Sonia’s Story, the importance of staying active

The importance of staying active and feeling like goddess!

Up to Christmas last year, I was quite the gym bunny! I’d joined a new gym, closer to home and made it to a class most days. Swam regularly, did a mixture of TRX, Kettlebells, weight classes and my absolute obsession Brooklyn Boxfit! I worked hard so by the time Christmas 2016 came around I had no guilt whatsoever about eating all around me.

The next few months would be busy between work and a bit of travel. We went on a romantic break to Italy in January, in which I ate all the cheese and all the pasta, and drank all the wine. For Easter, we had planned a family trip to Paris in which we ate everything. I was still keeping fit but less focussed on my 2016 routine. The plan was to hit the gym hard when we returned so by the time our next holiday came around in June, I’d be back to full fitness and be able to enjoy all the goodness of Spanish food!

However, my body had different plans. When I discovered that I was pregnant, very early on, I went straight to my GP who advised me to do light exercise, due to my age and early stage. After contacting the gym and mysteriously pausing my membership, I was afraid that I’d get really unfit very quickly, especially since the aforementioned eating!

Like most people, I felt that there was a new word required for the ‘fatigue’ of the first trimester. It was such a struggle to stay awake between 9am and 6pm but bringing our dog, Toby Harris Pope, to the office meant that I was guaranteed a walk at every lunch time, as well as our usual morning constitutional and then a lovely long walk in the evenings. I swear, this kept me sane. As tired as I was, I felt so much better after a walk.

Soon enough June rolled around and we were off on our family holiday. It was divine! I swam every day and did aqua aerobics or ‘splash dance’ as it’s brilliantly called, every morning. Suffice to say splash dance is actually for kids, but I gave it everything and felt great as I slipped into my second trimester.

The joys of camping meant that I could keep up my long daily walks so I kept really active.

As soon as we returned to Ireland I signed up to The Elbow Room. I had been a member a few years previously but had lapsed when my gym and swim obsessions took over. I signed up to pre-natal yoga and Clinical Pilates at around 14 weeks. Since then I’ve gone to two to three yoga classes each week and to the Pilates classes weekly. I’ve kept up my daily walks with Toby too, even though I’ve slowed down quite a bit!

I’ve always been a big fan of Pilates. I like that it’s hard and takes focus and dedication but up until this point I found yoga a bit boring. I loved the various positions but used my time in Savasana to make to do lists in my head and felt the same way as Larry David does about ‘Namaste’.

Imagine my utter surprise when, suddenly, I fell head over heels in love with yoga? Those first ten minutes of breathing, of clearing my mind and connecting with Bump. Just wow. My mind was blown. Let alone Savasana at the end of practice. As we lay on our sides, let our limbs loosen I felt all my stress slip away. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I just listen to my breath but I can really lose myself in relaxation.

But the best part of all are all the goddess poses! As we squatted our way through each practice, I could feel my legs getting stronger. With every downward dog and tree pose, I could feel my entire body strengthen. As we moved through warrior poses I actually started to feel like a warrior. Yes, I’m aware how ridiculous this sounds but I can feel an inner strength surge through my body as I move from pose to pose. At over 36 weeks now, I feel this regularly.

I’ve also managed to bring my new ‘breathing practises’ into everyday life. If I find work stressful at all, I just focus on long, measured breaths and it feels amazing! I can stay calm and energised in situations that would previously have me huffing and puffing.

Like most women I’ve a love/hate relationship with my pelvic floor exercises. I’ve downloaded the Squeezy app and feel that it passive aggressively targets me three times a day with constant reminders. Enough already, I’m squeezing, I’m squeezing. Apparently, this is the most important thing I’ll ever do in my life so, as frustrating as it is, I’m sticking to it!

There are so many obvious benefits to keeping active but for me it’s been about discovering new interests, really enjoying them, making the time for me and Bump and listening to my body. Let’s face it though, who doesn’t want to feel like a goddess?

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Sonia Harris is MD of Harris PR and has been working with Mothercare for over 10 years. She lives in Dublin with her better half, his two little girls and their dog. Sonia is pregnant with her first child and is due Christmas Day. Sure what else would you be doing then?!

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