In a list of questions I am commonly asked, I guarantee you that the one in the title above is asked of me at least once a week, sometimes twice. Which is fair enough. I am 38 years old and have been happily married to the same man for almost 11 years now who has been in my life in some way for at least 20 years of my life- wow, that is a long time.
Here are the Top 3 Questions I am asked weekly;
- How tall are you?
- Do you play Netball?
- When are you going to start a family?
They cycle. One week, one will be on top of the list, another week, another one of the three may take precedence.
Today I got asked if I was expecting again. It has been asked more commonly than not given that New Zealand and the world are in rapture over the first born baby of our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
It is such a double- edged sword of a question.
A) One edge is because my deepest wish is to have a family, not just a family but a tribe of children. I never grew up playing families. My “Barbie” was a rock star. She was an independent, red Ferrari driving, glamour-zonian who sometimes went on dates with Ken, who was always a bit boring for Barbie. They never married.
Then I met my husband, Filipo.
I long to have my husband’s babies but life has just not worked out that way for us.
Our story is not an uncommon story. The more I delved into fertility and the percentages around conceiving the more I realised you are bloody lucky to fall pregnant and it is indeed a miracle.
I always assumed it was a “give in” for me looking at the incredibly fertile immediate family I come from. My Mum birthed 5 of us. We are not small. Bless her.
My sisters and my cousins have all started their own family successfully. These facts combined with all the drama at high school around teen pregnancy and advertising of prevention methods (Sex Ed anyone?), I think I honestly thought I would look at a penis and conceive.
Alas, I have not.
The other edge of the sword is this…
B) My stress pot. The “baby” of my body. This was something physical that never existed before I drove my body so hard that my hormones just shut down. I see pictures of times gone by and I can’t believe I used to rock a solid 4 pack of Rectus abdominus with no effort. What changed? I was so unkind to myself by lifestyle choices that I forced my body into a “flight” or “fight” state. ALL THE TIME. It is what I do. I have been quite public about not “being well” and have worked hard on taking my experience to serve others, the old silver lining. But sometimes, moments like today where THE question is asked… it is hard.
I wish so hard I was pregnant. I am not.
I have developed such a sensitive puku (belly in Maori) that too stressful a week or too much HIIT training for me means that ‘ol pregnancy nugget is questioned again.
The positive is I now know my body so well now and treat it as a temple with absolute respect.
Too much cortisol… bloated hard tummy.
Not enough water… big stress pot.
Shallow breathing… lower abs protrusion.
I got so sick of people telling me to brace my core and do abs at one stage of my training it made me want to cry. Trust me, I was trying. During one filming of a workout, I was so paranoid about the glances at my stomach and the overall attitude to my having “gained weight”, I thought about wearing an industry grade corset to conceal it. I was worried the outfit I would wear would show my “pot” in full glory. In this “all about me” concern over my body’s “shortcomings”, I failed to recognize how well my body was moving or celebrate how connected and seamless my coaching had become. In that moment, I felt like a fitness fraud. BASED ON MY APPEARANCE. It passed… the moment. I’ll never get that time back. That will always be a regret of mine. Letting the judgement of others control and power how I saw myself.
In case you were wondering, I didn’t wear it. I could not breathe, but I tried it. I figured it would be a bad look if I passed out mid-coaching point.
It was only when I investigated my gut health and implemented my training and lifestyle philosophy from #NLC that it improved. #NLC is my child. Nats Levi Challenge (#NLC) is the lifestyle program I created that considers movement, nutrition and restoration as equal players in someones health. I coach my challenge participants through these “players” with the aim of creating a maintainable lifestyle unique to that person and where they can still achieve their goals. Each human always has a different area in their life that may need more attention. I identify this and coach them to make positive changes for their best health and results. It works. Both for my team and for me.
But still, my clever body remembers the stressful times like an elephant mind that never forgets. At any hint of a challenging time physically or mentally … boom, ballooning time of the tummy and the old “Sooooo, are you pregnant?” returns.
Jeekers! A blog that has tackled female identity, self-esteem and touched on what it means to be “seen” as an industry professional in Fitness. Who am I?
I am Nats Levi. Hear me roar.
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