By now, you've heard about Amber Miller—the woman who gave birth after running the Chicago Marathon this past weekend at 28 weeks pregnant. Being pregnant myself, and being a part of the fitness industry, I've had no less than five thousand people (yes, a slight exaggeration made purely for emphasis) come up to me with an opinion on her historical finish.
"I can't believe her doctor let her do that!"
"That poor baby."
"I could never do it. I wouldn't want to."
"What was she thinking?"
Generally speaking, people think she's crazy—but is she? Is she really crazy?
We look at Amber Miller and we immediately see nothing more than a pregnant woman running in the type of race many of us only dream of finishing. Strike #1: Pregnant woman running. Strike #2: The type of race many of us only dream of finishing. What we don't see is the runner that Amber is, which means we also don't see that she has trained her body (for a number of years) to finish such a race. A race she's finished on multiple occasions, two of which she ran pregnant. No, Amber Miller is not crazy. She's a runner. And a smart one, too. She obviously took into consideration her unborn child. If we look past the headlines, we read that she repeated a pattern of walking two, then running two miles until she crossed the finish line. And she did all of this with her doctor's approval. Clearly, he understood how capable she was. And clearly, the baby is fine.
As women, we should celebrate one of our own accomplishing something so great. And we should remember that pregnancy, while it slows us down, does not banish us to the couch for nine months straight. I swear I feel so great right now because of all the work I do at the gym. Granted, I'm not working as hard as I used to, but I am still able to push accordingly. Yes, I get funny stares when I run the track...but seriously, if you were to see me running, you'd see the look of utter boredom on my face. My body says: "OK, girl...I can't go any faster and I seriously have to pee." My brain says: "Damn, girl...LET'S GO." But I don't go, because I physically can't right now. Just like I don't lift nearly as much as I used to. It's not about being skinny or buff, it's about keeping my body strong for my own health and for the health of my child.
I know my limitations, just like Amber Miller did.
I praise Amber Miller, and I praise all the pregnant women of this world who continue with their workouts. Yes, you can keep working out while you are pregnant. Yes, you have to make sure your pregnancy will allow it (talk to your doctor), but if all is good...squats and lunges and moderate cardio will be, too. Provided you modify as your pregnancy requests.
I spoke with a woman at my gym who happens to be pregnant with her second child. She explained to me that she never worked out with her first, and that her second pregnancy is so different purely because she is working out. She has more energy, she doesn't need as many naps. She's hooked in the best way possible!
Just think about what a little exercise could do for you, all you non-preggos that don't hit the gym! Jump on the motivation train! If we mom-to-be can get our buns (our butts and the little ones inside of us) to the gym, why can't you?
And if you already do get to the gym sans bun-in-the-oven, you rock my world. Thanks for being a part of the fitness brigade. It truly is an awesome brigade to join, am I right?
Question: Did you work out while you were pregnant, why or why not? If you haven't ever been pregnant, what do you think when you see pregnant women working out? What do you think about Amber Miller?