Sunday, August 28, 2011

On not being superwoman

I definitely imagined myself as one of those awesome hardcore pregnant women.  Like Pharmie, who ran a MARATHON on the day she found out she was with-Henry, an to 40 weeks, and is back to running 9-milers at 9 weeks post-partum.  My Mum had fairly easy pregnancies, so I hoped morning sickness would pass me by,  I'd eat plenty of fruit and veges the whole time, and I'd keep up with something somewhat resembling my normal exercise schedule.

Yeah, ummm, no.

It started with the fear.  It set in as soon as I saw the second line, and basically got worse and worse until about 11 weeks in.  The morning after the positive test I was out on a slow, slow morning run.  Rationally, I knew that running was not going to shake the tiny blob of cells loose, but the scared pregnant woman in me was having none of that.  I think I ended up with about 25 minutes on the clock.  I was able to quell the fear enough to keep active-ish, and even to do some "running", but I couldn't bring myself to let my HR drift above 140, even though I knew that rule had been debunked several years ago.  It didn't help that every book had a different answer!

Next came work.  The day after I found out I was pregnant, a client got sued with urgent proceedings, and from then on it was go go go.  It wasn't like my Wellington/Auckland hours, but there were lateish nights and weekends, and it was a shock to the system.   Now, normally I'm not too bad at fitting it in anyway- sneaking out for 6pm runs, getting up in the morning, etc but...

There was also the fatigue.  I'd read that pregnancy makes you tired.  And, hey, it makes sense.  Embryos and foetuses, they grow pretty quickly.  But I kind of read "you'll be tired" as "you might need to get to bed a bit earlier, and some weekends you might want a nap", and thought "hey, I'm used to being tired.  I've worked crazy hours while training for marathons and half ironmans.  Tired is my middle name".  Turns out I was wrong.  And I apologise in restrospect to every pregnant woman I have ever known.  Because fatigue does not even come close to describing it.  I felt like I had been hit by a bus (not seriously... cos that would suck a whole lot more than being really freaking tired).  I'd be worn out by lunchtime if I spent a weekend day "doing stuff".  At about 6 weeks, my sister and brother in law visited, and we went for a wander into the Farmers' Market, and a potter around town.  During our 2ish hour expedition, I needed a rest and a snack, and by the time we were heading home, I had to ask the others to slow down, because I could no longer walk fast enough.  I managed to help with lunch, but it was a couple of hours before I could face getting up afterwards.  And that was before things got hard.  Basically, on a good day, I could get through an hourish long run/walk as long as I had something to drink, but I couldn't guarantee that I'd get through the rest of the day.  Add work to the mix, and it was a mess.

And lastly, the nausea.  I had it pretty easy, it seems.  I only threw up twice, and one of those times hardly counted. But I felt sick pretty much all day every day from about weeks 8-12.  Well, all day EXCEPT when I was eating carbs.  Preferably salty.  A bit fatty, even better.

And so instead of getting to 13 weeks sporting a pert wee bump and a pair of cute running shorts, I'm sporting 5kg of bonus chub, and I'm out of clothes.

But I have kept things up a bit.  There have been bad weeks, but I have done between 2 and 7 sessions per week (1-5 hours), of swimming, walk/running, spinning and weights.  And although I've eaten 5kg worth of carbs, that's been on top of a balanced diet, with plenty of calcium, protein and leafy greens, not instead of it. 

And now, I'm moving into the second trimester full of grand plans and best intentions- but also a bit more reality.

PS This sounds like a whiny post.  Correction; this IS a whiny post.  But please, please know how happy I am to have been feeling so bad.  I would not change this for all the tea in China.  I just want to tell the truth about what goes on, because it seems to me that we too often downplay the ghastliness of early pregnancy, leading to an unfortunate "harden up"/superwoman culture.  Some women are superwomen,  but in pregnancy it seems it may be more about luck than anything else.


Rachel Harris said...

Ahhh, that made me smile... all those memories.  I read somewhere recently that if you hear someone is pregnant and you feel nothing but pity, then you know you're over your maternal instincts - and your symptoms have just reminded me that my instincts ran out a while back!!  You're allowed to have a whine because pregnancy can be very unpleasant - there were a few times when I would have gladly turned back the clock.   :-)

Mike Scott said...

Didn't come across as whiny to me ... and even if it was you would have good reason to whine! ... I've always been thankful that I don't have to go through the pain of childbirth (if I was a woman I wouldn't let a bloke near me!) but I think I can add 'not having to go through the first trimester' to the 'Thank Gawd I'm a Man' list ... btw ... Jo say's on the evidence presented so far 'it' is definitely a girl :) 

sarah (the SHU box) said...

this post could NOT have come at a better time!!!  thank you kate :)  i feel so much less alone in my non-super-woman status!

Lisa @ Bakebikeblog said...

I say good on you for keeping it real!!!!! :)