no question about it, the only priority now was my baby boy.
If I learnt anything from this, it’s that there is no point dwelling on what I should have done differently or, feel that we’ve been treated unfairly in any way. I’ve learnt to take it as it comes, appreciate all the good news and I’m so grateful that our baby is now doing so well.
2- Don’t panic.
It may feel like you are diagnosed with everything you can possibly be diagnosed with.
With every doctor visit, every passing week, I got some new, weird symptoms, issues or pains. At 8 months pregnant, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m wearing these ridiculous gloves/wrist braces, in the middle of summer, at 37C, for sure a new fashion trend in Brooklyn? I can’t feel my hands several hours a day, I’m struggling to sleep due to the discomfort and, the weird sensation of not being able to feel what I touch or grab hold.
I’ve had plenty of issues – swelling, ruptured tendons in my back, (my chiropractor is now my best friend), high blood pressure, reduced vision, I had to say goodbye to my flying lessons. I’ve had a belly button hernia and again, the bloody pneumonia & bronchitis. My early labor scare, constipation, nausea, oh and of course, the famous pregnancy brains, how many times have I left my wallet in a store or put a lettuce in the dishwasher! The list of issues goes on. Pretty much everything I was warned was possible, I got. It’s been hard, but you know what? I managed. So don’t worry if every week, there’s some rubbish news, it’s all going to be okay.
3- Simply slowing down a little doesn’t do the trick.
After my initial health concerns, I scaled back many of my activities. I stopped flying, I cut back on photoshoots & work, saying ‘no’ to all the jobs outside NYC. I eventually stopped running and exercising, I even started having naps during the weekend. I slowed down so much, I was going crazy, yet it still wasn’t enough. Our little baby boy needed all my energy and attention and, my health issues were his way of letting me know.
I’ve leant that you can’t just slow down based on what your lifestyle was before the pregnancy. More than anyone, I should have known to listen to my body and my baby, even if you feel like you’re not doing anything at all, it doesn’t mean that you actually aren’t. Once I really started listening and actually sat down and relaxed for a while, my baby was the happiest.
4- Learn to be selfish.
I was booked for maternity jobs in Europe, but I had to say no to all of them, it was too risky to work long hours and travel as a high risk pregnancy. My whole life, I’m so used to pushing myself, I had to learn not to feel guilty when I didn’t, it’s not just about me anymore. I had to say no to 11-hour shoot days and simply be selfish. It was hard, but definitely the right thing to do. I’m 9 months pregnant now and pretty heavy, I’ve gained 17kg/ 37lb so far, but I feel better and have more energy than throughout the whole pregnancy, just because I became selfish.
If ever in my life I was going to slow down, this was the time. Our little baby boy just wanted all my energy and focus to himself and he got it! We can’t wait to meet him and it’s all been worth it, the struggles, the pains, the sleepless nights . Of course, I know that there’s so much more of this to come but, we cannot wait! For sure we lucked out and we’re so grateful.
‘Pregnancy Perks’ coming next week.