It's hard to believe it's been a year since my second son, Finnegan was born. While I was sick a few weeks ago, I had a chance to take pause, reflect and write some observations. Out poured a ton of thoughts, which I put together in a blog series.
This is the first of three blog where I talk about lessons learned through my second pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I'm sharing these personal stories in the hopes that they will be of service to you if you’re preparing for your first, second, third, fourth+ now or in the future.
It’s possible to feel better in your body with a subsequent pregnancy (even though you’re older!)
I moved my body more and practiced more yoga, in a more intelligent way, in my second pregnancy.
I also taught prenatal yoga group classes several times a week and taught private lessons, so I was demo’ing quite a bit. I walked frequently and did some strength training the first half of pregnancy.
Plus, I had an energetic 2-year old boy at home who kept me moving, lifting, carrying and getting on/off the floor. I’m convinced this is one of the reasons I felt better (along with the fact that I wasn’t drinking milkshakes like I did with my first).
I knew I would require more strength and energy with this pregnancy because my little boy was too young to understand that mommy needs to lay down and watch tv. My first pregnancy, I did A LOT of that.
I was so busy chasing around my 2-year old, that I didn’t have as much time to recline on the couch, which actually negatively affects alignment and baby positioning anyway.
Most importantly, I realized how amazing our bodies truly are! I felt this deep appreciation for the miraculous task that my body was going through as it grew, carried and nourished a tiny human. I spent so much time worrying about my first pregnancy, that I missed the superhero goddess feeling!!
Knowledge is power!
I had an entire arsenal of knowledge of the pregnant body from my prenatal teacher trainings, postnatal trainings, Spinning Babies education and self-studies at my disposal.
With this education, I was able to practice a more intuitive, beneficial and therapeutic form of yoga. Since I recognized the importance of pelvic alignment and stability, mobility and the benefits of strengthening poses along with mindful movement, I was able to bring those elements into my practice instead of trying to adapt my regular post-pregnancy Vinyasa practice.
I strongly recommend educating yourself about pelvic alignment, stability, and learning about a supportive and strength-building movement practice from your trusted educators. A women’s health physiotherapist, prenatal chiropractor, yoga instructor or trainer who specializes in prenatal fitness can be wonderful assets to your pregnancy journey and all should be well-versed in these concepts!
If you have questions or need resources now, please book a free phone consult with me.
I felt more grounded and less anxious
I had so much anxiety with my first pregnancy. I had no clue what I was doing and Googled every twinge and ache. My Hypnobabies tracks helped some, but I did not have a solid, dedicated meditation practice (or even yoga movement practice towards the end) to keep my mind from spinning.
My yoga and meditation practice was a powerful tool I maintained in my second pregnancy and I know it played a role in my emotions. I felt more grounded, less anxiety and was better able to connect with my baby and my pregnant body.
I learned and practiced breathing and meditations that helped me bond with my baby and get better, more restorative sleep. I was also better able to tune into my deep inner wisdom.
I felt better eating a mostly clean, plant-based diet
You might crave burgers, mac & cheese, and ice cream and I'm not here to tell you that is wrong. There's absolutely nothing wrong with eating what you feel like your body wants during pregnancy, but I do recommend you use your best judgment of what moderation looks like (and maybe don't take it as far as I did with my first, haha).
When I was pregnant with my first son, I felt like I was starving ALL THE TIME...like he was sucking up everything I ate. I’m not sure if it was the hormones or just because it was the first time my body had experienced the higher caloric demands of pregnancy but felt so carefree about my weight. It was the first time when I wasn’t trying to get fit, stay fit or prepare for some event. I just did not give a shit. I didn’t calculate or track anything I ate and it felt so FREEING.
I lived in Downtown Chicago right next to a Potbelly. I would visit religiously and get a sandwich, chips and a giant cookie or milkshake. My pregnant friend and I would go to brunch and split 3 meals...it was ridiculous and so fun.
All the crap I was eating definitely took a toll on my energy level though! Some weeknights, I would come home from work (after stopping by Potbelly), take my dog for a walk then go to bed. Towards the end, I stopped going to yoga, strength training and did zero physical activity other than short walks. I pretty much felt like shit for the majority of my third trimester.
Fast forward to Baby #2 and I still ate intuitively, but my intuition was leading me to more plant-based, whole foods. I still wasn’t vegan yet, but I mostly eliminated dairy. I still ate A LOT of coconut ice cream, but I also ate more veggies, fruit, rice, quinoa, healthy fats and beans. I incorporated some of the principles from my Ayurvedic studies, eating foods according to my dosha (more on this in a future blog post). I believe my diet is one of the factors that kept me from feeling so lethargic the second time around.
I learned to lean on other women for support
Teaching Prenatal Yoga while pregnant was so incredibly, deeply special. I love teaching Prenatal all the time, but there was something magical about sharing the gifts of this practice with a group of women going through the same experience. Week after week we showed up and shared our discomforts, our fears and all the other shit that comes up. It was beautiful.
Towards the end of my second pregnancy, I surrounded myself with a team of women to support me. I went to a prenatal massage therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist and I hired a doula to give myself the best chance of a VBAC.
I didn’t do any of these things in my first pregnancy and I felt awful at the end - I was exhausted, I had terrible pubic symphysis pain, agonizing back pain, pain and swelling in my legs and feet...oh, and I couldn’t sleep.
While I didn’t get my desired VBAC with my second (detailed in the next blog), I did have more energy, felt less anxiety, slept better and had fewer aches and pains in my body. I felt more aligned in my pelvis and in my body overall and I believe the nurturing and support from that team of women had an important role to play in that!
Hopefully, you can take something from my experiences. I’d love to hear what came up for you while reading or if you have any thoughts to add! You can leave them below or in the Facebook Group. I’m looking forward to sharing my birth experiences with you in next week’s blog!
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