Birds- Bees and Aerial Pregnancies
Writings from Tori David - on the UPS and downs of aerial arts while pregnant.
This turned out to be one of my favourite articles y'all. I'm so thrilled to have our very first guest writer- a dear friend whom I've known since 2010 when we worked at a Cracker Barrel together in San Marcos TX. My beautiful and so supportive friend Tori, is a graceful and talented aerialists who is also bringing more level headed people into this world. Because she is pregnant AF and she's doing aerial. Here is her article on her experiences; the good and the not so great. I'm so extremely proud of her for writing this, so you bet your ass if there's any rude comments posted, I'm going for blood. -Dana.
I found out I was pregnant on a Friday evening...
My husband and I had just embarked on the “make a baby” adventure, and I had already taken an early pregnancy test that had come back negative. I was getting ready to go to open studio and figured it would not hurt to take a second quick pregnancy test before I headed out, hopeful the result would be different than earlier in the week. Needless to say, I was surprised when the second pink line showed up on the test. Even before I found out I was pregnant I had started to wonder how pregnancy would impact and change my aerial training. I had finally started to hit my stride, and was feeling physically and mentally stronger than I ever had before. I was worried getting pregnant would bring all of that to a screeching halt. But the first thing I did after that positive test? I went straight to the studio to work out my nerves before telling my husband the big news.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge how incredibly thankful both myself and my husband are for the chance to become parents. I had always known I wanted to be a mom one day, and I felt like I had won the lottery when I married the most wonderful dude I had ever met. Even better, he wanted to reproduce with me, so double win. Nonetheless, aerial had become more than just a workout to me. It is my mental health respite, it pulled me through a period in my life where I was struggling with depression and anxiety, and carried me through almost a year of long-distance marriage. Being in the air gave me a creative outlet that freed me from my day-to-day life in the office. Aerial is my happy place.
Pregnancy and Training
The pregnancy began affecting me in subtle ways at first. When I first started training at my studio in Austin, I couldn’t help but notice how high the ceilings were. I was told they were somewhere around 30 feet high. Before finding out I was pregnant I felt comfortable training and performing at the higher heights. Almost immediately after I found out about Baby I noticed I instinctually started losing height. I found I was more cautious when adding new vocabulary to my repertoire, feeling more comfortable working on older pieces. I also noticed my energy level rapidly started to lose steam, and motivating myself to get into the studio for class became more and more difficult. Even so, I knew I wasn’t ready to stop aerial that early into the baby game.
Then there were the physical changes that I started to notice. For starters: gas. Yeah, I had a lot of it and it did not exactly make partnering fun. Next came the sore breasts. I do not think anyone could have prepared me for the pain of getting one of my boobs trapped in the fabric while I was trying to untangle myself from a belay sequence. Nor do I think I could have prepared my classmates for the sounds that would come out of my body in that moment.
In a very different - and less smelly - way, as Baby began to grow out of my pelvis and was less protected, I became more and more conscious of how the fabric hugged my body. I stopped doing belly wraps almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant, but shortly into the second trimester I also started worrying about other positions that were tight in the hip / lower back area - crossback straddle or the position we have lovingly named the “kidney buster.” With time my abs began to feel more and more tight, which made moves that involved trunk flexibility a whole hell of a lot more rigid. Now, at almost twenty weeks pregnant, I find that I avoid more dynamic drops almost all together. Nonetheless, during this time I have learned to enjoy working on smoothing out my transitions and bringing fluidity to the moves I could still do with ease.
Here is what I can confidently tell you about aerial and pregnancy: some people will support your decision to continue to train while you’re pregnant, and some will have less than supportive feedback for you.
Your doctor / midwife will likely warn you of the dangers associated with training during pregnancy, especially the risks associated with potentially falling. The most important thing to remember about training while you’re pregnant is to be smart about it and listen to your body. I feel lucky to have found a studio and a spouse who support my training while pregnant. My teacher keeps a close eye on me to ensure I am conscious of my energy level and that I am engaging in safe training practices. My husband encourages me to go to class because he knows how much sanity and joy aerial brings into my life. Most importantly, I feel confident and support myself in my decision to train while pregnant, which has made all the difference in the world. While my aerial training has changed drastically over the last four months, the joy it brings into my life has not. It’s a very personal decision that only you can make, but for me it was one of the easier pregnancy decisions I have made so far.
@no_tori_ous on Insta if you want to follow her journey.
Artwork is by the lovely @iheartlika.