It's been a while since I've posted about my BJJ training, and with good reason. Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I hadn't been training much.
It wasn't motivation that was lacking, but my hormones getting in the way. For those who have never been preggers before and all the guys and gals who don't know (I didn't know either not too long ago!), the 3 first months of pregnancy are the absolute worst to deal with for a woman. These are very ungrateful months, because you're not showing physically (no belly!), but inside of your body the hormones are wracking havoc.
My initial frustrations and limitations
You have zero energy in the first trimester, because your body is burning it all to create the embryo and later on the fetus. I remember that only going on a walk with my dog or walking up the stairs required me to pause afterwards and catch my breath as if I had just ran a marathon. You also feel like you need to sleep 12 hours per night, and in addition take naps during the day. I had never felt so tired in my entire life. This of course frustrated me big time, because I felt pressured to train.
I thought, you have to train as much as possible before you can't do it anymore, and before that belly grows, but nature just wouldn't cooperate. I dragged myself to one BJJ class shortly before leaving to Poland, and I nearly fainted during the warmup. During open mat my training partners would comment on my bad cardio and tell me things like come on! because I was being extremely slow.
Needless to say, my morale was down the drain. I felt absolutely horrible in my own skin, inside out. I looked like a zombie, and acted like one.
Back then of course I couldn't tell anyone that I was pregnant, because...well that's what you're told to do. Don't tell anyone before month number 3 due to the risk of miscarriage is the general rule. It was hard to keep the secret, especially because of training. I'm sure everyone thought that I was the biggest slacker on our tatami...
Once I got back from Steemfest, I announced the news at my gym. Not only because I hate keeping secrets and wanted to restore my reputation, but also because I felt that they needed to know for my own safety.
A purple belt at my gym likes to explain techniques to others in my class using me as a dummy, and the last time he was pretty rough of my midsection. I felt I had to tell them so they avoid doing things that could hurt the growing BJJ CHAMP inside of me. Also, my partners needed to start being more careful with me during sparring. Things to avoid are (obviously) positions like knee on belly as well as take-downs.
I know what you're going to tell me, but don't worry, I've done my research before continuing my training.
It's perfectly OK to do BJJ while pregnant, as long as I don't over-do it and am smart about it. I do the warm ups, but I avoid things that make me uncomfortable (like sprawling), I can do most drills, and I also do the techniques.
I even do light sparring with a very select group of partners. I only roll with my husband because he has as much at stake as I do, and with our BJJ professor. I avoid rolling with everyone else, as most of them are blue belts and are not yet 100% in control of the strength they use and their movements. I don't want to get smashed by mistake...
At least my energy is back, but the fun won't last...
So I've just embarked on my second trimester of pregnancy (14 weeks to be exact), and I feel like my old self again. Except for that belly that starts swelling up and getting in the way of a few things already. Some pants won't close anymore, and I had to buy my first pregnancy jeans. You know, the ugly ones with the elastic...but boy does it feel good to wear them!
It's quite funny to see people staring at me in the street. I'm showing a little but not too much, so it's not exactly obvious that I'm preggo. I like to say that I look like I had a really big lunch. People wonder, is she getting fat, or is she pregnant? They don't dare asking, because it may just be the latter. Someone commented to a friend the other day that I started looking a little "gordita" (fat) when they spotted me in the supermarket. I'm quite enjoying people's confusion, so I'm not doing anything to clear the doubts.
Also, my kimono is starting to look weird on me because the belt closes right around the biggest part of my belly. I may need to borrow @el-cr's old blue belt soon since mine is getting too small...
Rolling will soon be an issue, and I will have to limit myself to warm-ups and technique. But I have to tell myself that it's only temporary. It's hard for my training partners to avoid using pressure and knee on belly. It pretty much limits their game and isn't a fair fight for them, but at least it allows me to have some fun and get moving. Who knows how long I will still be able to do it...
I'm a little more at peace now with my situation, and I know that time will pass by fast. In a way I don't want it to pass fast, because I will be struggling with other issues like lack of sleep once the baby is born. But the fun part will be to get back in shape and start training hard again, so I'll focus on the positive instead.
Stay tuned for some workouts I'll share that are great for anyone who is, and isn't pregnant!