Finding Grace

Finding Grace Pregnancy and Post-Partum Journey with Coach Mere

       I celebrated my 35th birthday August 2020. When I was a young girl, I was convinced that 35 was old! I thought the only heavy things I would lift would be furniture or holiday decorations up and down from the attic. I certainly didn’t think that I would be in any sort of athletic shape. Damn if 35 doesn’t look a hell of a lot different now that I am here.

               I gave birth last October to my 3rd (and likely last) child. Just before I became pregnant, I was prepping for a bikini competition, I was leaner and stronger than ever before. I had watched many amazing athletes around me continue their training while pregnant and kill it from beginning to end. I thought to myself “surely I will be no different”. With the knowledge and guidance of my coaches, my partner and myself, I was determined to continue daily training throughout this pregnancy… But boy was I wrong! From constant nausea to balancing Dr.’s appointments, coaching, mom-ing and (lets be honest) just not wanting to, my training became very inconsistent. Before I knew it, weeks and even months slipped by with little more than 1 or 2 training sessions. I am a coach and have been an athlete for years, I know what it takes to see results. I preach and teach it daily, yet some days I could not seem to apply it to my own life and training. If this pregnancy and post-partum journey have taught me anything, they have taught me to give myself grace.

               Being pregnant, I was in a different chapter, a different season of my life. Without realizing, I had been drowning myself in thoughts of “I’m not good enough” and losing myself in what I thought I was “supposed” to be doing. Realizing this finally gave me some understanding of what I was feeling and helped me make peace with that. I wanted to train like the athlete I was but had to remember that I was carrying another life. Finding grace in this new chapter of life helped me keep my training as consistent as possible and reminded me to listen to my body. And because I am stubborn, I did still hit some heavy yoke walks and log presses with the big boys and crushed some gnarly WOD’s with dope CrossFitters. These more extreme sessions helped remind me of the athlete that I am always training to be.

               Ultimately, I have attributed my smooth delivery and speedy recovery to my training. I found myself back in the gym four weeks post-partum. I was more determined than ever to get my old body back… man was that humbling. Pre-pregnancy I was about 125lbs., able to knock out strict pull ups, easy sit ups, floated tall box jumps and was moving around 200+ lbs. in many of my lifts. Post-partum was a whole different story, once again, I was reminded that I needed to have grace for myself. I needed to remember that consistency is key. Our journey is about the small victories along the way, being better than yesterday, not about the destination or goal.

               I topped out my pregnancy weight around 190 lbs. essentially erasing all the accolades I had worked so hard to achieve. Pull ups were gone, sit ups were nearly impossible, box jumps now scared the shit out of me and I felt like my feet were lead. The icing on the cake was that all my lifts had suffered tremendously as well. I had to swallow my ego and remember where I was in my new story and remember that I was only going to get back what I had lost through consistency.

               What did I do? I showed up every damn day. Some days were missed (I’m no machine) like when I had to comfort my daughter after losing half a permanent tooth in a skateboarding accident. There was getting kids to school and extra curriculars, nursing and dinners to be made, countless diapers to change and sleepless nights, coaching and programming to be done, a house to keep clean and load after load of laundry. Top this all off with a global pandemic and I’m sure it would be enough to coax anyone to throw in the towel. I had to learn balance; it is a bitch to figure out but not impossible. This is when I had to dig deep and remember why I started, remember that my kids learn more from my actions than words. I had to make that hour in the day for myself, both for my physical and mental health.

               Six months post-partum for me is when the world caught fire forcing all of us into our homes. I found myself dragging my tired ass into our hot garage with minimal equipment to put in work. I would regularly spend the whole session fighting the sleep deprived voices in my head telling me to quit. Who was I going to disappoint? No one was there to see me quit. I held onto the thought of my kids, what would I be teaching them if I gave up on my goals just because I was hot or tired.

               Today is less than one month away from my youngest daughter’s first birthday and when I look back on my journey, I am eternally grateful. I am proud I did not quit and thankful for what I have learned along the way. Patience, self-love, and acceptance are among the most important things I learned for myself. I learned that my journey is mine and mine alone, I am responsible for my mentality and perspective, I am responsible for putting in the work. I may not be the most impressive in the room, but I can guarantee that I am not holding anything back. I can assure you that things still scare me but if I fail, I learn, and I try again!

               If you took time out of your day to hear my words, thank you. I challenge you to take a step toward positive change. It doesn’t matter if its stepping into the gym for the first time, adding 5lbs to your next lift, overcoming bad habits, saying something nice to yourself, adding in an extra hour of self-care to your day… whatever it is, DO IT! Choose you. Remember, consistency is key, and the journey is more important than the end or the start. You don’t have to be the best; you just have to be better than you were yesterday. Go ahead, try something new and surprise yourself!