(The winner of the giveaway for the AlumierMD face scrub and eye cream via random number generator is Heather! She’s been contacted; thanks to all who entered!)
Mindset. I just can muse about this topic whether it relates to fitness, nutrition, suffering, etc all day long. It’s fascinating to think about how our minds can affect our attitudes and even our physical bodies. I’ve written about mindset a few times over the years (more recently here concerning losing & gaining, on identifying your power word here, and on being confined to other’s perceptions of us here), and I’m back at it today thinking about mindset during pregnancy from a few different angles.
You guys know I’m practicing BirthFit, and one of the pillars they are built on is Mindset. From their perspective, mindset means: “To be present in the moment, open to growth, grateful, and to welcome the Motherhood Transition with an open heart” (source). In broader, non-pregnancy terms, mindset means: “1. an attitude, disposition, or mood. 2. an intention or inclination” (source).
Although we can’t control what happens to us, we can control how we react to our circumstances, and I think birth is the same (from those I’ve heard who’ve gone before!). My goal is to relax my mind and let my body do what it needs to do, and barring any complications, which of course I know are possible, I know that fear and dwelling on anxious thoughts won’t help my body to do it’s thing. So I’m practicing my mindset in daily life to prepare for the event of labor and delivery: I’m breathing deeply, talking to myself, journaling and praying, and listening to my body along the way. This last weekend, on a paddling trip down the Red Deer River, was a great chance to practice cultivating a strong and healthy mindset in the midst of fatigue and a changing body.
Mikey and I have wanted to use our kayaks for a weekend adventure in between his Survive & Thrive trips and finally a date we’d been anticipating on the calendar came to pass over the August Long Weekend here in Alberta. Our friends, Craig and Mandi, met us at our place and we loaded up cars for the weekend trip, putting in near Trochu and took out in Drumheller under beautifully hot sunshine and mainly cloudless skies!
Although I’ve still been working out, lately I’ve been waking up more throughout the night and feeling less rested, so of course there are days some tiredness sets in, but for the most part I’ve been feeling pretty good even know as I’m solidly in the third trimester. But on day 1 of our trip, I was fatigued. Like, closing my eyes while paddling fatigued. Craig and Mandi have more streamlined, fast boats as compared to our inflatables, and with a very low water flow, it meant we were all paddling more than usual, but especially Mikey and I on our boats. Throw in not being able to pull power from my core anymore and I was feeling tired while moving! But it was a shorter day (4 hour paddle) and we made it to the first campsite with enough energy to set up camp just before the rain, eat a good dinner and stay up playing cards. We all slept great that night and had a slow morning the next day, which was great knowing it would be a long day of paddling.
I felt great on day 2! Fueled up with an awesome oatmeal + toppings galore breakfast, I felt strong and paddled well through the slower sections and was helped by good current along the way. We stopped for a lunch break and also a short hike, which was super fun; exploring the badlands of our backyard is a pretty cool way to spend your weekend. The sun was hot and we were loving our river time, and we pushed on until about 6 pm that day, making for a good but long day on the water.
We hit the jackpot with a beautiful campsite and watched multiple beavers, muskrats, birds along the banks while listening to coyotes howling around us. Once we were set up, we finished the day off with homemade chilli from our friends, a campfire on the rocky beach, and more cards.
None of us slept quite as well the second night but woke up early and hit the water by 9:45 am. It was a good thing, too, because it was hot soon and basically like lake paddling – barely any current and long stretches of still water. Every time I stopped to get a drink of water, sunscreen up or put on some chapstick, I would get behind the group, and I’m one of those paddlers/hikers/bikers/etc who likes to be mid-pack. If I’m too far behind I get anxious, which is totally my own doing and something I could work on with my mindset! And even though no one made me feel like I needed to speed up, I was putting pressure on myself to catch the group. My fatigue was real and after a snack I was hit with some heart burn, which I’ve barely had so far in my pregnancy and threw me a little! I could feel my mind starting to lose some power and struggled with the see-saw feelings of not wanting to be treated any differently because I’m pregnant but also having others recognize I was slowing down because I am pregnant! It’s a weird place to be – it’s obvious now that I’m pregnant physically, but finally my body is starting to feel more like what it looks like on the outside. I’m still capable of so much (we all are!) and am grateful to be moving in the gym, camping outside, paddling rivers and enjoying hikes, yet the reality is that I’m slowing down, and accepting that makes for better experiences all over! I was struggling on the paddle out and got a bit emotional at the end of the paddle, which I’m okay with because, hell0 – hormones! – but finally let my body move slower and allowed my mind to accept that I can’t expect myself to keep pace with the body I had several months ago.
And you know what? That’s okay! I’m supposed to slow down! But it’s fascinating to me how our mindset can impact not only our experiences but our bodies as well, and this weekend was a good reminder that I need to stop, breathe, recognize how I’m feeling and accept my changing body because in the end it makes me stronger mentally. I’ve been thinking about any fears I might have around birth, visualizing what could go right and be more ideal (as compared to what could go wrong, because why dwell on that?) and have been listening to uplifting podcasts about mindset around birth. Even in this morning’s workout, tired from the fun weekend as I was, I reminded myself that labor could go on for 24 hours and it’s good to know how to accept where your body is while also pushing through fatigue. I shared about this recently on Instagram when my workout didn’t feel like it clicked in:
Today’s workout was hard. I finally slept well last night and really struggled when my alarm went off – no popping out of bed for me today! Luckily I love my clients and enjoy my work, right? 😉 . . When my only break in the morning came, I heated up mentally for my @birthfit #workout but my body just wasn’t feeling it. I tuned in and listened to my body but kept moving – yesterday was a rest day and the reality is that while sometimes you need to rest and change your plans, often you just need to recognize it as a harder day but push through it! . . I made my way through my warm up and strength work slowly, the used my remaining time before my next client to finish with some sled pulls. It was a grind, but I got through it and felt awesome afterwards. Four more clients later, I’m home with (more!) food in my belly and ready for some relaxing. . . Do you workout Fridays? Sometimes it’s a rest day for me, other times it’s my favorite way to enter the weekend – with a solid workout before more adventures! We always need to listen to our bodies. But some days, that means we’d stay in bed all day! 😴 So push when you feel on the fence, rest when you know your body needs it, and remember that movement almost always helps you feel better. 🤗 . . Happy weekend! . . #birthfit #personaltrainer #thirdtrimester #29weekspregnant #fitpregnancy #fitness #yyc #yycfit #yycfitness #cityfityyc #yycliving #newbalancewomen @newbalancecanada #heartnothype #2XU @2xu @2xu_canada @publicmyth
Pregnancy has been such a great process for my body and my mind, and I’m continuing to dial it in and use my life as experiences and learning lessons as I keep moving towards the finish line of this phase of life. A whole new phase will begin where I know mindset will continue to be important! And as a Christian, I can rest in the fact that God has a plan for this birth and baby and mama, and that the story he will want to be told will be told regardless of my mindset prep or non-prep! This gives me peace, and is a big part of doing what I can to trust Him and prepare for the unknown ahead.
You know what else helps? Encouraging friends and Dairy Queen post-trip:
And although my phone took a dunk in the water and didn’t have the best weekend, I sure did, because I learned a lot, laughed a lot, played “Wizard” a lot, enjoyed good food and good company, got tons of vitamin D, and was able to move and live and breathe and be.
How do you see mindset playing into your daily life? Not just in the gym or in a trying situation but from moment to moment, decision to decision? I’d love to hear from you guys. Let’s keep giving ourselves grace as we actively cultivate healthy, strong mindsets and be here to encourage each other along the way!
Have a great week, you guys! Live well & be well (and don’t forget to think well!),