Pole dancing took over my world in 2011. I loved how it encouraged me to care less about how much I weighed and more about how I functioned. I went from working out once a week to six days a week, doing pole, Pilates, strength training, yoga and HIIT. I also started taking my diet more seriously because my goal was to build muscle so that I could get stronger. I eventually became an instructor. And then I got pregnant.

Social media is flooded with images of inspiring moms tackling amazing and strenuous physical feats -- continuing their workout schedules with what seems to be very little modification. So I naively assumed that my workout routine wouldn’t change for during my pregnancy and that I’d be able to do everything I was already accustomed to doing. I was wrong.

When it comes to being active during pregnancy, your body will tell you when it’s time to stop; and it’s important to listen, even when your ego wants to continue the journey for the sake of not losing what you’ve already built up. I am now a day away from being 32-week pregnant and 3 days into my post-pole retirement (for now). Following my doctor’s advice, I listened to my body and felt that I had to take a break -- if I didn’t want to put my baby at risk, I had to stop pushing my body to its limits. My baby got too heavy and my body too tired , I simply had to stop teaching.

I’m sad about no longer being as active, especially with pole, but the good outweighs the bad, and I’ve managed to stay positive about having to temporarily give up my active and fit self. Here are 5 things I tell myself to cope with losing pole dancing to pregnancy.

  1. Baby comes first. That is self-explanatory, but it can’t be overstated. It’s hard to give up a lifestyle -- an activity or overall way of life that you’ve adopted and worked hard for. But think about it this way: What’s more important? Your physical gains or your well being and that of your growing baby? Exactly, it’s the latter.
  2. You can tone it down but remain active. Pole got too physically demanding for me, but after talking with some other pole dancing mamas who eventually had to go on hiatus (and my doctor), I’m ready to move on to other activities. I’m at that point in my third trimester where I’m uncomfortable because I’m lugging a lot of weight around and my joints aren’t as stable. But I do have enough energy to work out at least twice a week, so I’ve decided to take up prenatal yoga, which will keep me sane for now.
  3. Growing a human is as tough as it gets. Having muscles, strength, a toned body and making gains are all very nice things, but it doesn’t get any cooler than growing a human being. Marvel at your body because it is performing an amazing task that not everyone gets to do. Even when you feel terrible, take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror and envision what that little human inside of you could become. That baby’s greatness wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for you serving as the vessel. Embrace it and take care of yourself mentally and physically for the sake of your next POTUS or cancer-curing scientist.
  4. Don’t compare yourself. Some women may be able to continue their regimen with no interruptions while others may not. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall into the latter category. Just surrender to what it is for now and focus on those surprising, sometimes uncomfortable yet delightful kicks you’ll be getting from baby as a fun reminder that he or she loves you.
  5. You can always get back to where you were. Breaks are just temporary setbacks, and your workouts as you knew them will always be there -- or at least come back. Once you give birth and get clearance from your doctor postpartum, you will be able to get back into the groove. Although, don’t forget to give yourself time to rest.

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a New York City-based entertainment and lifestyle journalist and author who enjoys telling the stories of people who are hiding in plain sight. Her award-winning website, GangStarrGirl.com, focuses on women in hip-hop, pop-culture, beauty, travel and other lifestyle interests like pole dancing. Most people discover that upon reading her quirky musings they learn something new while chuckling in the process. Her most recent accomplishment is self-publishing her debut novel, “Bloggers Can’t Be Trusted,” which is loosely based on her experiences working in entertainment media.