21 Sep Q&A: Pregnancy As A Fun Journey Of Self-Exploration
For jewellery designer Selena Qiu, pregnancy has taught her to listen to her body more than ever, because “nobody knows your body better than yourself!”
From the outside, founder and designer of Wheat Jewelry label Selena Qiu seems to be breezing through her first pregnancy. We would see her at the studio up to four days a week during her first two trimesters, and finally chased her down to find out where she gets her motivation.
Born in mainland China, Selena moved to the US at age fifteen. After graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York with a degree in Fashion Design, she worked as a fashion designer in New York City for two years. In 2019, Selena moved to Hong Kong for work and family, and married in 2020. She decided to launch her own jewellery brand during the pandemic and is expecting her first child in November 2022.
How did you discover Pilates?
I had been practising yoga daily for four years before I signed up for my first private Pilates session in NYC. It was a hit in the city at the time – I saw a lot of Pilates studios open up nearby my school and workplace. Out of curiosity, I joined a few trial classes, and found the system quite different from yoga. For me, it was more therapeutic, helping me find the right body posture in life.
How did you find Flex Studio when you moved to Hong Kong?
I started training at Flex in 2021. My good friend Iris was a regular client, and is now an apprentice here.
What’s your typical exercise regimen?
Before and during my pregnancy, I would work out almost everyday. That consisted of Pilates for four days, yoga one day and rest days for gym. Now that I am getting heavier, I added night swimming every other day! I enjoy being in the water, where I can feel light despite my big belly. I also love being on my feet… I walk around after each meal.
Also Read: 5 Reasons Pilates Is Perfect for Pregnancy
Wow, that is a lot of exercise! What keeps you motivated?
Starting is always the hardest part, but we just need to give ourselves a little bit of time. The change in your physical body and spiritual or mental state will push you to continue in the long run.
What advice would you give someone who’s trying to get into the habit of moving?
It is important to try different exercises until you find the one that is the most accessible and works best for you. Meaning it’s probably not a good idea to sign up and pay for a gym membership that is far away from where you live or work, because it would make it even harder to start an exercise routine. I also believe everything comes with hard work. No one is born with that perfect body and healthy appearance… you’re gonna have to work hard to earn those if that’s your goal.
You’re now in your third trimester – just a bit to go! How has your pregnancy been so far?
My pregnancy overall has been a fun self-exploratory journey so far. Being pregnant has taught me to listen to my body more than ever. When you get pregnant, you get so much advice and stories from all the lovely people wanting to share their experiences. And I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it can get overwhelming… However, in the end no one knows your body better than yourself.
Pilates constitutes more than half of your training – why is that?
Pilates is a full body exercise that not only requires a lot of core work, but also challenges flexibility, mobility and balance. I think it is the most efficient exercise that I have ever tried wherein multiple muscles are being activated at the same time. The most important part is that it is very safe to practice. It was made for recovery!
Did you observe any difference in yourself after consistent Pilates training?
My spine always feels so good each time I walk out of the studio! I feel I am getting stronger each session… getting more toned, for sure.
What advice would you give to other expecting women who are considering their exercise options?
Learn how to listen to your body by trying different things. Observe how your body reacts, and continue what works. Believe that each minute spent in the studio is worth it, it won’t go to waste! As for pregnant ladies, we need to love ourselves first before loving our babies, so get ready and start moving. Happy mommy happy baby!
What plans do you have in store after childbirth?
I have booked my belly binding lady to come, and would love to jump back to my daily exercise and business after a few weeks of recovery. Definitely looking forward to more time with my newborn and husband, and most importantly making time for myself! A relaxing getaway trip with my hubby would be nice too [laughs]