Working out, pregnant, with a toddler (by Hillary Jones)

Hillary is a friend of mine who does an outstanding job being a fit parent to a toddler. She is also currently pregnant. Enjoy!

Prior to having my daughter I didn’t necessarily work out a lot, but a few times a week was typical. I always played sports throughout high school and college, and with sports comes conditioning and weight practices as well. I never had to designate a time to work out before, it was designated for me.

Flash forward a few years and here I am with a two year old little girl and now pregnant with our second daughter. I had worked out with Amanda last summer prior to getting pregnant because while I had lost the baby weight, I did not get my tone back. My entire focus was on my daughter and making sure she was satisfied. I hadn’t even realized how off track my lifestyle had gotten. Gone were the typical healthy foods and daily exercise and in were junk food and couch lounging! Who did I become?! Thankfully, Amanda helped to point out these things that I should change and next thing I know I’m smiling as I’m burning a minimum of 600 calories in an hour! SMILING! I had “me” back.

After completing our sessions and I had to designate time for myself on my own again, I was confident I could do it. EPIC FAIL. I couldn’t do it. Scratch that. I DIDN’T do it. I mean, I would write on my little calendar that at such and such time I would either workout at home, go for a run or hit the gym BUT 99% of the time something else came up that was “more important.” I am very good at self-sabotage and I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

I feel incredibly guilty when I leave my daughter with Colin when he gets home so I can go to the gym. No one makes me feel this way but myself. My husband encourages me and is a constant support. I am the only one standing in my way and yet I do it all the time. I work part time a few nights a week so I feel that the one or two nights that we have as a family I should be there for in their entirety. But, I will always find something else as an excuse. Dinner needs to be made, the laundry needs finished, homework needs to be done (I’m also in grad school), etc. etc. Then it hit me: Why is anything more important than my own health? I CANNOT be a good wife and mother if I myself am not happy and content.

So, I include my daughter on walks, which she loves anyway. I just put her in the stroller to keep a good pace. We walk at least thirty minutes a day to the university from our house to meet with Colin for lunch. That isn’t a lot, but it is so much better than nothing. Gone are the junk foods- tough when you have that massive pregnancy craving! Another way to get some exercise in, I have two really great prenatal DVD’s that are an hour long. Both leave me sweating and breathing hard but finish off with great prenatal stretching and relaxation techniques. I will usually squeeze these in during nap time, though sometimes Maylene likes to workout with me and while she is a distraction and sometimes throws me off, we have a lot of fun. I do still try to get out on my own for exercise, but most of the time that guilt still creeps up on me. While I’m working on that, it isn’t gone entirely so I do what I can while I get over it: Include my family or get a good burn at home. No one is missing me and we can do something together as a family.

I’m 6 months pregnant and just now getting my energy back and losing the morning sickness. I was plagued with them both far longer than I ever expected. Now, I relish every day that I have that energy back- I probably would have gotten it back sooner had I made myself workout too! It is so hard to balance the many hats we hold as moms, but one we HAVE to balance is our health. I know I feel like a new person after working out. How many pregnant women can think beyond feeling like a beached whale half the time? Exercise regulates my emotions (out of control this pregnancy!), reduces the constant aches and pains of a growing baby in my body, keeps swelling out of my legs and feet and just makes me FEEL GOOD. I gives me my confidence back and, dare I say it, actually makes me feel even a little bit sexy despite the giant belly. The point is to find what holds you back and bash through that brick wall. Everyone has different priorities and sometimes it is very hard to fit in that time to exercise, but it is so important for all aspects of our lives as moms, soon to be moms, wives, that we take care of ourselves and get over the petty excuses holding us back. I promise, despite any reservations you may have you WILL feel better after working out and be so thankful you did.

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