You are the Person I Wrote this For

October 15th is soon rolling around again.  October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I had a devastating miscarriage in 2011 and I often pour my heart out about it around this time of year; the purpose being to try to lessen the stigma of miscarriage and the awfulness that surrounds it.  Every year, when I publish ‘Break the Silence,’ I have women email me to share their stories of grief and loss.  Sometimes these women are complete strangers who found me through WordPress.  Sometimes these women are patients who haven’t told me about their experiences.  Sometimes these women are friends, sometimes good friends….. and most times I have no idea they’ve been through this pain until I receive their email.  So this tells me that there is still stigma, there is still silence, there is still suffering, and there is still work to do.

If you have not yet read my ‘Break the Silence‘ post, I hope that you will today.

However, this year, I’m going to approach things differently.  Today I am going to tell you about what can happen after a miscarriage.  Today I’m going to try to give you hope that there is another side, a happy side, beyond all of your sadness.  For me, that happy side came in the form of my daughter.  My rainbow baby, some would say; a beautiful and bright spot that comes following a storm.

I’ve written about her many times over the years, from what she taught me on maternity leave, to her fiery strength, to her happy disposition, to my hopes and dreams for her….. but I haven’t written about what that little girl does for my heart.  I mean really, really does for my heart.  You see, she helped me out of my deep sadness into an even deeper happiness.  The thing is, she thinks I hung the moon; she’s my shadow, my sidekick, my little buddy.  When her little feet pad into our bedroom at all hours of the night and she whispers, “Mommy, can we snuggle?”, oh my sweet girl, of course we can.

My miscarriage is still in the back of my mind, but it’s not at the front, like it used to be.  It still hurts to remember, but it doesn’t hurt as much, not like it used to be.  I don’t remember the anniversary of our loss every year, not like it used to be.  And I don’t tear up when I talk about it, not like it used to be.  So if you’re reading this and you’re nodding your head in understanding or crying your tears in heartbreak, well then, you are the person I wrote this for.  Email me, talk to me, and I will share your sorrow.

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And P.S., this is my life right now:

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Burpees and Babies

Let me take my ‘professional hat’ completely off.  I will keep both my ‘mom hat’ and my ‘athlete hat’ on while I write this post.

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“Can I still do Crossfit (insert other forms of exercise here) when I’m pregnant?”

I get asked this question quite often around my gym.  My short answer is “Yes”.  This is my long answer:

In 2008, I was pregnant with my son and continued to run until about a month before my due date.  I am a runner, and so, I ran.  I had lots of encouragement along the way- friends applauded me, family supported me, running partners slowed down for me, and people were generally accepting of my choice.  The response was very different three years later when I continued to do Crossfit, my newfound love, during my pregnancy with my daughter.  Aside from fellow Crossfitters, I found a hesitant, reluctant, skeptical response from others.

“Are you sure you should be doing that when you’re pregnant?”  “Is it safe?”  “Do you think that’s good for the baby?”

Yes, yes, and YES.

You see, the beauty of Crossfit is that it can be adapted, scaled, and modified to suit nearly all fitness levels and abilities, including pregnant women.  These were my rules:

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  And then hydrate again.
  2. Do not go breathless.  I kept my workouts aerobic rather than the gasping-for-breath-wanna-puke-may-die anaerobic feeling I often get from non-pregnant Crossfit workouts.  It seems to me that if mom is oxygen-deprived, then baby would be too.
  3. If it doesn’t ‘feel right’, don’t do it.  For me, that meant no kipping pull-ups, no box jumps (I did step-ups instead), and no backsquats.  They just didn’t feel right for me, for my pregnancy.  Every situation is unique, every pregnancy is different, every judgement call is individual.

Trust your body.  Trust your baby.  Pregnancy is not a condition or affliction, ailment or disability.  It is a chance for you to give your baby the healthiest mother that you can.  Make no mistake, labour, delivery, and recovery are physical events in which fitness can be a huge help.

So should you continue to do Crossfit when you’re pregnant?  Absolutely.  Should you continue to run when you’re pregnant?  Absolutely.  Should you continue to swim and walk and do yoga when you’re pregnant?  Absolutely.  If you’ve been doing it pre-pregnancy, if you have a low-risk pregnancy, and perhaps most importantly, if it feels good to do so.

3, 2, 1, Go.

On my due date in 2012:  I did a '7-minutes-of-burpeess' workout. I got 52.

On my due date in 2012: I did a ‘7-minutes-of-burpeess’ workout. I got 52.

***I understand that some mothers experience high-risk pregnancies in which exercise is not appropriate.  I was lucky to have two uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies, and the above post is based on my own personal experiences.  It is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Always check with your midwife or doctor… but listen to your body too, you know it best.