Things I love about being pregnant

This is a post I never really expected to write.

Ever since I learned about the birds and the bees, I always sort of knew I’d be pregnant some day.

Ever since I learned to appreciate sushi and wine and exercise—and having autonomy over my own body—I thought about pregnancy kind of the same way people think about chicken pox or getting their wisdom teeth pulled.

Not going to be fun, but I guess I’ll suffer through it. 

And I’m not going to lie; there are parts of this experience that I could really, really do without. See: first trimester. See: no wine for 9 months (wah). See: obsessing over whether the cheese I’m about to devour is pasteurized.

But I also must admit there are a few benefits I’m slowly starting to recognize. I’m 16 weeks in, and here are my favorite things so far:

People are really nice to you.

blogfest sweatpink worth it

Once you’re public, everyone goes out of their way to be nice and help you. I barely did any of the usual schlepping during our conference (thanks, Jamie, Dapinder, and Liz!); my husband won’t let me unload heavy things from the car. (Whee!)

You get a hall pass on crunches

sweatpink barre

I went to a fun Dailey Method class with Giselle last week—one of my first forays into real prenatal exercise—and while I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to exercise, one of the ab exercises we did definitely didn’t feel right. (This isn’t even me being lazy or taking advantage; I got into the position and had a “hell no!” moment.) Instead of pushing or judging me, the instructor gave me a modification and told me “because you’re special.”

Swoon.

Eating! All the time! All the things!

berries and yogurt

This one goes without saying.

manitoba harvest hemp hearts

 

I love to eat.

birthday cupcakes

 

I was born to eat.

breakfast burrito

Food is my friend.

salad

And now that I’m hungry all the time, I have so many more opportunities to really appreciate food.

siggi's best yogurt

It’s so satisfying to be blindingly hungry multiple times a day and to be able to solve that problem with delicious things.

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, 5-6 times a day. 🙂

Letting it all hang out.

sweat pink trucker hat
Wearing my all-time favorite swimsuit from prAna. My goal is to never buy a maternity suit, but just keep wearing this one.  Tip for non-showing pregnant ladies: wheel pose does wonders for disguising your almost bump/beer belly in these early days. 

Okay, this is one I’m still striving for. I’m somewhere between the beer belly and baby bump phases, but I’m embracing the curves. Bikinis, dresses, tops, whatever: this belly is going to do what it will. No sucking in or spanx for this lady.

Boobs.

Back in middle school, the boy I had a crush on used to sing me the following nursery rhyme:

Roses are red

Violets are black

Why is Alyse

As flat as my back

If only my red-faced 12-year-old self could see how far we’ve come. I’ve only waited 20 years for this sweet redemption. #thankyouhormones.

 

Adjusting my yoga practice for pregnancy

I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of exercising now that my energy is mostly back, and I’m not dealing with all day everyday nausea. To be honest, it’s been a bit of a struggle, between the traveling for Blogfest and my parents house and beyond (literally, I’m kind of a nomad this month) and also trying to figure out how I want to approach the whole prenatal exercise business.

Part of me thinks all the advice and recommendations—specifically, about not doing hot yoga or twists or running or anything intense—is total BS, if you’re someone whose body is accustomed to doing those kinds of activities.

The other part of me recognizes that my body does feel very different these days and that I don’t want to put the baby at risk, especially since I made it past that horrible first trimester, and dammit, I can’t fail now.

So I’ve been experimenting, and trying to regain my fitness without jeopardizing my or my baby’s health. I’m trying out a few things, namely, ‘normal yoga.’

What is “normal” yoga, anyway?

I’m typically a power vinyasa kind of girl—anything that doesn’t get me moving pretty quickly, sweating pretty intensely, or my heart rate up I usually find torturous, even boring. (Please don’t smite me for saying so, yoga gurus).

I’ve taken a few classes that old me would find far too vanilla for her taste. She probably wouldn’t even consider them real ‘exercise.’ Now, they’re kind of tough. Humbling, even.

I’m really interested in taking prenatal yoga, mostly to meet people and also to make sure I’m doing any modifications right. I’m in Lake Tahoe for the next few weeks, and since there seems to be a dramatic shortage of prenatal yoga classes, I’ve also started doing prenatal yoga online. I found a ton of good ones on Grokker, and I’ve been doing them lakeside, early in the morning. I just set up my phone on my handy tripod and get my yoga on while everything is still quiet and serene.

grokker sweat pink
Wearing: my favorite new Gaiam top, from their Kohl’s line, and prAna gazelle leggings.

I admit I had a healthy skepticism of prenatal yoga before actually doing it. I (wrongly) assumed it was just dumbed down yoga; that you’d be treated like a fragile creature that’s about to break. I had visions of classes that consisted of nothing but wide-kneed child’s pose and some gentle breathing. But the videos I’ve tried so far have been so much better than that.

prenatal yoga doesn't have to be boring

They’re not super sweaty workouts, but they are a perfect way to start the day, and are helping me to figure out how to use this shape-shifting body of mine in a way that feels right.

Even if you’re not pregnant, there are ten million videos on Grokker I’m dying to try once I’m feeling a little stronger, from HIIT to sports conditioning and vinyasa flow classes.

Walking away from MSG and judgers

I just got back from our annual conference, Blogfest, and have a ton of things on my mind, some pregnancy related, some not.

sweat pink blogfest fun
LOVE these Cory Vines jackets we had made for Blogfest. I’m still living in mine.

 

blogfest sweat pink best fitness conference

We had an amazing weekend at the conference, and I must say, traveling during second trimester is much, much easier than during the first. I’m so grateful to my team—Jamie, Dapinder, Liz, here’s looking at you—for taking such good care of me this weekend and doing all the heavy lifting.

I was literally the “sit here and watch the stuff while your team members carry heavy furniture and boxes, and then feed you” girl this weekend.

Post conference, things have been a little… funky. Recovering from the conference has taken a slightly different road than usual, and not just because I’m knocked up. (tl;dr: less sleeping, more eating than usual).

ANYWAY. I’ll be back with more about all that once I have a chance to process and articulate my thoughts.  Here’s what’s happening in pregnancy land.

All the eating.

I am hungry every couple of hours. Debilitatingly hungry. Panicky, can’t think straight hungry. So I’m eating 5-6 meals every day. And it’s pretty fun.

Now, before you get all up in arms about how I shouldn’t really be eating for two, here’s what my midwife told me, and I quote:

Don’t worry about calories or weight gain. Just eat when you’re hungry, and eat smaller meals often, so your blood sugar stays more consistent.

Possibly the best thing a care provider—or any human, for that matter—has ever said to me.

Cravings

second trimester food cravings

I’m all about the hard boiled eggs, the avocado, the yogurt, and the breakfast burrito these days. Siggi’s yogurt, specifically. High fat proteins are where it’s at.

second trimester food cravings

I also had this weird holdover craving from first trimester: Mongolian barbecue. Greasy pan-asian noodles just sounded so.darn.good, but I couldn’t find any close to me in Austin, so as soon as I arrived at my parents’ house, I recruited a willing lunch companion: my dad.

second trimester pregnancy cravings

I suspected that Mongolian Barbecue was not going to be as delicious as I remembered (I think the last time I had it was in high school?!) but rest assured, it was just as salty and greasy and carb-y and perfect as I had hoped. It didn’t even matter that I’m not nauseous anymore; it just tasted good.

Symptoms

Mostly feeling good! I’ve had a few nauseous moments but nothing to write home about. I get out of breath at embarrassing moments, like walking up the stairs or hustling between sessions at the conference last weekend.

second trimester symptoms
This is obviously not me. When I started feeling lightheaded during conference workouts, I took pictures of other, more awesome people. Pictured: @PowerCakes & @HipHealthyChick, rocking those plank jacks.

 

I also find that my energy gets zapped more quickly, especially in group settings. I’m an introvert by nature and my people-time energy seems to have lost some of its staying power.

The biggest symptom I’ve noticed (besides the uncomfortable pressure along my waistband) are MSG headaches. I’ve never had an issue with MSG; quite the opposite, really. I love nacho cheese doritos and basically anything doused in the salty good stuff. I even own a shaker of MSG, which my husband and I used to put on mac’n’cheese and other yummy things that of course we would never eat because I’m in the fitness industry. 

Unfortunately, my love affair with the much maligned additive seems to be over. I had some less-than-amazing takeout a few weeks ago (see: greasy noodle cravings) and had a crushing headache for the next two days. That delicious bowl of noodles I slurped down unfortunately seemed to incite the same pressure in my temple… so I’m going to try to stay away from MSG (sob) and see if the headaches do, too.

All the judgments

So, now that you’re judging me for devouring that Mongolian barbecue and confessing my love of MSG, let me share the first moment of actual judgment I’ve experienced since becoming a vessel for another life.

I made some offhand comment to an acquaintance about how I was eating fairly healthy now, but I ate only potato chips in my first trimester because I couldn’t keep anything else down. (Which, as you know, is partly true and also partly not true; I also ate a lot of bagels).

The look on her face was the most judgey, withering scorn I have seen in a long time.

It was irritating, to say the least, but I also felt completely at ease walking away from that conversation and not letting her reaction bother me. I own the fact that my first trimester was all about getting through it, any way I could.

Go away, judgers. Ain’t no room for you here.

I’m back, b*tches!

I’m officially on day 2 of my second trimester and wowee! I love second trimester energy so far. I still have random bouts of nausea, mostly at night, but overall, I almost feel like myself again. Never again will I take normal life, energy levels, appetite, or activities for granted.

shredded paper chain
Paper chain: ELIMINATED.

 

Lots of big news around these parts:

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I’m eating vegetables. Like, so many vegetables. And fruits. And eggs. And sweets. And basically anything with flavor. There’s a whole new world to explore.

kosmic kombucha

  • I got the green light to drink kombucha. My midwife said all the live cultures are great for me, and the tiny bit of alcohol wasn’t a concern. Her words were, “If you start feeling drunk, stop drinking it. Otherwise you should be fine.”
  • Speaking of… after dating interviewing lots of care providers, from OBs to nurse midwives at birthing centers to the hippiest of the hippie midwives, I’ve made my decision. More on why I’m going with midwives, coming soon.

sweat pink gaiam

  • I went to yoga this morning. My couch potato streak is over. Good riddance. I’m not fully up to speed with exercise—yoga this morning was a relatively low-intensity, not too challenging class, but still rather humbling. Even so, just being there and making it through the hour made me feel like a champion. Also, endorphins. How I’ve missed you, my pretties.

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I may have done the impossible and overdosed on my favorite food. I ate so much string cheese, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandos during first trimester that I’m kind of over cheese right now. Not so much that it makes me sick to think about or eat, but I am tired of it. I’m not choosing it.

 

  • My jeans feel really uncomfortable. I can mostly hide this bump situation—right now it just looks like I have a beer gut or ate too much queso—but ick, buttoning my jeans feels awful, as does zipping up several of my skirts. As I discovered this morning trying to get dressed for yoga, the same is true for most of my yoga pants/ athletic wear. This is the downside to having been at a more or less consistent weight for the last seven years: I don’t really have any fat clothes to rely on. The wardrobe options are getting more and more scarce. Time to go shopping, obviously. 

 

Now that I have all this energy, I have a few missions I’ve set for myself. First and foremost, get back into regular exercising. It couldn’t be more perfect timing that the #LJInspired challenge starts on Monday: I’m thinking of that challenge as the perfect opportunity to get my butt back into gear, and have some built-in accountability and motivation.

I’m planning to take full advantage of BlogFest next week, namely, some of the sponsors that will be there. One of my favorite yogurt brands, Siggi’s, is bringing us some super delicious yogurt snacks (!!) and I am so, so happy that I’ll actually be able to enjoy all that yogurt goodness.

blogfest sweat pink
I’m also putting together some final thoughts on survival skills for the first trimester (coming soon). Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. If nothing else, I still have some venting to do, and y’all know how I love to vent.

 

Happy Friday, everyone!