Being a mum is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Between the doubt, the guilt, the sleepless nights and the ravages pregnancy wreaks on your body, it’s a completely life-changing experience. But what if you had to go through all that in front of an avid international audience watching your every move? For these fit chicks who have built careers around active living, pregnancy was cause for both celebration AND critique. We chat to Sophie Guidolin, Chontel Duncan, Revie Jane Shulz and Daegan Coyne about bump-watch, working out while pregnant, and how to handle the trolls.
Sophie Guidolin has abs of steel, model looks and four, yes FOUR children – Kai (8), Ryder (7) and twin daughters Evie and Aria (7 months). But it was a photo of Sophie weight training with a visible bump that sent the world’s media – and social media – into a raging cyclone of criticism.
Why do you think that photo created such a fuss?
I believe it is the lack of education surrounding pregnant women exercising. I feel like a lot of women are fearful of what they may not fully understand. Throughout a complication-free pregnancy, maintaining exercise throughout can actually result in a positive experience. My response to the media attention has been one of education; I have continued to post informative content to ensure that more people become aware of the positive effects rather than it being a taboo thing.
With four kids, three brands, a husband and a hectic life, there must be days when you want to slump on the couch eating your weight in calories, like the rest of us. How do you handle the pressure to get your body “Insta-ready” in record time?
As I am currently sitting on my living room floor folding washing eating ABC (almond, macadamia and cashew) spread with a spoon, I cannot stop laughing! I never felt any pressure to get my body back – I had never had twins before and I had never experienced a ‘fit pregnancy’ as such. It was an experiment on myself to be able to give myself the best chance of a healthy pregnancy to compare to my first two pregnancies – which were anything but.
I have documented my journey entirely throughout the pregnancy rather than just focusing on the positives. I am super happy that my experience has been a positive one and that I had the ability to share it with so many women.
Chontel Duncan ignited international media coverage with a pic of herself and preggie friend, showing how women carry their pregnancies differently. Detractors of the leggy, uber-fit owner of HITT Australia accused Chontel of ‘harming’ her baby, ‘squashing it’ with her six pack and risking the baby ‘falling out’ during workouts. Yes, really.
Now proud mum to Jeremiah, Chontel says, “I didn’t realise how foreign it was for others to see an active pregnancy. People instantly criticised me and assumed I was practising an unhealthy pregnancy.”
Social media commenters demanded you ‘show your tummy’ as soon as 1 day after Miah’s birth. How do you handle the pressure to return to your pre-bump body?
The pressure is ridiculous, but I wasn’t afraid to show my body, I just didn’t have the time to post it. I do however think it was pretty horrible that this pressure was put on me, and I thought, “How do other females feel . . . does this happen to them too?”
As brand new mums, we should all feel confident in what our bodies just successfully did and look at ourselves with incredible pride.
Revie Jane Shulz, owner of Cross Fit Babes, copped serious flak for a photo of her weightlifting 40kg while pregnant with newborn daughter Lexington. Revie says, “Initially sharing my experience via social media had a positive response. It wasn’t until mainstream media took my workouts and my ability out of context and used shocking headlines that I received negative and hurtful comments. They were uneducated, their accusations were ludicrous but they were also hurtful, as they questioned my intent with my unborn child.”
As a fitness advocate, how do you handle the pressure to get your body “Insta-ready” in record time?
As I went 11 days over my due date with Lexington and I had documented my whole journey with over 100K people, I did feel the build up of anticipation for the birth of our baby. There was also the pressure of the ‘post baby body’ photo. So, I took this opportunity to be real and authentic when I posted a photo of me holding my five-day old baby, clothed, burp cloth on shoulder, bags under my eyes and a very clear, visible bump. I wanted to show other women that I embraced my body no matter what it “looked” like after and emphasise what it had just created, what it could “do”. A lot of women commended me for it and I was humbled by their response.
Daegan Coyne has a unique perspective on the fit-bump-mum-judgement – a recognised name in the fitness industry herself, she’s also a lawyer who works in social media management. Pregnant with her first bub, Daegan is due in mid-September.
Less than half-way into your pregnancy, social media commenters are already laying in judgement. How do you handle the haters?
Working in the social media industry I have come to learn that it’s an unfortunate fact of life and not to take it to heart. I know I am healthy, happy and the bub is doing perfectly fine based on my consistent check ups with my amazing doctor and team. Best to focus on yourself, what you are doing, and not what others think.
How does training help you deal with the physical and emotional changes of carrying a baby?
I truly believe that being active is one of the most under-utilised natural remedies for health issues, whatever they may be! For the first 15 weeks, my training slowed down substantially and my nutrition wasn’t the best as I couldn’t keep a lot down. I feel much more energetic and less stressed now that I am back exercising and eating well too. Your life isn’t supposed to stop because you are having a baby, it’s supposed be a magical period of your life which exercise can contribute to making it enjoyable.
You work in social media and have a specific insight into this industry. Why is the ‘fit-bump’ such a contentious issue?
I work closely with a number of beautiful ladies with incredible social media followings. Every single one of them have been subject to some form of abuse. Luckily they are all strong ladies, and have an amazing support crew, but it doesn’t matter how thick skinned you are, these comments can hurt and may potentially have detrimental effects. Every BODY is different, and therefore every pregnancy is different. Ladies who aren’t active will undoubtedly have a different pregnancy to those who are active. I think being happy and healthy and trusting how own instincts (and that of your medical team) is all you can do.