When you first learned that you would become a mother, did you have any concerns about how to balance motherhood with your athletic career?
I definitely feared balancing motherhood with my career. I feared I would not have the support of my sponsors while also wondering how I would train at the necessary level I need to while being a full time mom. I did not imagine becoming a mother before retiring from track, so this was a major fear.
How did you prepare for maintaining your fitness level throughout your pregnancy? Were there any helpful resources you found that you'd like to share?
My doctors and my coaches were my first responders. We immediately made sure to safely continue my activity levels. Mr doctors encouraged me to continue training and listen to my body. The Human Performance Dept at Under Armour also helped to tailor a program for me that would prepare me for delivery and postpartum recovery.
What is a word of advice you might give a mom-to-be as they are early in pregnancy and hoping to maintain their fitness?
"Listen to your body, and take it day by day."
Were there personal or emotional challenges that you have faced during pregnancy?
I was not particularly happy during my pregnancy. I hid my pregnancy for about 5 months, so I felt like I couldn’t truly enjoy the experience. I was also very afraid of becoming a mother and what it would entail. I feared being inadequate while also wondering about our future such as childcare, health insurance, etc.
How do you feel about the social "norms" or perceptions of motherhood and athletes? Is there anything you'd like to change in terms of the conversation or social support for Mom/Athletes?
It’s good to see the conversation becoming more of a norm. I do think we have a long way to go as far as providing women with equitable opportunities and support when they decide to start a family. I do, however, find that this issue is larger than athletic moms, but rather a women’s issue as a whole. I was saddened to learn during my pregnancy that the vast majority of women across the country have the same fears around having children. Many don’t even have paid maternity leave, and some have to put their children in daycare at 6 weeks old in order to return to work. Infants haven’t even begun immunizations by 6 weeks.
Did you have a progression/training plan with specific post-partum /return to training goals or have more of a less structured approach?
The approach was structured with me rushing it. Lol. As soon as my doctor gave me the go ahead, I wanted to get right to it. Because I trained up until the day I gave birth, and I was recovering well, my doctor cleared me to begin jogging at 3 weeks postpartum. My coach only allowed me to walk. Lol. But I was back on the grass, doing light runs by 6 weeks.
Any favorite exercises or routines that you had during pregnancy?
Baby Cradles (let me confirm the name). It’s an exercise that basically mimics lifting the baby out of the crib with a weighted medicine ball.
Have a word of inspiration you'd give an athletic mom-to-be?
The journey can feel overwhelming, but it truly takes a village. If you have one, lean in to them. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs.
Support the Natasha Hastings Foundation and their efforts to inspire and equip young girls.
Be a starting block for girls to become women of confidence in sport and life.