Did you always want to be a parent? What was the early journey like?
Yes, we always planned to have a baby, but it was more an idea for the future – with no time frame in mind. So, when we fell pregnant, it was a surprise. However, we viewed it as a blessing, since parenthood was a big part of our plans.
That said, nothing had prepared me for the toll pregnancy takes on a mother's body and mind. I spent the bulk of my pregnancy feeling upset. Fear, uncertainty, and nervousness dominated my thoughts. I have always been very active, especially in my career as a personal trainer and baker. It upset me greatly that life as I knew it was due for a big change. Six months into the pregnancy, we were told during a routine scan that Zideon had not grown for four weeks. The solution was to slow down my activities drastically, to direct nutrients and blood flow to the baby.
The sacrifices at this stage felt painful; I was putting my own body and fitness aside, even though I felt just fine. I had to deliver by caesarian, for Zideon's well-being, and again, this was an enormous setback for my body.
Recovery took much longer than hoped or expected, and struggling to even walk was a debilitating feeling.
What changed as you went through the pregnancy?
Today, none of this seems as important as it did then. The big shift came when I gave birth and became a mum. I realised that everything I had focused on, namely myself, was no longer of primary importance. Instead, there was a sudden and very natural shift in priorities. I wish I had known during my pregnancy, how much this baby was going to shift my mindset. I wouldn’t have sweated the small stuff and would have enjoyed my pregnancy more.
Pregnancy was tough on me physically, and therefore emotionally; but I realised that I became stronger as a result. Physically active people will feel similarly devastated, when faced with having to stop, slow down and regress.
Looking back over the past few months, I have worked to rebuild and regain strength, and this has benefited me in terms of confidence, resilience, and self-belief.
Fitness is your passion as well as your career. What helped you rebuild this after pregnancy?
I approached it one day at a time, just juggling motherhood with physical recovery. I broke my goals down into achievable chunks, to give myself something to look forward to. Simple small goals like walking without pain, or sustaining 15 minutes on the treadmill became small victories to look forward to and celebrate.
Interestingly, being a parent put a lot of my urgency into perspective, and helped me pace myself. It was more important to bond with Zideon and take care of him while pushing myself gradually to regain strength. The first 2–3 weeks were frustrating but then I relaxed into the process. I felt immense respect for all the mothers who had done this before me and overcome each of their challenges, and I was secure in the knowledge that my time to rebuild would come.