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Birth Like an Athlete – Kerri Walsh Jennings

Birth Like an Athlete – Kerri Walsh Jennings

Kerri Walsh Jennings, “in the moment”, at 34 weeks pregnant

It’s getting closer. Sometime around the magical due date of April 9, 2013, Kerri Walsh Jennings will be meeting her baby girl for the very first time. Just like she did while pregnant with her sons, Joey and Sundance, Kerri has excitedly gone to her prenatal appointments. She has stocked her house with the much needed newborn-sized diapers. Doesn’t this sound like any woman enjoying the end stages of pregnancy, and not someone, who months earlier, won an Olympic gold medal, later learning she was six weeks with child?

If you’re a pregnant woman who has competed as an elite athlete, or considers wearing high heels her sport, you get to learn that even an elite, athlete mom like Kerri Walsh Jennings has to wait, just like you, for her baby to be born. Kerri gets to question,”Will this be the day I meet her?”, and can’t create a plan to make it happen any sooner. This makes Kerri feel real, to the pregnant women like herself that are in top shape, but also to the women that aren’t, especially those sidelined with bed rest. What Kerri is doing to manage the anxiety of this waiting game can appeal to ALL pregnant women. What advice does Kerri offer?

Be in the moment. As of this writing, Kerri isn’t very anxious. Her mindset during these last few weeks has been to enjoy the moments with her family, especially the times when her boys are dressed in pajamas, out slaying dragons! Granted, with this being baby #3, she already knows what the birth process is like. Yet, while questioning how she prepared for the earlier births, Kerri doesn’t remember being nervous about the labor, as many first time expectant moms are. She therefore didn’t attend any scheduled classes on childbirth.

She read some books on pregnancy and birthing, but didn’t buy out the entire category at the local book store. She exercised for all pregnancies, and for this current one, lets her body dictate the duration and intensity of her workouts. When competing in the sand, Kerri slays the dragons there, so when it came time “perform” in the birth room, she didn’t think any differently. Could the dragons of anxiety come for a visit before her daughter is born, or at the birth itself? Absolutely. Kerri finds that being in the moment helps mitigate those feelings so she can resumebeing happy, relaxed and at peace. You don’t have to be like Kerri and skip the birth class. If that is what helps you to manage your own anxiety, go do it. Kerri’s experience, however, reminds us that if we’re in the moment, our own dragons may be slain. Find what works for you, so you’re prepared if they come to call.

Listen to your inner voice. For this elite athlete, Kerri is used to the rigorous schedule her life often demands. While training for the Olympics, her days were filled with early wake ups, workouts at the gym, followed by beach volleyball, beach volleyball and more beach volleyball. Having a full schedule during this pregnancy certainly hasn’t stopped this mom extraordinaire. Kerri has flown across the country for interviews like ”The Today Show”, to share her prenatal fitness routine. She has participated in charity events, like the PADRES “El Sueno de Esperanza” Gala, a charity that aids Latino children dealing with cancer. She’s also visited family during the Holidays.

A healthy pregnancy meal of quinoa, peppers, onions and eggs.

Given this non-stop action, Kerri has recognized the rewards of tuning in to what her own voice is communicating. If she doesn’t, exhaustion can set in, which doesn’t serve herself or those around her. If there’s a voice telling her to rest, she tries her best to find it. She plays with her boys when needing a good belly laugh. She watches her favorite television shows with husband, Casey Jennings. And when hunger calls, Kerri’s usually found eating nutritious meals, like a dish of quinoa, peppers, onions and eggs. There are times, however, when she succumbs to pregnancy cravings. Her favorite breakfast sandwich is a croissant, egg over medium, crispy bacon, tomato and avocado. ”I ate this for all three pregnancies, ” admits Kerri. Pregnancy is a time to recognize power and strength for one day, eat a croissant another, and get a prenatal massage the next. No matter what lifestyle during pregnancy, one thing remains the same: we are the only ones who know what we need. Having this clarity will help women in labor for the first time, or those adding another child to their family’s mix.

Help others. Whether it’s verbally or physically performing an act of kindness, Kerri knows that it’s a “win-win” for all, including her growing baby. Since she is used to winning, we should all take heed. In a 2/27/13 Twitter post, this volley mama publicly acknowledged her love for her husband. “I had to run back home for something I forgot. My loving man was still home which was a surprise…My heart,” shared Kerri. This enables her husband, Casey, to see that no matter how busy her schedule is, Kerri makes their relationship a top priority. While frequenting a local cafe, Kerri often stops to acknowledge her ever loving fans. She knows that a simple smile or wink is all it takes. Helping someone doesn’t have to take hour upon hours of time. Call a friend in need. Pay someone else’s parking meter. Even while pregnant, Kerri has learned that by turning that frown upside down on someone else, she feels good too. Count your blessings.

Kerri finds ways to be grateful by surrounding herself with inspiring people, quotes and music . Recently she shared, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” She also adds, “…when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, it means you’re close!” These quotes help her to be the best Kerri Walsh, even during the days where she feels the opposite. The inspiring people besides her husband include her mom and close friends. Kerri can’t stop smiling when she talks about her mother’s presence at the births of her children, and there’s no exception with this baby. ”Of course my mom will be at this birth,” professes Kerri. ”My family is so important to me. They are my life.” Kerri is much more appreciative of these blessings today and won’t stop counting them. What, and who, inspires you most? Pregnancy, especially at the end, is the time to find out.

How do Kerri’s tips aid in getting one step closer to meeting her baby? They all require introspection and reflection, which help create a feeling of love. Since the end of pregnancy can be a time when many pregnant women encounter feelings of doubt, worry or frustration, her tips bring a refreshing approach to this journey. What is Kerri’s mindset leading up to the birth of her daughter? It’s the mindset of love. She chooses love. The high-heeled wearers, dragon slayers and those somewhere in between, will most likely agree on this mindset, too. What will YOU choose?

Lisa Pedersen, LCSW BirthLikeAnAthlete.com

To read more articles by Lisa and for more tips and information visit:

Birth Like an Athlete

1 Comment

  1. I need to translate some articles
    can you help me
    Thank you

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