Pregnancy: The Good, The Bad, and The Running

222 Days down, 58 days to go. Or so my app tells me, as I lay on my sofa trying not to fall asleep at an absurdly early hour, while my stomach is assaulted from the inside by what feels like some kind of weird alien creature. I’m not sure that can be correct though, as I’m pretty confident that I have actually been pregnant for at least the last 2 decades!

Anyone who pays me more than a passing interest probably already knows that I have not exactly taken to being pregnant, although it seems that having this opinion is as bad as kicking puppies, drowning kittens or something equally dastardly. At best I’m told to appreciate the miracle my body is performing, and for the record I totally do, which doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the expanding waist line that comes along with it. At worst I’ve had veiled comments about how grateful I should be as other people aren’t so lucky, and this really is a case of don’t judge someone’s story on the chapter you walk in on. Yes I may not like being pregnant, I always knew I wouldn’t, I have far to much emotional baggage when it comes to my self image and self confidence, but I am eternally, incredibly, happy and grateful to have the chance to sit here hating how I feel and writing this.

For anyone still feeling judgemental here’s our story: after my first pregnancy ended in a  miscarriage which devastated us, we then spent well over a year failing to conceive again, with no idea if it would ever happen, or even if it could, while watching other people fall pregnant all around us. Perhaps I’d be less judged for being honest about pregnancy if I also told people about the times I cried and cried over yet another month failing to get pregnant in the first place. I am the 1 in 4 that lost a pregnancy and I am the 1 in 8 that struggled to conceive, and I am so happy and excited to be finally about to start a family, I can’t wait to meet my little girl, but this does not mean I have to enjoy being pregnant. It is an entirely valid point of view and here’s another little secret, many of the ladies I know who have actually been pregnant themselves have – shock horror – told me how much they too disliked it!

Some people do love being with child, but personally feeling fat, unattractive, tired, unable to find ANY decent clothes and having to deal with all of it without the aid of a glass of wine is not something I’m enjoying! I’m actually jealous of the people who enjoy it, but at least I have been lucky enough to be having a straightforward time of it, and I did title the blog the GOOD, the bad and the running so there is a little positivity for you!

The one thing I have been determined to do is keep as fit as possible throughout, which isn’t always easy when fatigue takes hold, or you’re uncomfortable, you need to pee every 5 minuets and just getting out of bed in the morning is a battle. I think I’ve done a reasonable job of it though, as I have been shamelessly documenting though my Instagram!

I carefully read all I could about exercising pregnant, checked blogs, articles, medical advice. Talked to my doctor, midwife, trainer, and husband before deciding what to do and what not to do, worried that this too was (is – I’ve had some looks!) something I would be judged harshly for. The prevailing opinion through my research is that you can continue to do pretty much anything you were already doing, but may need to dial down the intensity. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising, if you can’t, you’re working too hard! There are also a few modifications like not doing any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back, but taking all this into account I’ve not had to change my routine too much, just slow it down, and I don’t do anything if it feels uncomfortable.

Since getting pregnant I have managed to take part in about 13 different races, ranging anywhere from 10k’s up to half marathons, both on road and trail, including some night runs, although I did decided to withdraw from two, a full marathon, and a Brutal race that would have involved cold dirty water – which  for me was just not worth the risk.

I still get out and run a couple of times a week, although these runs are getting shorter and slower, and tend to follow the same 6km route around the park these days (there are lots of toilets there!). I have to walk more often and hills are the bane of my running life, but I’m still getting out there. I also still do a personal training session a week, which is half exercise, half personal therapy. My poor trainer probably knows more about me than anyone and has seen me through a lot, this pregnancy just being the latest in a long list over the past few years (Thanks Adam!) I  also do one or two circuit classes a week as well. It sounds a lot I guess, but it’s time well spent keeping me active, and will hopefully help with recovery after I give birth (something I’m avoiding thinking about at the moment, no point worrying for the next two months about something that is inevitable, she’s got to come out somehow after all!) It is also hopefully helping to control the pregnancy weight gain, because no matter how much people say not to worry about it, as a former fatty I do worry about it, a lot! Most of all it helps mentally, I would have gone stir-crazy had I needed to give up exercise for 9 months, as it does more than help keep the body healthy, it’s good for the mind too!

I get asked a lot when I will have to give up. “There must come a point when you will have to stop” and my answer is always “Not Yet” I don’t plan to stop, I may cut down, I will stop doing anything that doesn’t feel right to me, I will listen to my body, but all the time I can do something, I will. I’m not just keeping me healthy, I’m creating a healthy environment for my baby too, after-all I’m pregnant, not terminally ill!

The support I have received from the people I train with, as well as my family and friends has been immense, and I’m sure I will be able to continue to rely on it once the baby is born.. and I’m going to need it, because as soon as I’m recovered enough it will be time to start training for the 2019 London Marathon, as around 10 months postpartum, I’ll be taking on that 26.2 Miles, after deferring this year and I’m under no illusions that fitting in this training with a new baby is going to be easy. I’m sure it is going to throw up a whole new host of challenges, but I’ll meet them when they come, and I’ll be able to celebrate the achievement after with my newly growing family… and a lot of wine!

Finishing my most resent half marathon (28 weeks pregnant)