Empowerment through the Eye Roll

Despite its title, this post is not about negativity. It’s about your power, your intuition, your innate abilities.


I am currently in my third trimester of my first pregnancy, and I’ve learned more in the past 7 months than I ever thought possible – about my body, my mind, my power, and the sad state of knowledge about pregnancy in our society.


As soon as I started showing, so did the head shakes, the eye rolls, and the skepticism.


“There’s too much weight on that bar.”

“Are you SURE you want to be squatting?”

*a shake of the head*

*a point of the finger*

“Should you be doing that?”

“Did you ask baby whether she wants to be upside down?”


I am 27 plus weeks into an incredibly mindful pregnancy, 6 plus years into training others in CrossFit and multiple levels of credentials, and 2 plus years into listening to, soaking in, and now living BIRTHFIT, and still, to many (with zero research or understanding) I am putting my baby in danger, and the looks, actions, and opinions come out.


My answer: usually silence, but sometimes a much longer conversation than I had planned on having at the gym that day. What used to bother me now stands as an opportunity to educate and inform. Since becoming a BIRTHFIT Regional Director, I no longer look at situations like these with anger, but with empathy. It’s no one’s “fault” when they ask questions like this. It’s what’s been ingrained in us through media, medicine, and society’s standards for the current state of prenatal and postpartum care (or lack thereof). And I like to believe each criticism comes from a place of love and concern – an intention of love and concern can easily be redirected.


The most important thing I can do for myself and my baby is to carry on. To train with intention (for the greatest and most empowering athletic endeavor of my life). To take opportunities to inspire, not fight. And most importantly to TRUST myself, my mind, my knowledge, and my body.


Here’s why this matters so much… the carryover from the gym to the delivery room is undeniable. Now instead of that deadlift being too heavy, you’ve been in labor too long and need pitocin. Instead of that full depth squat potentially closing off your pelvis for delivery (yes, I’ve heard this one), refusing the epidural is inhibiting your ability to deliver your baby.


The driving factor in both scenarios? Fear. Whether intentional or not, fear is used as a bullying mechanism to convince you that you don’t have the ability to know your body, to know your ability, to know when and how to make choices in the best interest of you and your baby.


And here’s what I’m writing to tell you: YOU DO. You know your body. You know your abilities (and they are tenfold what most doctors and nurses will tell you). You know how to make choices and who to turn to for support.


Yes, Western medicine serves an incredible purpose when needed, but emergency procedures are turning into the norm, and mamas are swiftly being disempowered in a process that we’ve been doing since LONG before doctors existed.


So, whether you are in the gym or in labor and delivery, trust yourself, trust your instincts, trust your intention, trust your body, and trust the work and time you’ve put into preparing for that very moment – whether it’s picking up that barbell with good form and intentionality or moving forward with whatever type of birth YOU have chosen to move forward with. YOU can do this. YOU have prepared for this. YOU know what is best for you and baby. YOU are empowered. YOU are BIRTHFIT.


Laura Bruner


CNC, CrossFit-L3