So, you’ve finally found this passion, this hobby that you’ve been looking for your whole life. You are moving your body, part of a fun supportive community, and are reaching goals you never dreamed your body would be able to achieve. You’ve found pole dancing. You look forward to pole class, to nailing that new trick, to laughing and having fun with your friends, and you are inspired! And now by chance or by planning, you are pregnant. What does it mean? Will you have to hang up your heels? Take your home pole down? Will you ever get to see your pole buddies again?
For so many newly pregnant polers these are the questions they are faced with. The answer is...yes, your life will change while you’re pregnant and again after baby comes. But how will it change? There is no easy answer to that. Many polers with healthy pregnancies and their doctors approval are given the green light to continue attending classes and pole dancing as long as they listen to their bodies. Many other polers have special circumstances in their pregnancies and are forced to limit their exercise for their own health and baby’s health. Everyone is different. The thing to understand is that no matter what category you fall into. It’s gonna be okay. And by saying that, I want to be sure to be clear that it can also be very very difficult to adjust to change.
Riding on your emotions
One of the most difficult things about navigating the emotional side of this is that we are creatures of comparison. Comparing your pregnancy experience to others will rob you of your joy and get in the way of you breathing deeply into your current experience. Regardless of what your personal pregnancy circumstances are, you are not alone. There have been many women before you that have had to deal with something similar or are having a similar experience to you right now.
Even if you are one of those women who has the green light to continue your pole training through your pregnancy and you choose to do so, you will quickly understand that you are dealing with a completely unrecognizable body. With all the drastic body changes, frankly, the miracles that nature coordinates for you to grow a child inside you can end up feeling well, just foreign! Just when you are getting used to the initial hormones and body changes in the first few weeks, you will then be thrown another curve ball. Whether it be the dreaded morning sickness (more like all day sickness), or new aches and pains and loss of energy. I had grand plans to continue my pole training through my pregnancy and I had to quickly re-evaluate due to being too sick to function through the first trimester and into my second. As I emerged from the haze of sickness 8 weeks later, I was able to get back on the pole, albeit very gently. My body had already changed significantly and the hormone called relaxin now in my system was making it very difficult to do a lot of my pole tricks safely, especially those in which I was using my flexibility. My midwives told me I had an impressive case of pubic symphysis, a separation of the pubic joint due to the relaxin. It’s important to slow down enough to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. It was very obvious to me very quickly that it wasn’t going to be safe to ignore the changes in my body and expect it to function on the pole for me the way that I was used to.
It is a unique experience for all, and that is part of the gift. If I was to compare myself with some of my pole buds who seemed to breeze through their first trimester un-affected by morning sickness or the dramatic loosening of ligaments due to the relaxin, then I would have driven myself crazy wondering what was wrong with me, thinking I was broken. And often days I did. I got a swift and harsh lesson in speaking to myself with the kindness I easily accessed when it applied to others, but was unable to access when I spoke to myself. The huge takeaway was self-kindness, and I definitely resisted it kicking and screaming. It was an even bigger mountain to climb after two previous pregnancy losses and the grief and loss of confidence that comes with that experience. If I had advice for mamas going through any number of hardships related to pregnancy, including infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, difficult pregnancy, high risk pregnancy, etc… I would say: Learn kindness and patience. Not with the world...with yourself. It is the best gift you could ever arm yourself with. Learn compassion for yourself, and surround yourself with those who treat you with compassion and understanding...
To be continued...