We’re thrilled to introduce a new presence on our site… Natalie Magee. Not only will she be blogging for us about her life as a flight attendant, mom-to-be, and fitness instructor, yoga, spin, cross fit, but she’ll also be one of our fitness contributors. Natalie is pregnant with her first child, and she is creating for Happiness Series a preganancy & post-pregnancy workout series. We’ll be premiering her first episode next week. Meanwhile, here’s her first blog for us about the metamorphosis that is pregnancy. Enjoy!
I had another midwife appointment today and with it brought up something I felt was blog-worthy. It pertains to the things I have thus enjoyed about this journey and the things I have not enjoyed. I am nothing if not honest so I’m putting it out there how I feel… starting with what I have enjoyed the least about being pregnant….
Gaining weight – Here is what I know: Yes, I’ll lose the weight after, yes, it’s natural to gain weight, yes, all that matters is a healthy baby, yes, I know I’m in good shape, yes, I’m young enough to bounce back….YES. Okay, I know all this. And I’m telling you it doesn’t make it a damn bit easier to like the weight gain. It doesn’t. I’m sorry I cannot be happy or excited to see the scale climb in numbers. I have worked very hard to get my body to where it was before I was pregnant. I’m talking hours in the gym. Sweat in my eyes. Muscles so sore I could hardly bend down to tie my shoes. Aches which no amount of hot baths or icy hot could take away. Throughout my life I have gone in and out of spurts in working out, and it wasn’t until my wedding that I had motivation to really get in shape. That’s the thing, as women we are conditioned to “slim down” or “get in shape” for events. Childbirth is the only big event in a women’s life where she is expected to do the opposite. I can’t just undo years of seeing a scale and a number and mentally thinking it’s bad or good. Being pregnant already comes with certain sacrifices, but this is my body and for all my life it’s been mine. I’ve struggled with it, I’ve worked it, I’ve hated it and I’ve loved it, and now it’s not mine. I have no control whatsoever. Imagine working out every single day and seeing the scale go up not down. I know it will pass, I know it will change and then change again and then again as I go through life. But I can’t help but grieve for something I worked so hard for that is now no longer what I want it to be.
And that’s my right.
But here is what I enjoy, feeling something move inside of me. I always thought I would be freaked out by something living inside me but if I can’t have my abs it’s a pretty good replacement. It’s more active when I am at rest so you can imagine that I don’t get to feel it all day as of yet. But at night I can feel it move and roll around and it’s a pretty special moment of bonding. I have no idea what it’s doing of course, maybe practicing yoga or drinking amniotic fluid and having a party. The feeling is as strange as it is wonderful and it reminds me that my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing and it does have a purpose. I may have had to work hard to learn yoga, to do pull-ups correctly, to train my body how to hike 14ers or water ski but this my body did all on it’s own. I didn’t have to put any blood, sweat or tears into this new adventure my body is undertaking and perhaps that’s why I have yet to understand how my body knows better for me than what I know for it.
And as I sit at the halfway point I can’t help but also be joyful for all the support I’ve received and the world of becoming something new. I ran into an acquaintance of mine today who has two kids and although we’ve talked before at the gym here and there I know that now we have much more in common. By the end of our conversation she was giving me names of mothering centers to connect with other women and offering to give me clothing depending on the gender of the baby. I feel I am in the process of reinventing myself and along with it comes not only new goals and responsibilities but new friendships. Rather than feel alienated I feel empowered. Women tell me their birth stories who never would have shared that information before (and I wouldn’t have thought to care). Of course some of the advice I take with a grain of salt but I appreciate it nonetheless. I feel I have more support on this journey than I did when I got married. I actually enjoy shopping for baby showers and going in to baby stores. To research and expand my knowledge of birthing, procedures, diapering, feeding; this is a whole new level of life I am experiencing.
I know the good outweighs (pun intended) the bad in what I have loved about pregnancy and what I have hated. But when you live with your self for so long and then you see that self change into something you don’t recognize…that can be scary. It can be intimidating. Gaining weight isn’t just about the numbers on a scale. It’s a reminder that every day I am one step closer to a life that I never dreamed about. Every pound is an adventure into the unknown and the uncertainty. It’s a reminder of how I’m stepping away from my old life, the Natalie I once knew and beginning a metamorphosis into someone completely transformed.
I’m sure the caterpillar is scared too when it begins it’s journey…even though it has no idea just how lovely it’s about to become…
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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.