Pregnant Yogi: The Third Trimester
The hallowed third trimester of pregnancy. Aka the home stretch! And the one that feels the longest… at least those interminable last week or three.
And it had been a very enjoyable journey truth be told. You hear about pregnancy suiting some people and I was one of those. Though my third trimester did still have some fun in store for me…
It’s a truism to say that you spend a lot of your first pregnancy constantly remarking how big you already are and wondering how it is at all possible you will get any bigger. And I was no exception!
After the bumped popped around 20 weeks, I really enjoyed being noticeably pregnant and the fringe benefits that go along with it in normal life. A seat on the tube, somewhere comfy to rest my hands in meetings, and just the constant soothing reminder that everything is well and progressing. That latter benefit was strengthened by the Radical getting stronger and stronger (as well as bigger and bigger) and getting to feel him kick, roll, hiccup and generally potter through his day. It was just magical.
This was the sweet spot of pregnancy when it comes to peace of mind, for me at least. Where you have taken all the tests and crossed off the weekly milestones and know that your baby could survive outside of you. But you still get to be with them all day every day, feeling them move and knowing they are ok, all while living your life in pretty much the same way as before.
And I say pretty much because…
All About Self-Practice
There are of course some significant alterations to your daily life. For me, work and home life looked remarkably unchanged, just with a lot more naps thrown in. But my time and what I was doing on my yoga mat became more and more limited.
My energy was low – exacerbated by the hottest summer London has seen in living memory. My ability to do poses that were once staples – chaturanga, deep backbends, most arm-balances, deep hip-openers – diminished by the day. And truth be told, my desire to prioritize my physical practice above all else reduced as well.
It’s hard for me to unpick whether this was a result of the fact that practicing was frankly less interesting for me that when I could do more, or whether this was something else kicking in. A like to think there was a smidgen of the ‘something else’, especially as more of the time I would spend on my mat would just be sitting in stillness, focusing in on my breath and what was to come. But still, I would be lying I think if I told you it didn’t bother me that I couldn’t do all the fun stuff I used to do.
Still, I was, I AM, incredibly grateful that it felt good for me to maintain some sort of practice right up until the end of my pregnancy. I was headstanding at 40 weeks pregnant (which I wouldn’t recommend for most people, but felt totally right for me), and slowly flowing through standing postures until a couple of days before I gave birth. All of which you can see across on my Instagram – these are a few of my favourite flows from those last few days: here, here and here.
Nesting (and Writing!)
In the final few weeks, I was getting on my mat around 3 times a week, for anything between 10 and 30 minutes a time. Which when compared to the 6-10 hours a week I was doing pre-pregnancy, both felt like a giant reduction and gave me quite a lot of extra time on my hands. Especially in a world where I was obviously no longer going out drinking. The lack of hangovers and the corollary positive impact on productivity, even accounting for all the side-effects of pregnancy is one of the lessons that will stay with me well beyond this whole experience!
Which left plenty of hours in the week for nesting!
Which included all the traditional stuff: shopping for the baby, preparing his room, finishing off all those odd jobs around the house that never quite reach the top of the priority list, cleaning things that I never even noticed were dirty before, practicing our hypnobirthing techniques.
And some not so obvious ones, like writing and releasing 3 eBooks! (Which you can check out here.)
The plan to do all of this was one that had snuck up on me as my pregnancy progressed, rather than one that I more explicitly hatched. By which I mean it does kind of seem totally ludicrous to try and do this while 9 months pregnant and doing a maternity leave handover for a job no-one has ever handed over before, but at the same time there is nothing like giving a task to a busy person to get something done is there?!
So anyway, I nested, I sat on my sofa and wrote and edited and wrote some more. And my three little pre-Radical babies were born just 3 weeks before the real Radical was to make his (late) appearance.
Summer 2018 might just have been the most productive summer of my life.
And Lastly, the Waiting…
I finished work at 38.5 weeks pregnant (i.e. a week and a half before my due date), expecting to have a little time for some more yoga, nesting, catching up with friends and family, and napping. Lots and lots of napping.
All of which I did.
Again and again and again.
To be truthful, even waiting for my due date was hard enough, forget about the week that came afterwards. 9 months simultaneously feels like an incredibly long and staggeringly short time when you are going through it, but those last few weeks don’t half drag. I had hoped my yoga practice would help me stay super zen about the waiting, and the waiting, and the waiting. And it did. But only up until my due date. Then the alpha, scheduler, get-things-done version of me won the battle and I must say that I got more and more impatient!
But the wait did eventually come to an end, at 41 weeks.
Which is a story for another day…