Pilates through Pregnancy – Life through my eyes

“Pregnancy is going to alter your thinking forever, it’s going to make you realise how fragile and important life is and why it must be protected at all cost.” – therightmessages.com

Writing this blog was very difficult, I’ve had to open my heart, which is really raw and painful at this very moment. The emotions, the physical pain and most of all the emptiness that I feel… it’s so difficult to deal with, but then I look forward to the healing journey and this is how I’ll find healing the only way I know best. Pilates has many a time, quite literally saved my life.

Seven years ago I fell pregnant with my first baby. A very difficult pregnancy, my body kept failing me (well that’s how I felt). I had an incompetent cervix and had to have stitches put in place to keep my baby inside. I didn’t have Pilates then, but if only I had… My pelvic floor was weak, it could’ve supported my pregnancy better! But it was recommended that I don’t do any form of exercise throughout my pregnancy. Never the less, baby was born early, I ended up with postnatal depression.

But then I found Pilates, I dove into it wholeheartedly and healed not only my body, but my mind as well. I started to realise how powerful this tool is and how much it could have helped. I studied and developed my skill. I understood my body, I became a powerful and stable woman.

Two and a half years later I fell pregnant with my second baby. All the fears came rushing back, the doctor took precaution and put in a cervical stitch at 14 weeks. Again I was told I am not allowed to exercise. This time I knew better, I took my pregnancy and embraced the changes and I didn’t listen.

Being a Pilates instructor it was really also not easy to not move. I mean it’s my job! But I listened to my body, I kept training, my body became stronger. It supported me the way I needed it to. My awareness grew, I could hear and feel my heart beating. This pregnancy was much easier. Six weeks post natal, I slowly started my rehabilitation process after having a second c-section and sterilization surgery.

My body remembered, it’s jumped back stronger, it looked stronger and much more functional. I was in better shape after my second baby. And guess what? I was happy, my psychological and emotional state of mind was amazing.

Three years later, almost to the day. My body spoke to me, very harshly, very demanding! Something was not right, something is very, very wrong!

Somehow, my fallopian tubes mended, I was pregnant! How was this possible? I’m heartbroken because all the research tells me, that this pregnancy will never be viable. I went for my first ultrasound… and there is nothing in my womb! It’s empty! My heart feels shattered. The doctor tells me that there is almost 100% chance this will be an ectopic pregnancy. My baby is stuck in the wrong place!

I knew it! Something was terribly wrong! From my many years of practicing Pilates my body awareness and mindfulness shouted at me, telling me! The doctor told me if I didn’t listen, if I waited, I could have ended up with a ruptured fallopian tube. And this is life threating! Again my life saved, by applying the basic principles of Pilates into to every aspect of my life.

I had to sacrifice my baby to save my own! I am left with a gaping hole in my heart!

My husband and I mourned the hardest goodbye of our lives. But I decided that I will turn to healing the only way I know best! I’ll restore me, through movement. Joseph Pilates said “change happens through movement and movement heals.” I’ve done it before, I will do it again.

I started with a restorative Pilates session (see short video below).

At Novaturient Pilates (definition of novaturient: Desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behaviour or situation) we are about powerful change. Change happens and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not what we wanted. But we take that and we feed it with positive movement, restorative thoughts, mindful healing. I so love this about US! I get to turn to Nix and the studio, my safe space, my haven, a space for healing. I became a client in our own business! I get to practice what we preach every day! And this is how I will heal! I get to talk about it, I get to feel it!

So many woman don’t talk about the loss of a baby during pregnancy. It feels terrible, you feel like your body let you down, or that you weren’t good enough! But you are! You are beautiful, you are good enough! My friends said sent me these beautiful words. An angel wrote in the book of life my baby’s date of birth, then whispered as she closed the book, “too beautiful for earth!”

Here is how Pilates can help you through your pregnancy:

Pilates is a series of functional, low- impact exercises that help to improve over all body awareness, strengthens the core and improves flexibility and functionality of the body. It is safe to do during pregnancy, when there are no serious complications. Always consult you medical practitioner before starting any form of exercise during pregnancy.

Your Pilates regimen should change with your body as your pregnancy progresses. The uterus expands up to 500 times its size during pregnancy and with that you centre of gravity keeps shifting. It is important to listen to your body and to adjust and modify where the need arises.

During the first trimester. Pregnancy is the happiest reason ever for feeling like crap. This is not an easy transition, you will feel bloated and experience exhaustion no one can ever explain. Pilates will help manage the fatigue and increase your energy levels. During this stage you can still do most of the normal movements, but it is also not the time to push yourself!

The second trimester is the happy stage of pregnancy. You start to visibly see the changes in your body. This is also the time to start making modifications to your training as the centre of gravity is shifting. The lumbar curvature becomes more exaggerated, the upper girdle shifts forward and tends to become more rounded. We start to introduce props as lying down flat might compress the aorta and inferior vena cava resulting in dizziness. Movements of the spine are reduced to more neutral type of work and or more functional and limited in range. Emphasis is placed on full strong contraction and full release and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and working the deep abdominals for better support and stability.

During the third trimester, you are allowed to relax and pace yourself during a class. Focussing on the muscles surrounding the hip complex and those of the thighs to assist you during the different birthing positions. Breathing techniques during your movements, are imperative to teach abdominal muscle compression and relaxation. Pilates will improve joint and lower back discomfort aiding in a more comfortable last stretch.

At Novaturient Pilates we strive to accommodate our preggy moms in all their body needs, in the hope of giving them the gift of strength, endurance and healing!

Postnatal recovery is enhanced and through Pilates as it helps to shift the muscles and organs into the right place after giving birth. Not only is it a great way to rehabilitate after giving birth, but also helps to focus the mind and change the way you think and see life. It’s a time to breathe. Breathing laterally helps to stimulate the Vagus nerve of the nervous system. The stimulation happens through the diaphragm movement and “massages” the nerve. This has a calming and relaxing effect on the metal state. A great coping mechanism when things feel a bit overwhelming.

I believe in what I do! I do what I love and I love what I do!

I thank my lucky starts for this amazing, lifesaving and wonderful journey. It’s not easy, but it is worth it!

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There are 5 Comments in this post

  • Thank you Monique for sharing your story. I don’t think you know how much you and Nix helped me through some difficult times and pilates really heals the body and mind!! Lots of love and hugs!!

  • You are amazing and so brave, i too lost a baby and people dont like to talk about it… The hurt is the worst imagineable and doesnt just go away, but starts getting better! Thank you for being so real!!!!

  • Lots of love goes to you!! You now have a very special guardian angel with you!! xxxxxxxxxx

  • So real and beautiful as always xxx

  • Dear Monique, I so admire your bravery in sharing a very emotional and painful experience That this little soul chose you as a mom, then changed its mind. Like your friend said, not quite ready for this world. I am sending you love to the most beautiful, strong, dynamic (mom) and woman.

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