When I got pregnant, I remember saying to my husband that my goal was to go into labor while I was lifting weights at the gym.
Just typing that now makes me laugh out loud. As a fitness professional, I had the fantasy of being a super bionic pregnant woman who was on-the-go and the strongest I’d ever been. Then reality set in and I spent the first 4-months of my pregnancy hovered over a toilet. When I finally emerged out of my much-longer-than-first-trimester and way-more-often-than-morning sickness, I realized the weightlifting classes I took weekly during my pre-pregnancy days were over.
I’d been doing Pilates throughout my early pregnancy (which looked more like trying not to vomit on the reformer) and I was craving to move my body a little more, get my heart rate up in a safe way, and lift some weights. My next surprise in my fit pregnancy journey was that I needed support and guidance. I’ve supported pre/post-natal women for over a decade and thought I’d just be able to guide myself through it all. I quickly realized that more than ever, I needed the focused, informative, and specific-to-the-pregnant-body guidance I had offered to women for so many years. Besides, when I did try to suck it up and return to weightlifting at the gym, my male teacher (who I know meant well but whoa dude!) asked me, “How are your hormones?”
Enter Fit Pregnancy Club…
I showed up to class with Joanie Johnson and she asked how I was feeling, not how my hormones were doing. I was able to share with her that my first 4-months had been really challenging. I was 18-weeks pregnant, still slightly nauseous, but ready to move more. She heard me, sympathized with me, and gave me tips regarding how to make the most of her class. We had the option to use 2lb, 5lb, or 8lb weights. Thankfully Joanie also gave the option to put down the weights all together, which I took her up on multiple times. She cheered me on as I worked SO HARD with my 0lb weights. And she reminded me to breathe and use my pelvic floor + transversus abs. Most importantly, somehow even with the 0lb weights, she reminded me that I was STRONG.
I felt empowered. I felt capable. I felt like I had just come out of the hardest 4-months of my life and while I wouldn’t be going into labor at the gym (oh no, I went into labor while sitting on my couch watching TV), I felt like I was able to honor my body and give it exactly what it needed. I continued with Pilates 1-2x/week and Fit Pregnancy Club classes 1-2x/week.
The two modalities provided me and my body with beautiful, focused core work combined with cardio weight lifting that not only helped me get strong but nourished my soul and I believe prepared me for birth in a way I wouldn’t have been prepared for if I’d never accepted guidance.
And guess what? Around 32 weeks pregnant, you better believe I picked up those 8lb weights!
BIO: Charlotte is a Certified Pilates Instructor and the Founder of Charlotte Blake Pilates, a boutique Pilates studio in Greenwich Village, New York City. She has been working within the perinatal community for over ten years, providing one-on-one support, group programs, workshops, lectures, and distance learning for prenatal and postpartum women. Charlotte empowers women with tools that can be integrated during pregnancy and well beyond childbirth. She focuses on helping women understand what an abdominal diastasis is, how to prevent or heal from diastasis, and how to move and exercise safely from prenatal to postpartum. Charlotte is committed to spreading science-based, not fear-based, information and support that is tailored to each body. She takes the time to get to know each woman and determine what will best serve her and her body, listening attentively even when others haven’t. As a mom herself (to her beautiful son, Bodhi), Charlotte brings a fresh perspective to perinatal Pilates. It is her intention to help women better understand their body so that they can stand firm in their power and embrace the beauty in their life.