It was one of those three weeks of summer we got in 2013, & I’m was just after spending the day sweating it out in the office.
The day was spent like most days in a shared office space with people fighting over the optimum ambient temperature. It was total bliss to be out of the constant bickering over air conditioning and I was thoroughly enjoying going for a jog, just me and my bump, on one of the best evenings of the year.
I’m no Jessica Ennis, I’m no Paula Radcliffe, I’m just a lady who has always exercised but never excessively. No long distances for me, the most would be 3–4km, no heavy weights, no HIIT classes. I lift a few light weights, do a few squats & tip along at a pace that most runners would lap me handy.
So there I am jogging along enjoying being out in the fresh air, when I pass three ladies who are coming against me. I’m no more than three feet past them when I hear the words:
‘Did you see that? That’s disgraceful!’ I hear from one of the ladies.
I didn’t take any notice & I certainly didn’t think the comment was regarding me so I continued on my way. I ran to the end of the park & turned back to head to my car.
On my return journey the three ladies are coming tpwards me again & I hear one of them say: “Here she comes again, oh my God”.
I pass them & I hear the words:
‘ Oh, she is definitely pregnant & running, that’s awful,’
This was followed by a serious of tutting from the other ladies. I was so taken aback. There I was jogging along the same path I’ve jogged for years, bothering nobody, happy out, feeling fit, confident (which for me only happens for fleeting moments most days) so to have these judgements thrown at me, by three fellow ladies I was taken aback. I got back to my car & the second I was in it started roaring crying. I didn’t stop for a long time, I was pregnant & hormonal after all.
I got home to an empty house & waited until it was a reasonable time to contact my husband who was working in a different time zone so I could roar some more down the phone to him. The most upsetting part of this story is not the loneliness I felt been that upset with my husband away & I pregnant, not how angry I was for weeks after at myself for not responding to their ignorant comments but the fact I never ran in public visibly pregnant again!
I’m an older mum so one of my fears is been too old & unfit to run around after my kids, so I hoped by keeping up some jogging & light workouts while pregnant I’d help elevate some of those fears. I also hoped by keeping some level of fitness that my baby when ready would simply pop out of me with a few swift pushes. That did not happen on baby number one, they went in via the sun roof & pulled her out into this world feet first. However baby number two had to be caught at the end of the bed he made such an abrupt & fast-paced exit out of my hooha.
Now let me go back to my 12 week scan with my obstetrician, my husband who was very concerned about all matters unborn child brought up the subject of my exercising with my OBs. My obstetrician said “if you’ve always exercised stay doing what your doing, don’t take up any new strenuous activities & listen to your body, when you can’t do it anymore your body will tell you” so I did exactly what he said.
I had in the first 12 weeks cut back on the exercise front, as I promised my husband until our OBs gave the green light I wouldn’t do anything that might affect the pregnancy in anyway until we had the opportunity to discuss dos & don’ts with Dr D. After the all clear from my obstetrician, when I felt like a jog I jogged, when I felt like a walk I walked & when I felt like falling asleep on the couch, I did that too. Not as much as I should have but then again who I was then found it hard to sit down as a form of relaxing. The much worn out me now just loves a sit down & a relax, ah the new appreciation of lives little things one receives by becoming a mother!
A friend of mine was pregnant the same time I was on my first pregnancy. We went to a pregnancy talk together and during the talk a pregnancy fitness instructor spoke. My friend who I played team sports with my entire childhood & teenage years baulked at the idea of her exercising & not only that warned me sternly not to do any either. When my baby arrived early she informed me it was the exercise that did it…. the irony wasn’t lost on me that she in fact had her baby just as early as I had & she had not exercised once. I was so distraught by her comments that during my 6 week post natal check up I asked my obstetrician was it the exercise that brought my little girl early. No he assured me, you had a lot of things going on but exercising wasn’t one of the factors.
My second pregnancy was completely different, after 22 weeks I could barely walk. My first baby was so breach I honestly felt she was going to crawl out my throat she was so far up in my body. My second pregnancy was completely different. My little boy was at the emergency exit door early on & the need to pee constantly wasn’t going to withstand him head butting my bladder for a 3km run, so I didn’t jog. I did however do more Pilates, Yoga & strength training.
The morning I was due for a section on my second pregnancy I got up at six & did half an hours yoga. I faced the rising sun & concentrated on my breathing. The strangest thing happened during those exercises…. The anxiety & stress I had about having major surgery eased enough for me to become more aware of the cramps I was experiencing all weekend. Six hours of labour later my little boy flew out of me like a cannon ball & I hadn’t even broken a sweat.
I’m not saying it was the exercise that resulted in me dodging the section that day. I’m not saying that because I exercised I didn’t have a tough labour (I did, alarm bells rung frequently) I’m just saying exercise is my thing. Pregnant or not pregnant it’s my thing, it’s how I relax.
As for those 3 ladies I met along my run that day, I’ve bumped into their kind many times since I’ve become a mother. Their in Supermarket Ques, Doctor surgeries, playgroups you name it, handing out their judgements & tutting. Thankfully my skin is after getting thicker in the past 3 years. I now spend less time upset by comments made by people who have no filter, no manners & no big picture thinking & more time focusing solely on my own race.