#1 – Being a legit MMA Fighter makes you LESS likely to get in fights outside the gym.
Training as a legit MMA fighter takes A LOT of time & physical/mental energy & when you spend that much time getting punched & kicked & thrown around & choked, the LAST thing you feel like doing is spending any energy fighting the idiot who cut you off or stole you weight bench. Being a legit MMA fighter makes you more mellow bc you know that you could most likely kick the shit out of 90% of the people who would try to pick a fight with you & you so develop a silent confidence & therefore let things slide. You have nothing to prove.
On the other side of this coin is the irrational, unpredictable pregnancy irritation that could become a blind rage in .2 seconds. Being pregnant gives you zero tolerance for anyone’s bullshit bc everything you do is an exhausting struggle – be that physical or mental. Being pregnant means at any given time you are 3/4 of the way to telling someone to get the f*ck away from you, to back the f*ck off, or to smarten the f*ck up (you say “f*ck” a lot while pregnant, it’s a fact). Add to this the fact that you are/were a legit MMA fighter: you are now a weapon of mass destruction primed to go off at any moment & to restrain this takes immense energy, focus, will & sugar, which in the end only adds to your irritation.
#2 – Being a legit MMA fighter gets you in wicked shape & so you get to enjoy feeling like a sexy beast.
It takes so many hours of ridiculously hard work to get prepared for a legit MMA fight & the physiological response is usually to drop body fat. The benefit of being in the best shape of your life is that you LOOK like you’re in the best shape of your life & you get to walk around knowing that your bulging muscle & obvious athletic prowess is appealing (even if only to you) but also terrifying. Being in fighting shape is the ultimate Alpha expression & you’ll feel it…even if the rest of the world doesn’t.
In stark contrast we have pregnancy.
As a legit MMA fighter, being pregnant means you’re in the worst shape of your life & most horribly, not bc you chose this (in the sense of quitting exercise/healthy food), but bc mother nature & evolution are sneaky bitches. You cannot outsmart them & you cannot outwork them. Being pregnant means that even if you eat well & workout you will gain weight (as you should). You get slower & bigger & softer & the Alpha feeling gets replaced with the Zeta feeling: a word I made up that means you’re at the end of the alphabet bc you probably feel so hideous & unfamiliar to yourself. And if you weren’t so exhausted from pregnancy induced insomnia you’d work out at 4am so you could avoid having to even see people in such a condition bc their lack of fear is also irritating. Also, bc it helps you avoid getting in fights.
#3 – Being a legit MMA fighter, especially female fighter, means people are afraid to talk to you.
It doesn’t matter how friendly & nice you actually are, if people know that you’re an MMA fighter & you also have the physique of a legit athlete, most people are intimidated by you. My experience has been that muscular women are scary in our society; add to that the fighter bit & you are an outright freak of nature. This can be really annoying, however, you can be assured that people WILL NOT say really stupid/offensive things to you (except about your muscles). They also will NEVER touch you bc they’re already convinced that you might attack them. So this perception of you, no matter how false, helps prevent people from pissing you off and/or offending you, bc they have the common sense to only say such things behind your back.
And then we have pregnancy; the time of your life when EVERYONE has an opinion about EVERYTHING about you. Your body, your weight, your overall size, what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, & worst of all they TOUCH you. Now if you’ve been paying attention you can see that so far along we have a highly irritated, most likely irrational woman that is unbearably uncomfortable with inevitable changes of pregnancy & then someone is going to comment on her changing shape & size & then follow up with trying to touch her growing belly!! It’s a disaster. To go from one extreme to the other is paralyzing bc it is such a strain to not tell people to f*ck off that it hurts your face. Like you haven’t noticed all these changes & the fact that your everything has muffin-top & your everything hurts & your everything is retaining water & your everything doesn’t fit you & everything has suddenly started to feel 20x harder to do (like stairs, putting on your pants, putting on your shoes, breathing, being alive in general etc).
Now bear in mind this is only my experience & there are plenty of great things about being pregnant (or so they say…just kidding…not really) but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts.
I’m sure I’ll add to this list.
It’s been a long time since I wrote a post & the more time that passes the harder it gets to write one bc so much stuff has happened.
So I’ll just jump in.
I’m pregnant. At this point I’m 6.5 months – so I’m pretty prego at this point.
A little fun fact about me is that I have never wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to be a mom. I wanted a family. But the idea of being pregnant scared the shit out of me. To me, pregnancy has always been the stuff of nightmares.
And not because of all the weird stuff that happens or the process of giving birth. Nothing that would strike fear into most people. What terrified me from the get go was getting fat & being out of control.
“You’re not fat. You’re PREGNANT!”
That’s what people say. I’m sure I even said those very words to my sister during her pregnancy. They are true. They’re bullshit & they are also true. And anyone listening to me talk about my intense fear of pregnancy would tell me that I didn’t have anything to worry about bc I’m so fit, & I have so much self-control, & I am driven & motivated & knowledgeable about health/fitness/food.
Well, that sounded like an absolute crock.
I spent many years living with anorexia. I was fat phobic. And I mean PHOBIC. Being fat was the worst thing I could ever be. The fear of being fat consumed me. Consumed every moment of every day for 7 years. More than that if you include my preoccupation with fat/my weight that started at about 14. Anorexia didn’t actually take over until I was about 19 or 20. Then after I started eating, I have continued to battle this fat phobia. But if we’re going to be brutally honest here, fat is still an enemy; I’m just not waging war against it anymore.
Pregnancy as a concept was a living nightmare bc it meant gaining weight, which, regardless of the reason, was my living nightmare. When I had anorexia my body was a prison; I was imprisoned by it. Pregnancy threatened the same experience & I was scared to go back to that.
The other reason pregnancy scared the shit out of me was bc it represented a complete loss of control. I figured that once I got pregnant I would set a process into motion which I would have no control over. I thought the moment of conception would unlock some unstoppable force that would render me helpless to Pregnancy. I would be a victim of out of control hormones & hunger & bloating & fat gain, & ultimately, complete misery….for 9 months.
Add to this, the fact that I’m accustomed to the life of an athlete; fit, strong, capable, powerful, comfortable in my body & in control of my body; this whole pregnancy thing was an outright threat. I was an MMA fighter. An athlete. A powerful woman. Strong, capable & fearless. Pregnancy just didn’t fit in with any of this.
I knew that being pregnant might end up being one of the hardest things I’d ever work through. I can take the pain of labor, or sore a sore back or whatever other ailment I might encounter, but giving up control over my body & knowing it was going to get bigger – a lot bigger – & therein let-go of the body I enjoyed – there’s not much in this world that would pose a greater challenge to me.
To make things even more complicated, this wasn’t just about my body. This wasn’t just losing my abs, or biceps, or number of pullups I could do or having to buy bigger clothes, & feeling endlessly uncomfortable in my skin. This went beyond: it was about losing myself.
I identify myself through my body bc I built it myself. I worked unimaginably hard to build it. I endured pain & suffering & building cycles (getting chunky for the sake of strength/power/muscle size). I looked like an athlete. I didn’t look like most girls & I embraced this. It was all integrated into my self-view & how I placed myself in the world around me.
Pregnancy was going to take that away. Erase all the hard work: the years in the gym & the years spent trying to heal from anorexia. The long arduous path to self-acceptance. It seemed like I no sooner got a taste of it & it was going to be ripped away & replaced with the most powerful force of uncertainty.
Add to this the fact that I gain weight super easily, which is a bonus when you want to gain strength/muscle but it means I gain fat easily as well. So I knew I was absolutely not going to be one of those cute pregnant chicks in Lululemon pants who don’t look pregnant from the back. Oh no. I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew it would not be this.
And on top of all this you can add a healthy dose of guilt. I felt guilty for being so worried about my body & identity when I was “supposed” to be so engrossed in the joy of creating life. It all sounds so trivial & vain when you contrast it against the process of creating your child. But the truth remained to be true: I did care about these things. I cared deeply about creating life too. I was excited & eager but completely terrified & threatened.
I am well aware of the concept of the ‘Myth of Motherhood’. Women are expected to come by ‘mothering’ naturally – like vagina’s are the secret vortex of care-taking; biologically propelling all women to a burning desire to not only become a mother, but to want it above all else. And we all know that the good moms are self-sacrificing. And not only are they self-sacrificial, but happily so, bc the duty of motherhood is just that rewarding. It is so rewarding that a good mother doesn’t aspire beyond motherhood; she is so satisfied by the role of being a mother that all the other parts of her should just fade into the sunset. Silently, without protest or regret or sadness or mourning.
l I don’t drink that Kool-Aid, but I sure as hell still feel the guilt & pressure. And that’s why I’m writing this bc I don’t buy it.
Being pregnant is hard but not for those socially acceptable reasons, like the pain & exhaustion & puking & insomnia & all the rest of the physical/emotional effects. Being a woman doesn’t mean you will naturally loooooooooove being pregnant. It’s the hardest, most difficult struggle. It’s brilliant & amazing & I’m not saying it’s not worth it but it’s fucking hard.
I don’t feel like myself & I hate that. I don’t like my limitations: I threw my back out putting on gym pants. And mean out. I couldn’t stand up for a whole day. I am not this person.
And I don’t need consolations or reassurance. I’m just telling you how it is for me.
And don’t mistake the struggle for me being unhappy with this process bc I’m not…or at least not always. I chose this for myself & I knew what I was getting into. And there are plenty of moments that I do love about being pregnant & I have not one single hesitation in saying that it is totally worth it.
But for me, pregnancy has been work. I’ve had to push myself in new ways. I’ve had to dance with some old demons. I’ve had to accept myself differently. It’s a journey that’s teaching me a lot & ultimately I am grateful for all of it. But it sure as shit isn’t easy, or natural – whatever the hell that means.
I remember many years ago I began reading up on Buddhism in an attempt to try & alleviate some of the struggle & pain in which I’d engulfed.
This was back when I was quite sick with Anorexia; so obviously it seemed way easier to address my problems by diving headfirst into spiritual exploration & existential questioning than it did to eat a sandwich.
Of all the things I read on this topic over the years, the lesson that has always stood out the most, & simultaneously pissed me off the most, is the teaching that suffering is created not necessarily by specific situations, but rather, our resistance to such situations.
Now as someone with a fair amount of trauma littering her past, the idea that my “suffering” wasn’t related to the actual situations I was thrown into as a kid sounds like utter bullshit. And it would be if that were the point of that teaching, but I don’t believe it is. I believe the suffering being referenced is about that which we experience as decision-making adults vs. children at the mercy of adults.
But I’ve come face-to-face with this teaching a lot over the past year due to this injury.
I have physical pain: there’s no denying that & that pain has very little to do with my refusal to accept anything, though I most certainly made things worse by continuing to train the way I did. But I was legitimately ignorant about the severity of what was going on.
But after a couple hard mitt sessions a few weeks ago, I sent myself into a spiral of pain (again). I set something off with this injury & haven’t had a single moment free of pain in the 3 weeks since. Today I’m at the point where I’m just sick-to-fucking-death of being in pain bc it impacts my life significantly. It impacts my well being. It sinks me.
So as I’m sitting or laying somewhere thinking thoughts of feeling sorry for myself & being angry about how this is the Never Ending Story of my life. I remember that lesson: suffering is resistance. And I think to myself, “What are you resisting?” And then I get super irritated at myself bc ultimately I want the answer to be NOTHING.
This is being done to me. Sure, I did this by over-training & not listening to my body & pushing too hard, too often but I am behaving now & yet still I keep experiencing this pain. I am not resisting. I am being attacked. Targeted. Unfairly ambushed by fate. God. Goddess. The Easter Bunny. All of them. Everyone is after me.
But you know what’s killing me?
It’s not just the pain, & I most definitely am not downplaying the pain, but it’s that I refuse to lay down & quit trying. I won’t just sit around. And when I have this kind of flareup, I get anxious by thinking that I’ll never get better. That pain is going to be my ongoing reality. That I won’t be able to do most of the activities that I enjoy & that make me feel good. That I’ll get fat & soft & weak & out of shape.
I don’t accept this as today’s reality bc I’m terrified this means I accept this as permanent…even though other Buddhist teaching are about lack of attachment & impermanence….but I’m not a Monk so cut me a break.
I’m not exactly sure what my point is. I suppose it’s simply shining the light on that fact that I realize I make the experience of physical pain worse by not just accepting it as where I am today. Admittedly, It’s tricky bc I have been struggling with this for over a year now. I’ve had a lot of “today’s” filled with pain.
But I do have good days…I’ve actually even had good weeks.
And perhaps if I’m super honest with myself, I might find that when I trigger these soul-crushing bouts of relentless pain, I’ve often (but certainly not always) caused it by not respecting where I am “today.”
I still want to be where I was when I could walk & move & train without any concern of pain.
I still want 100% from myself bc I haven’t quite wrapped myself around what my new (& hopefully temporary) 100% looks like.
Or the fact that asking 100% of myself today doesn’t mean the same thing it meant over a year ago.
I’m not sacrificing my body for the pursuit of skill perfection or athletic evolution.
That sacrifice cost me greatly.
I guess today’s 100% isn’t about pushing to my limit & then 10% more. Instead, 100% is about listening & respecting my body for where it is & what it needs 100% of the time….which realistically will mean 75% of the time.
I’m not very good at it yet. I think I’ve been resisting where I am. I like this reality: it sucks. It’s painful & unpredictable & unstable (physically) & hard to navigate.
And while this resistance doesn’t account for my physical pain, it sure accounts for my wanting to lay in my Lay-Z Boy after work & eat bags of candy in pants with elastic waistbands.
That is why they invented Spanx, after all.
But I’ll resist the urge to give in & instead accept what I need to do today without concerning myself of what I might find tomorrow bc what I have learned is that tomorrow will most certainly not be better than today if I don’t respect where I am & what needs to happen today.