Never have I struggled with this concept more than I have these past 5 months. It was early September when I found out I was pregnant and to say it was unexpected would be the understatement of the century. Did I ever tell you I’m not big on surprises?
The first few weeks were the toughest and I cried, a lot. I felt very guilty for all of the negative feelings I was having. I mean, I should have been excited and joyful, like my husband. Thousands of women would give almost anything for the privilege of growing another human being. But, I wasn’t. I was absolutely terrified.
One of the things I like best about myself, one of the attributes I use to define me, is that I am a competitive CrossFitter. As that person I was happier, healthier, and more fit that I ever had been. Training intensely 5-6 days a week, sometimes with double sessions, was just part of my normal routine. I took a lot of pride in being able to do what I could do and I was more comfortable in my own skin than I ever had been. But, I couldn’t be that person and pregnant at the same time. So, who was I?
In those early weeks when visible changes had not yet begun to happen it was easy to keep my perception of myself. I didn’t look any different and I could still keep doing what I’d always done. Until one day I couldn’t. I remember trying to move a weight that earlier that same year would have been a piece of cake. Instead it felt like a million pounds and I was forced to confront the reality that my body was indeed changing.
More often than not I am finding it hard just to keep up with the regular programming and make it to class 3-4x per week. Week by week, the list of things I would have done with ease a few weeks ago and now know I will struggle just to get through gets longer and longer. This time of year is also Team training season and, for three consecutive years, since I began CrossFit, I have been a part of my gym’s competitive Regionals team. This year I can not be a part of my team, or participate in training, and I desperately miss being a part of it all.
My perception is, because I can not do what I used to do, I have lost what makes me – me. The reality, that part is just on hold. But, what drove me be strong and compete is still – and will always be – a part of me. Every day is not going to be a good training day. I may not use same weights or be able to do the same movements, but every day I am able train I make myself, and this tiny human, stronger. The goal has shifted from increasing strength to be a better competitor, to maintaining my strength in an effort to facilitate a healthy pregnancy, to ease labor and delivery, and to facilitate a healthy recovery.
I have good days and bad days. On good days I am able to appreciate and find joy in the changes I am experienceing. I can look forward to the future, and feel confident in who I am. On bad days think only of the negative and what I can no longer do. It is on those days that I am most grateful to have a husband, friends, coaches, and a community that help bring me out of my perceptions and back into reality – the reality that this is a precious experience…one that deserves to be savored , enjoyed, and appreciated because it will all be over before I know it.