Shanna is mother to two gorgeous children and married to Bruce, founder of Chubstr.com, a site dedicated to helping big men find their big and tall style. Shanna is currently pregnant with their third child – and showcasing her active plus size pregnancy.
Shanna talks to us about some of the reasons she decided to stay more active with her third pregnancy.
She says, ‘I worked as a busy hairdresser during my first two pregnancies and didn’t make much time for exercise beyond that. I’ve been fortunate with all my pregnancies, as I have never suffered from morning sickness and only experienced those pregnancy aches and pains in the last few weeks. I was able to have unmedicated births with my first two and recovery was fairly easy.
Exercise has always played an important role in the postpartum phase for me. It’s amazing how even a short walk around the block and some fresh air will refresh you when you are sleep deprived and feeling a bit low!
This pregnancy has been much different. Not only am I a stay at home mom now, but I’m also older. When we started thinking about having another baby, I really made time to exercise and get my body into shape. I realised I had neglected myself for years so I could focus solely on being a good mother and wife. Initially I felt a bit selfish making the time to exercise but I knew that staying active would help me feel better during the pregnancy and make my delivery easier. While I’m struggling to maintain the same level of exercise into my third trimester, I have no doubt that being fit has helped make this pregnancy much easier!’
Shanna is fantastic ambassador for the adage ‘active Mammas raise active kids – her older children are six and eight and the family often make time for an evening walk or a bike ride together. Shanna continues, ‘My son has even expressed an interest in jogging with me, so we plan to “train” together for a race after this pregnancy. I love including them in exercise.
Growing up, exercise was all about competitive sports and weight loss and I want my kids to recognise that exercise doesn’t have to mean those things. It’s such a great stress reliever and it’s so nice to feel strong and be able to appreciate your body for what it can do.
Having said that, I absolutely use it as my ‘alone’ time as well. I have found find space to exercise is incredible at relieving stress and anxiety. It’s difficult to maintain autonomy as a stay at home mom, so I tend to use exercise as my “thing”. I like to run 5ks, so it’s fun to have Bruce and the kids cheering me on at the finish line! I also love setting goals and crushing them!’
Keeping her family fit is strong motivator for Shanna but her long term goals are very much about her and Bruce: ‘I’m about to have three children and want to live a long, healthy life with them. I also appreciate being able to keep up, whether we are running around at the playground or taking a bike ride. But it’s not just about the kids, or exercise during my pregnancy, for me staying fit is a long term lifestyle plan. I want to feel good after my kids are grown and move out of the house. My husband and I have some adventures to take!
Fitness, even pregnancy fitness, is often associated with ultra lean, toned bodies that can set unrealistic expectations for many women. But FittaMammas come in all shapes and sizes – it’s not important to be tiny and toned, it’s about staying active, aiming to raise your heart rate for at least 150 minutes every week and doing what’s best for you, your baby and, ultimately, your family.
We asked Shanna for her final tips and advice to share with other plus size mums to be.
‘When I worked as a hairdresser, I saw so many seemingly perfect women who hated their bodies. They were so focused on what other people thought about them that they forgot about all the wonderful things life has to offer. I vowed that I would never do this. My body has given me two, almost three, healthy children and fed each of them for three years – I’m really proud that my body is so strong and capable! There were times it didn’t feel strong and I worked with it slowly to build up strength and stamina. Of course there are still times when I struggle with different parts of it but I remind myself what it has done for me and what I can do. I believe self love is an ongoing process like anything in life – it’s important to recognise your strengths, feel good about yourself and not be afraid to get up, get out and work out!’