I'm a 27-year-old South African choreographer and the founder of Rockingnheels, a dance workout concept for ladies of all ages and backgrounds who want to get fit while feeling fabulous. My aim is to inspire and empower women to love themselves as they are, and to bring out their confidence through dance.
I'm a fitness fanatic and a firm believer in working out no matter what. At the time of writing I'm 7 months pregnant with my first child and for a while I struggled with all the physical changes I've been going through.
As weird as this sounds, my life seemed to start the moment that stick came back positive. The day I found out I was pregnant I was filled with so much joy and excitement because I've always dreamed of starting a family. After the initial rush my brain started flooding with the first wave of crazy questions; what about my income? Will my brand ambassador work stop because companies won't like my new body? Will I still be able to dance and teach my class? Will I still be booked for events and gigs?
My next big question was how will I survive not being in control of my body? MY BODY! My biggest freak out has been that apparently my body is going to change forever. I was only about five weeks in and already I was worried about my future shape and stressing about the potential downsides of my pregnancy. The self-inflicted pressure to have a 'perfect' pregnancy body kicked in almost straight away.
Around my 14th or 15th week I started to notice my stomach beginning to show, particularly after eating. Even though I eat clean most of the time, I started questioning my food choices and whether I was eating too much or the 'wrong' food. I know, retrospectively this sounds very strange. I spent hours on Google trying to find the best pregnancy eating plans and meals. Social media wasn't a great help either, there's ladies out there nine months pregnant looking like they all they've done is eat a big lunch. There's pressure everywhere.
And my wardrobe... as my baby grew everything started getting tighter. I had to say good-bye to my high waist jeans and tight shorts. Some items didn't even get past my ever-growing thighs and I haven't found fashionable maternity clothes that suit my style. However, I hadn't stopped exercising and I wasn't going to stop. Gym and dance fitness instructing carried on as normal as I found exercising perked me up and gave me loads of positive energy.
Even though I made sure I took medical advice and I stopped ab work in the 2nd trimester, I was amazed at some of the comments on social media. African's can be traditional in their thinking and I had plenty of people suggesting that pregnancy was effectively a medical disorder and I shouldn't be doing any exercise at all. Such is the pressure on so many women on my continent. Despite all my fears about my changing body when we announced the pregnancy at 4 ½ months amazingly very few people had noticed.
After sharing the news, I started to see sense. Sure, I wanted to stay healthy, fit into my clothes and look good on social media, but I realized that I was being unfair on myself and pregnant women in general. Is there even such a thing as having the "perfect" mum bod anyway? So, I put my big girl panties on and I took on the pregnancy with all my might and made the decision to get on with embracing my ever-changing shape. As women we have such powerful bodies and we only realize it when we fall pregnant. My body is doing incredible things and going through all these changes so that I can carry my baby girl into the world. How can I not love my body for that irrespective of what's happening to my body shape?
What has really helped me is working with women who are going through life's tough challenges, ladies who sometimes rely on me to give them that extra confidence to get through genuine and very real issues. With this context abandoning a pair of jeans or picking up some cellulite is irrelevant, there is more to life than just worrying about being out of control of my body.
I'm loving pregnancy now because I've learned to appreciate my pregnant body. I'm on track to gain between 15kgs to 18kgs, my cellulite is visible, my wardrobe is a disaster and I'm embracing it all.
There is no "perfect" mum bod. Being pregnant is such a magical time. Look after yourself and your baby, but remember no matter what size you are, no matter how big your belly is compared to the next pregnant woman, you are beautiful just the way you are. Anything else is your imagination.
HuffPost UK Parents has launched 'Mumbod', a new section to empower mums and mums-to-be to feel confident about their bodies pre- and post-baby. We'd also love to hear your stories. To blog for Mumbod, email email@example.com. To keep up to date with features, blogs and videos on the topic, follow the hashtag #MyMumbod.