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First Trimester Feels

Yes, you read the title correctly. 


I’m pregnant.

The first trimester has officially passed!

I’m only through my first trimester but I’ve already learned a lot of powerful life lessons. One lesson this pregnancy has taught me so far is the power of mindset. Just like in sport and everyday life, what you think and say to yourself matters. This is HUGE during pregnancy as well.

Another huge lesson the first trimester has taught me is to trust the process. Just like in sport you need to trust your training and trust all of the preparation that you put into the season and trust that it’ll get you to your end goal. Pregnancy is similar. Throughout the nine months, you might doubt whether or not you are being as healthy as possible or find out later on that you were doing something or consuming something that you shouldn’t have. Instead of beating yourself up about it or worrying about the end result for the health of your baby, trust yourself as a mama that you and your doctor will make the right decisions and that your baby will be alright. You are doing the best you can and so take it one day at a time. If one day doesn’t go as well and you snack on things you shouldn’t or skip your vitamins, that’s ok! Make sure you do it better the next day then. Ultimately you will not be able to control the end result.

Lastly, pregnancy serves as a reminder to not compare your journey with someone else’s. Just like life, everyone goes down a different path and experiences different things. This is something I often bring up to athletes and teams because falling into the comparison trap is very common. Pregnancy is similar to where you hear other pregnancy stories and start to compare yours. Maybe most of the women you know are experiencing morning sickness and you’re not – is something wrong with you? NO! Maybe you are gaining weight at a faster pace than your girlfriends who are expecting. That’s ok! Maybe there are certain things your doctor gave you the green light for but are no-nos for your friend’s doctors. That’s alright too! Maybe you are showing sooner than other pregnant women – so what!? Trust your own process and journey and focus on your own baby. Each pregnancy, each baby, and each woman are different. There would be something wrong if it was all the same.

I did find it helpful though to read other women’s pregnancy stories and hear what they took for vitamins, what eating regime they tried to follow, what they craved, how they handled nausea, what they used for stretch mark creams, and a variety of other things. This helped me as a future mama to find out what works best for me and to also find support in knowing that I wasn’t the only one going through certain things. Maybe you experienced things similar to my journey, or maybe not. That’s ok! I thought I’d share my pregnancy journey though just in case any mamas out there might find it helpful.

So far throughout my pregnancy journey, I have experienced some bloating, breast tenderness, and feeling much hungrier than normal. I found that I need to snack often, but can’t eat too big of meals. Instead, I snack often and eat multiple small meals throughout the day. Consider me one of the lucky ones though because I never experienced nausea, food cravings, or food/smell aversions. At first, I was concerned that something was wrong with me, but I’ve accepted that it’s just part of my journey. Now I’m past my first trimester and am coming up on my 14th week.

I’ve always dreamed of growing my family, but I have to admit though – so far it is not what I have expected. I don’t mean this in a negative way or that I’m complaining or being ungrateful. I mean it in a simple matter-of-fact-statement for what I am experiencing. I thought that I would “feel pregnant” somehow right away. I wasn’t sure what that would look or feel like, but I thought I would experience “pregnancy intuition,”

Another pregnancy lesson: forget the expectations! Pregnancy is a special journey and your body and baby will be making the decisions for you, not you! If you go into it without expectations you can enjoy the journey instead of stressing yourself out. I didn’t learn this at first, but I’ve been trying to.

After calling my doctor to set up my first appointment, I was shocked to realize that they do not see you until you are 8 weeks along. I found out at 4 weeks, 3 days even before my missed period, so waiting another month felt like an eternity! I was anxiously waiting to have my pregnancy confirmed by a doctor since I really did not feel different. At this time I was entering my 6th week and I’ve heard and read that this is when many women start to feel nauseous and experience morning sickness. Granted each woman and each pregnancy is different, but I’ve been preparing myself in case I started to feel sick. According to my husband, I was going to “make” myself sick from overthinking it.

A few days before my 8-week appointment I did have a morning and all afternoon experience of having nausea and some other not so fun bodily fluids. Since I only had it for one day my doctor did believe that it was not morning sickness, but that instead, I experienced some 24-hour bug. I was more relieved after hearing this because whatever I had was TERRIBLE, and if that was morning sickness I was really not looking forward to experiencing that. With that being said, if you are a current mama or expecting mama, I apologize if you had terrible morning sickness. Again though, each pregnancy is different. 

I may not have experienced morning sickness but I have had many strange dreams. Some positive, some negative, and some just messed up. Some dreams are about my growing baby. What will it look like, how my belly will grow, what that will feel like, what it would be like to hold my baby and what its name might be. If it’s a girl my husband and I have already had a name picked out for the last 5 years, but for a boy, we will see. My other dreams are that this whole experience is a dream or some kind of messed up joke. I have dreams that I go to the doctor and they can’t find a baby. Not that I miscarried, but that there literally was never a baby there to begin with. That somehow all of the tests I took were either false positives or I somehow read them wrong.  This is probably why I took several pregnancy tests leading up to my 8-week appointment.

I have also been on top of taking my prenatal vitamins since I found out I’m expecting and have added fish oil and vitamin D supplements. I also am trying to be more mindful of what I’m eating and incorporating more leafy greens into my diet whether that be an actual salad or a power greens supplement. I still have found myself with a sweet tooth and eating candy and lots of chips.

My husband’s cousin gave me some of her left over stretch mark creams that I started using. I didn’t do much research on this and just used what was available. I’ve learned that the Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is pretty popular and I’ve been using that along with Belli Elasticity Belly Oil. Not sure if it’s doing much but I figured I’ll just use it and see.

The weirdest but coolest part of the journey so far has been feeling my belly grow. It almost feels like I have a side ache in the stomach muscles or similar to growing pains that I experienced when I was younger in my legs but in my belly. If I sneeze or blow my nose aggressively though I feel a pull in my abdomen that is not comfortable.

I’ve been lucky that the sickness stayed at bay so that I can continue my regular exercise routines of teaching Zumba classes, weight lifting, yoga, and running. Exercise was one of my biggest concerns though. I wasn’t sure what workouts I could or couldn’t do. I heard very mixed things from people, especially when it came to hot yoga. I got the green light to continue going from my doctor and yoga instructors and I did my own research on the matter as well. Sometimes I was fine, but other times I was so concerned with how warm I was getting and checking my heart rate constantly that yoga no longer was even relaxing for me. What I have come to learn though is that I need to listen to my body. This is something we already should be doing, but pregnancy comes a time when you really become more in tune with your body than normal. Each move and exercise I pay attention to how my body reacts to it. If it’s pulling in an uncomfortable position or I’m finding myself out of breath I take a step back. I make sure to stay more hydrated than normal and to always eat before a workout. What my doctor has said too is that your body will let you know if you shouldn’t be doing something. You just need to be aware of your body and listen.

I’ve enjoyed this time to reconnect with my body though. Exercise has always been important to me and I have been enjoying this time to learn new moves and try different modifications to keep myself and my baby safe and healthy. I’ve been sticking to my usual workout regimen of working out almost every day and have noticed a weight gain of 7 lbs so far. I’ve been gaining more than is “recommended” so far, but as long as I know that I am eating well and exercising regularly then it’s about all I can do. 

Other than that I’ve been doing a WHOLE LOT of reading. 

What is it about suddenly realizing your expecting and then feeling the need to read multiple articles a day or google millions of questions a day. 

So far I’ve googled, 

“Getting a massage while pregnant.”

“Coloring your hair while pregnant.”

“Eating fish while pregnant.” 

“Early pregnancy signs and symptoms.”

“What does acid reflux/heartburn feel like while pregnant?”

“Exercising dos and don’t while pregnant.”

“How to prevent spina bifida.” 

“Hot yoga while pregnant.”

“Caffeine consumption while pregnant.”

“Beauty routines while pregnant.”

“Vitamins and supplements to take while pregnant.”

“What to eat and not to eat while pregnant.”

Plus a bunch of other questions I either can’t remember or do not want to bore you with reading.

Whenever I find myself over worrying about something though I remember something my aunt told me, “The positive vibes and thoughts you have will be passed onto your baby.” Therefore I have been focusing on the good and keeping a positive mindest the best I can instead of worrying over the little things. God has a plan for my baby and I need to trust him with it. 

Being a certified mental performance coach I do know the power f mindset. I’m hoping I can use the skills I teach athletes, teams, and coaches to be applied to myself throughout my pregnancy. I think the emotional regulation skills, self-talk, and relaxation skills I know will be very beneficial to me throughout the labor process as well. 

Starting near the beginning of my 12-weeks my belly officially “popped.” It’s still rather small but those who know me can definitely tell. The belly is out and here to stay. Here’s to healthy baby development and a growing bump!

If you’ve had a baby or are knowledgeable in this area I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, advice, or comments about this amazing and beautiful journey. 

Thanks for tuning in and I’ll keep you posted how the second trimester goes! 


First-time mama

New Year, Better You!

Hello, 2020! 

With the start of each year comes new hopes, dreams, goals, inspirations, and increased motivation to get after it and start the year off on the right foot. While many people create New Year resolutions, very few actually follow through on them. As the months go by we lose our motivation, focus, and energy that we had at the start of the year and we fall back into old habits. 

According to the U.S. and News report, 80% of people in the country fail to meet their New Year Resolutions, with many giving up around mid-February. 

Why does this seem to happen year after year to so many? I believe that one of the reasons is because we tend to set too big of goals for our New Year Resolutions that end up setting us up for failure. We have such high hopes to make the new year better than the last that we feel that we need to completely change who we are rather than embracing ourselves and instead focus on improving who we already are. 

Think about it… If at the start of the New Year you want to completely reinvent yourself then it’s going to require A LOT of work. It might start off well though. Maybe you established a new morning routine where you get up early, enjoy your cup of joe slowly, watch the news, and then hit the gym well before most people are even awake. You have plenty of time to enjoy your morning and get ready for your job. On top of this, you also start eating healthier and more mindfully. You meal prep for the week and are mindful of portion control. You feel unstoppable and on top of the world. 

That is until something you didn’t expect occurs. 

Whether you endure an injury in a workout or have a workweek that is filled with extra paperwork and meetings where you are working way over your normal hours that you start to snooze your alarm, skip your workouts, and then hit the drive-through for lunch because you forgot to prep yours. After so many weeks of success, you feel like you have now failed. You did not live up to your expectations and are now behind on where you wanted to be. 

So you give up. 

You throw in the towel and say that next year instead will be the year that you continue the positive habits you were doing for a while. Then you fall back into old patterns. You sleep in, have rushed and stressful mornings, and lay on the couch watching TV eating McDonald’s outside of work. 

What happened here?

Below are 5 tips for how to increase your game for 2020 in an effective and manageable way!

  • Focus on what you ARE doing well instead of what ISN’T going well.

Rather than focusing on all the things that didn’t go well, give yourself credit for what did go well. If your goal is to work out 3x a week but you only went once focus on all the times that you did go 3 times instead of the one time that you didn’t. Or you can take that one workout that you were able to squeeze in and make that workout worth it! Tell yourself that you kicked your own butt with that one workout. Or maybe you ate well that week or got quality sleep despite not getting in your workout goals. These are still benefitting you! Focus on the good and let that outweigh the bad. 


Were you not able to get to the gym this week? So what, go an extra day next week. Did life become hectic and stressful to the point where you made unhealthy eating choices? That’s ok! Realize this and make a promise to yourself that next week will be different. Black and white thinking is where you think that just because you missed “one thing” or didn’t manage what you wanted “one time” that it’s a hopeless cause. You either succeeded or failed. You either met your goals or you didn’t. Provide yourself some wiggle room and use the gray area to move away from this all or nothing mentality. It hurts you more than you think. As long as you are progressing from where you once were, you are succeeding. 

  • Accept that there will be setbacks. 

There are 365 days in the year (unless it’s a leap year) and there will be days that we fall down. It may just be a stumble, a step backward, or we may fall flat on our face. HOW you failed isn’t important. What matters is what you do about it afterward. If the summer doesn’t go well for your goals, work harder at it in the fall. Things will not go perfectly. Expect setbacks to occur and instead establish a plan for how to keep moving forward despite the obstacle. If you fall, get back up. Dust yourself off and take what you learned from that experience into the next day. If you do this then by the end of the year in 2020 you will know that you worked your butt off and learned a lot along the way. 

  • Give yourself a break. 

It is also important to give yourself some days, weeks, or a season to relax, unwind, and enjoy yourself rather than going towards your goals with guns a-blazing. If we are going full-speed all the time we will get burnt out and run out of gas. This is what happens often at the beginning of a New Year. We think we need to tackle our goals and resolutions as soon as possible. Recharge and refuel instead throughout the year. Think of the year as a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Take one thing at a time. 

Lastly, start the year off with only 1-2 goals for the year and once you complete those you can build off of them and add more goals. This will seem more manageable throughout the year rather than feeling like you have to accomplish them all at once. Prioritize your goals and work on achieving one thing at a time to avoid over-extending ourselves. We often expect too much from ourselves. Give yourself time and give yourself a chance to breathe by taking it one at a time. Remember: Quality is more important than Quantity. How well you meet your goals will beat out how many goals you achieved. 

Remember, you are amazing the way you are! You do not need to completely change who you are throughout the year. Remind yourself all the good that also happened in 2019. 

  • What went well? 
  • What did you learn? 
  • What did you achieve? 

Take all of that positivity and those experiences with you into 2020! 

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2020.

Attitude for Gratitude

WOW – can you believe it’s already December, the last month in the year? I don’t know about you, but the last few months have flown by for me.

This past week for Thanksgiving, as I decorated my home with Turkey day and Christmas feels, I started to feel overwhelmed with gratitude. The thing is although I often feel grateful, I have a more difficult time expressing it. 

Anyone with me?

Expressing gratitude has a variety of benefits, but it can make many people often feel uncomfortable expressing it. The more we engage in doing it though the more comfortable it will be. 

This is the same as any other activity or skill that we are working towards or learning. 

Rather than waiting to express gratitude when you feel like you “ought” or “should,” take this week to shower those around you with random acts of kindness and words of affirmations. 

One simple activity or challenge that I like to do is to take out your phone and select three people who are you grateful for. Text them your gratitude. It can be short and sweet or long and thoughtful. This random kind text is a great way to express how you appreciate those in your life. 

Who would you text?

I recently completed this activity today and I chose: 

  1. My mother-in-law
  2. My boss/Coworker
  3. A Friend 

I tried to challenge myself out of my comfort zone and chose people who are not the super “easy” choices such as my mom, dad, and husband. Although they all deserve daily gratitude as well. 

Instead of just thinking about how grateful we are for people and things around us, we need to express it. People are not mind readers. You can easily make someone’s day and make uplift yourself after having an attitude of gratitude.

5 Ways to Effectively Coach Female Athletes.

It’s no secret that female-athletes are different in male-athletes. I’m not saying they are less talented or capable – absolutely not! But the way they should be coached should be different because we are not wired the same. I wanted to share tips on coaching female-athletes so that together we can continue to encourage them to be strong, resilient, and empowered through sport.

  1. Watch what you say:

Be careful what you say regarding their bodies, making mistakes, and providing criticism. Praise in public, criticize in private to avoid embarrassing and humiliating your athletes. Also, do not degrade them with terms such as, “You run like a girl.” Are they a girl? Yes. Are they running? Yes, and they probably are running faster than you! Their gender does not matter in regards to how they perform. 

2) Get to know them outside of their sport:

Your athletes are more than athletes. They might also be a sister, a musician, an artist, or a damn good euchre player. Learn about who they are outside of the sport. Females seek out connection and it will do wonders to your coach-athlete relationship if you take the time to connect with them.  

3) Practice how you want them to play:

Sometimes female-athletes need to be challenged and expected to practice as they would compete. Especially with younger females, do not think that you need to go “easy” on them. Obviously, don’t run them into the ground but you can make practices fun AND competitive. 

4) Allow them to be social:

Girls like to talk and be social. I guarantee you they are going to talk, so instead of fighting against it, let it happen. Allow a chunk of time before practice to chat, or tell them that their warm-up run is their social time. Or allow them to socialize between drills and during water breaks. They’re going to socialize, so you might as well build it into the practice. Just make sure they understand that there is a time and place for it. 

5) Females wear their emotions on their sleeve:

Females can be emotional and sensitive creatures and there’s nothing wrong with that! Understand this and accept it. Instead of becoming upset and yelling at them to “suck it up,” take an empathic approach. Being able to understand and express your emotions is a strength, not a weakness. Also, teach them how to best handle emotions through emotional regulation techniques such as deep breathing, self-talk, and mistake routine rituals. You are their coach and you are teaching them more about the sport, you are teaching them about life. 

The courage, strength, and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls need to become the confident leaders of tomorrow. Keep fighting to make sure all women and girls have the opportunity to play!

The Power of Community

Two years ago I moved to a small Wisconsin town, which is my husband’s hometown. I did not know many people, other than my husband’s friends and family. 

Before moving here I attended a Female Athlete Empowerment Symposium in another small town near Mankato, MN. While I was in graduate school I had the opportunity to be a break out speaker at this event. It was for all High School Female Athletes in the area and had an amazing line-up of keynote speakers, break out sessions, and female college athlete panelists. Ever since I had the opportunity to be a part of this event I knew that someday I would love to host one myself. 

With this goal in the back of my mind, I started to make this new town my new hometown. I got involved in a gym, yoga studio, and started to market my sport psychology services to the local high school and sports organizations. I knew that in order to get this event going I would need to get to know the town more so I put the idea on the back burner. 

A year in I was welcomed with open arms from the local high school and fitness studios in the area. Once I was offered the assistant track and field high school coaching position, I knew that this would also be my way in to get to know more coaches and the athletic director to pitch my idea for this event. 

Once I brought it up to the athletic director he was on board instantly. He offered any help he could and we solidified a date. From there on was a lot of work on my part. I had to figure out who to reach out to for sponsorships, who to invite to be speakers, and how I was going to market this event to the community for registrations. 

After months of creating forms, reaching out to potential sponsors and speakers, the event started to become real. The response from the community was absolutely amazing. I had so many people interested in joining this event as a speaker that I actually had to turn some away. This was very challenging to do, but also exciting that I was getting so much interest in the event. 

Next was figuring out how to fund this event as I did not have the expenses myself and I was passionate about making this event free for all attendees. A few sponsors trickled in right away and then after that, it went quiet. I learned that it appeared to be much more effective to call for donations rather than mailing in sponsorship forms. Even though it was time-consuming, it was more effective because I was able to connect more with the sponsors through the phone rather than through the mail. 

Within a few months of the event, I had an amazing line-up set up and very generous sponsors. All that was left was finalizing the details and getting more girls to sign up for the event. 

Looking back it was a struggle to get sign-ups early on because it was over the summer. I tried to market the event the best I could before the summer, but I had very few sign-ups. As the summer drew to an end I had more and more sign-ups each week. 

To be honest, I was getting nervous that I had this amazing event in the making and that the day of I would have very few attendees for my sponsors and speakers. I really thought getting into this endeavor that getting girls signed up wouldn’t be the issue, but rather gaining sponsors and solidifying speakers. 

With the help of the athletic director, high school coaches, my speakers, and sponsors we were able to push the word out more in the final weeks of the event. The sign-ups rolled in and we had enough numbers to make this event a success. 

I learned right away as I was finalizing the details that I needed help. I was overwhelmed, stressed out, and felt that time was escaping me. With the help of amazing friends and family, I was able to gather everything I needed for this event on time. The day of I had all hands on deck and between myself and two family members was able to set everything up for the event. 

My husband’s family and our friends were an amazing help to assist with signing in the attendees, helping answer questions, and refilling the food and drinks to make the event run smoothly. The athletic director was also very helpful since he knew the school building and was able to make sure the AV systems were all in place. 

Looking back on the event I realize how grateful I am to be in an area with a supportive and strong community. Taking on this project taught me the importance of asking for help and delegating tasks because we definitely can not do it on our own. 

Maybe you have a project or goal in mind that you want to go after. That’s awesome! Go for it, but remember to seek out guidance, support, and help along the way. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

College student-athlete panel
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