Last week I wrote a post about how I happened to get where I am now, but I haven’t really gone deep into what Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism (PPA) means to me and how finding this changed my life. This idea would not even be around if it were not for Brianna Battles (check her out if you haven’t yet as well as PPA on Instagram!) and if it were not for her, I would be in a very different place in life.
I have been a CrossFit coach since 2012 (I think? haha the years go by!), and for a few of those years, I was coaching full time with all different types of athletes. During that stretch of full-time coaching, I found out I was pregnant. I thought I knew what I was doing. I mean I’m a coach after all! But, by my second trimester, I just started to feel lost. My Dr. said I could keep doing everything I had been doing before and to listen to my body, but what does that really mean? I learned that I had no idea what my body was trying to tell me. I didn’t know what to listen for… I was listening to my ego.
My body was changing so quickly. Lifts and movements felt different than before but was that bad? Was it normal for being pregnant? Was I supposed to be doing this movement even though it feels funny? I remember just feeling overwhelmed and lost and like I had no idea. I also felt so alone. I never told anyone this at the time.
As a coach AND as an athlete, I felt like I needed to keep up and prove myself. I felt like I had to keep up as one of the “fittest” women in the gym. I felt like I had to live up to what other pregnant women had done before me, setting PRs and pushing through. I felt like I should be like the Instagram fit pregnant women lifting and doing all the things #noexcuses. But in reality? I was TIRED. My whole pregnancy I was completely and utterly exhausted, just depleted. Some days I had to literally talk myself into walking to the car never mind hitting a PR. Was anyone actually watching me work out or caring what I was doing? Probably not. I am only telling you how I personally felt at that time. It felt like a lot of pressure to keep up.
After I had Jameson (via c-section), I went to my 6 week check up and was told I can go back to CrossFit and to doing everything! I was so excited that I literally left that appointment, went straight to the gym and did a full-blown workout. I continued to do that about 4-5 days a week including a stroller class with a lot of running and core work. I noticed my core felt weak, actually more like it didn’t work at all, but kept telling myself “Well I had a baby, maybe it takes a while to turn on or maybe I need to work them harder”. Wrong. I would get so incredibly sore down the middle of my abdomen it was unbelievable. Again, I thought, well if my abs are weak of course they are going to be sore.
Enter Brianna Battles and the PPA Coaches Course at about 1 year postpartum. There were a few courses I was looking at but this one really spoke to me. Brianna is a CrossFitter herself and I connected with her message. It was life changing to say the least. I learned there’s nothing “wrong” with me. I was empowered to take charge of my own health and postpartum recovery. I learned there’s a such thing as a pelvic floor physical therapist and sought one out to start my process of recovery. I learned more than I could ever include in one blog post.
If I am being honest, I took the course mostly for myself. I was just hoping to figure out what was “wrong” with me. That would soon change and I would feel the need to share this message with others who may need to hear it.
So, my incredibly long story to bring you to this point. What does PPA mean to me?
- It means lifting and bringing women UP, not pushing them down.
- It means nourishing the vulnerable, not preying and taking advantage of them – something that, especially lately, is sadly proving to be all too common in the fitness/nutrition/wellness industry.
- It means empowerment, freedom, confidence, courage, clarity and more.
- It means finding the strategy that works for each individual because we are all different.
- It means relying on evidence and no empty promises. It means telling women the truth, based on science.
- It means giving hope that just because you are (pregnant, postpartum, insert your own word here) or have (incontinence, diastasis recti, prolapse, insert your own word here) does not automatically mean you can’t do the exercise or movement of your choice.
- It means learning strategies and building a strong foundation to get you back to what you love.
- It means learning that it’s not about WHAT you’re doing, but HOW you’re doing it.
- It means becoming your own advocate and learning more about yourself and your body while having someone there with you along the way.
- I went from feeling lost, overwhelmed, alone, confused and broken to hopeful, empowered, and confident because of Brianna Battles and her movement.
- It means doing my best to give this to other women out there who I know need it.
This is what Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism means to me ❤
If you are feeling how I felt, if you are feeling alone in this, please know that you aren’t. Reach out. I am here to listen. You can reach me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to do my best for you.
I am available to work with you in person in Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts, and also can work with you remotely online. For more information about me and how I can help you through this chapter, please schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation here, contact me directly at kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition or visit Grace Fitness and Nutrition.]]
Next week I begin my CrossFit Open series which will include a breakdown of the workout each week and a movement strategy playbook for my pregnant and postpartum athletes out there. Stay tuned!
Stay strong, stay beautiful!