Once I found out I was pregnant I was initially excited, but then I became a little worried about all of the unknowns. How would I feel over the next nine months as my body radically changed? Will I still be able to work out, or will I have morning sickness every day? Will I have a smooth delivery and postpartum recovery? How am I going to become a mother, when I know nothing about babies? Will I ever have time to get on the water again with a little one?
As it turns out, I got lucky with a healthy pregnancy and plenty of energy. I kept up my paddling, running, swimming, fitness, and even paddle surfing for most of the pregnancy, and cut back on some activities towards the end. I felt great staying fit and active in the ocean. I had a relatively smooth home birth in Ojai over the New Year and Noah was born on January 2nd, 2018. It was strange how even though I was too scared to hold babies prior to having one, being a mother seemed to come innately. I took my time recovering and fell back into my passions easily and did the Malibu Downwinder four months postpartum too!
This was far from my expectations though, considering what I had been through a year prior. I got sick from bacteria after traveling to Mexico and had a complete health crash. I had to change my diet, limit many foods, follow a strict supplement protocol, and cut back on work - which had required a ton of traveling. I wasn’t even well enough to workout consistently, which meant no more paddling, training, sports modeling work, or even teaching at Paddle Into Fitness (my company), since the long days on the water were too taxing. I took about six months of focused recovery time before I finally starting to feel like myself again.
The experience did change my priorities and perspective a lot and allowed me to re-evaluate my life. Even though becoming a mom hadn’t been on my radar because I was going non-stop, I felt like it was now something I was ready for. I had worked so hard on bringing my body as a whole to optimal health , not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. It seemed like the perfect time to dive into this new adventure of motherhood. And if I hadn’t gotten sick, I wouldn’t have ended up in my husband’s functional medicine practice either - and who knows if we would have met otherwise! Sometime life has a funny way of pointing you in the direction in which you are meant to go, even if it seems rough at the time.
It’s not to say motherhood has been easy, as we have been sleep-deprived for 16 months now. Although we sleep more now than the early days - I have to listen to my body and sometimes change a ‘paddle workout’ to a stroll on the beach or ocean dip to not push it after a really tough night. If there is any advice I can give to soon-to-be mom athletes, be kind to yourself and really listen to what your body is asking of you, because some days it’s just not happening and a lot of things are now out of your control! The past year has been super fun watching our little guy love the beach and ocean just as much as we do - and we can’t wait to see him get on his first Paddleboard!
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