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During my first pregnancy, I understandably felt quite tired, fatigued and achy some days. The first trimester was the hardest and as a result, I saw a sharp decline in my exercise activity. My two-weekly aerobic dance workouts became far too tiring to maintain, so I instead focused on lots of walking and yoga.
There was a time in my early thyroid disease days, when I was only just diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, that I would push my body to do more than it safely could, exercise wise.
Despite feeling exhausted, achy and light headed, I would force myself to do gym workouts and heavy cardio because I told myself that I was lazy if I did not. As I’ve talked about before in my writing, realising that this was making my thyroid condition worse and adapting to a different type of exercise routine was crucial when recovering from and managing my autoimmune Hypothyroidism.
There were inevitably times in my pregnancy when I couldn’t safely exercise, due to heavy fatigue and other symptoms, but when I skipped the session, those feelings of ‘you’re lazy’ came flooding back.
In fact, on the day I write this blog post, I decided not to attend yoga.
I learnt my lesson last week, when I made myself go, despite feeling less than great. 30-minutes in to the antenatal yoga class, and I was feeling lightheaded and funny. I started seeing spots in my vision and suddenly felt as if I was going to pass out.
I had to embarrassingly run out of the room and go outside, where I took deep belly breaths in the fresh air. It was the first time in my pregnancy that I felt so unwell and I realised that even yoga can be a major workout on the body. Especially a pregnant one with existing health conditions.
So I skipped the class on the following week as I was even more fatigued, achy and brain fogged and knew it wouldn’t be wise to push myself so far past what my body can comfortably do. I know recognise this these days. Ignoring the signs isn’t good, whether you’re pregnant or not.
But I still hear those voices. The ones that tell me I am lazy, unproductive, making excuses and unfit. I just have to remind myself that my overall health is way more important.
Have you ever heard those voices after skipping something you knew would only make you feel physically worse?
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.