And suddenly she was the center of a storm of misguided negativity. Viewers left comments berating Ellison for her workout routine:
"If anything happens to your baby due to your stupidity, I hope you'll be able to handle your guilt. Pregnancy is NOT the time to be taking stupid risks."
"That can't be safe"
"Sure you look and sound cool, but we're only human...why would you risk hurting your baby just to stay in shape? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. It's not a time to kick ass, it's a time to be protective of your unborn child. Normally I'm for crossfit, but this doesn't make any sense to me"
"You may have mastered the squat but need to work on motherhood ..8 months doing an overhead squat really??!!!"
The post quickly picked up steam, tallying up 451 shares in just two hours, when Ellison, in a comment on the photo on her own page wrote, "I can't believe this photo has caused this much stir but it makes me hopeful that it will inspire other strong healthy moms to continue on doing what they love."
She took to her page again to comment on the hubbub, writing, "Thank you to all who posted and continue to post positive, supportive comments regarding my photo.... I had NO IDEA what a stir this would create.... It makes me feel proud and loved and STRONGER!!!!"
So was she deserving of the criticism? While it is important to avoid certain physical activities -- like scuba diving, contact sports or anything that would force a pregnant woman to lie flat on her back, according to the Mayo Clinic -- exercise is generally deemed safe for pregnant women, and in fact encouraged, obstetrician Brittany Stofko, DO, of Penn Medicine tells HuffPost.
Every woman and every pregnancy is different, but those who exercised before pregnancy are usually able to continue working out at the same level, Stofko says. Ellison makes it clear in the original post that she's been doing CrossFit for two and a half years and has continued to exercise.
She's not alone in her desire to keep up with her WODs with a bun in the oven, judging from other, more pleasant comments on the photo, and the existence of blogs and sites like CrossFitMom.com. And outside of CrossFit, there are plenty of women who compete in other physical activities during their pregnancies.
Take Amber Miller, for example. She ran the Chicago marathon while nearly 39 weeks pregnant in 2011 -- and delivered her daughter just a few hours after crossing the finish line. Like Ellison, Miller was an experienced fitness devotee: It was not her first marathon (it wasn't even her first marathon while pregnant, according to ABC News), and she had been running throughout her pregnancy, but she faced similar backlash when virtual spectators learned of her story, TIME reported.
"I think people are quick to judge pregnant women," says Stofko. "If she's fit and she's healthy and she's doing this under the supervision of her obstetrician, I think she can safely continue."
CrossFit isn't for everyone -- nor would it be safe for every pregnant woman, necessarily. But, as Ellison wrote in the original post, "I... strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body's capabilities to kick ass."
Keep kicking ass, we say.