If you’ve read my exercise during pregnancy blog, you’ll realise that I am not ready to hang up my trainers and start aqua aerobics just yet, but wowzers, am I being judged for it and receiving everyone’s opinions on pregnancy!
I’m still keeping up regular exercise, now at twenty five weeks pregnant, but I am not a complete idiot. I know not to push myself for the risk of hurting my unborn baby (or myself), so what’s with all of the dirty looks?As I keep reading and have been told by medical professionals, as long as there are no complications, taking moderate exercise throughout the nine months is good for both a healthy pregnancy, the labour itself, and can also help with the after-effects of having a baby.
So following this reliable medical advice, I’m keeping up low-impact exercise a couple of times a week, and have been heading out for a short and steady jog with my husband around once a week.
But recently (and I appreciate because my tummy is getting bigger each time), I seem to have become something of a spectacle in my local area.
It seems that by becoming pregnant, I’ve suddenly become public property for people to pass judgement on the way I look and pretty much any aspect of my lifestyle. I don’t remember any other time in my life that was acceptable for total strangers to openly comment on my body, decisions and hobbies!
I guess it’s because there is so much conflicting information out there about pregnancy, and that until you’re experiencing it yourself, you’re not fully clued-up on what you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy, but it still doesn’t make other’s opinions on pregnancy any less annoying.
In fact, it annoyed me so much I was beginning to think about times that I could do my exercise when it might be less busy so that I wouldn’t encounter these looks from passers-by.
And then I thought, ‘WTF? What am I thinking?! Why should I stop change what I enjoy, and what is not harming my pregnancy just because of ill-informed people I don’t even know?’.
It’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen.
I love being pregnant and I can’t wait for my baby to arrive. I also fully embrace that motherhood will change my life, my routines and my priorities, but I won’t let it become my identity.
Our baby will help to form our family and the change the people we are, but we won’t give up our personalities or relationship just because we’re parents and ‘that’s what you should do’. I think it’s healthy to set a good example to your child that hobbies are important.
So whether it’s your lifestyle, work schedule or exercise regime, if you’re also experiencing the same dirty looks, these are my tips to help you to retain your identity and not fall into the trap of taking to the sofa to just become ‘a pregnant’:
- Ignore the strangers – stare back at them or say ‘yes, I am pregnant – it’s not a disability, you know’.
- Carry on if it is safe to do so – don’t start something new or push it too hard, and always seek advice if you have any complications or aches and pains.
- Level with your friends or family – they will be concerned about everything you are doing at the moment, but point out that it’s ok and make sure they know you’re not overdoing it.
- Know your body – you’re probably always tired at the moment, but if you feel any discomfort or light-headedness, find an alternative activity, take it down a notch, or rearrange your diary to give yourself more time.
- Invest in a new wardrobe – don’t try to squeeze your new body shape into your old clothes as not only will that be uncomfortable, but it’ll give people even more to stare at!
- Take plenty of rest – it’s much harder to do most things with a baby on board, so if you feel you need to stop for a minute, do so. It’ll prevent you from giving up your hobbies completely.
- Always drink plenty of water – keep yourself hydrated for both you and baby.
- Reduce the impact – if it’s exercise you’re doing, jog slower, reduce distance, choose lower-impact alternatives in classes and concentrate on the non-danger zones (glutes, triceps, biceps etc).
- Grab a buddy – exercising with a partner will give you more confidence if you are judged. It’s safety in numbers really! If you’re at the gym, get the go-ahead of your instructor first so that others can see you’ve sought professional advice.
So in summary, it’s your pregnancy, it’s your body, and ultimately it’ll be your baby. I don’t advocate anything that puts you or your baby at risk, but just be sensible and don’t let others try to change you.