We’ve all heard about the awkward things that people say and do to pregnant women. At 7-months, I am unquestionably pregnant and everyone from the woman in line at Starbucks to the Italian man attending an education course at my work has compliments, enthusiasm or tips on “how-to” raise a child and wrap-up a healthy pregnancy.
I know that the intentions are good. But, it is exhausting and sometimes a true “What the F” experience.
Here are my top 5 from this weekend:
5. I’m waiting for my half-decaf, short Flat White at Starbucks. I need it. I have been up since 5:15 to take a hike before setting 2 workshops and helping S and his pal pull a bunch of product.
I have been a lovely and an amazing host to 60 trainers and 7 coaches for the last 6 hours and need a re-set to get through the next 3.
“How far along are you?” Says a petite woman who can’t be over 34.
“Oh! You are so tiny.”
This bugs the crap out of me. I am not tiny. I am 5’4” and close to 120 when I am not pregnant. I happen to carry well and have not gained an excessive amounts of weight. I don’t respond.
“What I meant to say is that I carried just like you. I have three children and was all belly!”
Now I am interested. She looks fantastic and I love knowing that she was looking for what we had in common and not being critical. Turns out she has a 21-year old, 17-year old and 6-year old. She got pregnant at 15 -- I was not far off with her age.
4. Après Barre class at the gym. A few fellow instructors are hanging out and I walk over to say “hi.”
“Are you even pregnant? You’re way too small.”
This is straight from the mouth of the woman who is known for giving back-handed compliments.
“Really? I was at the doctor today. It’s a healthy pregnancy and she is just the right size."
“When I was pregnant, I gained 60 pounds.”
“I ate whatever I wanted.”
“Cool, we must like different food.”
“I think you’re too small.”
I am over it. Unless she’s a cycling instructor with a PhD, she needs to shut it.
“Seems that as fitness professionals and colleague’s, we should celebrate and support each other and model healthy behavior for the members.
Daggers shoot from her eyes and I quickly bail. My words are supported by 2 “High-Five” emoji’s from the other gals.
3. Lunch-break on Sunday, the Italian trainer asks how far along I am.
“I have a five-year old. This is the only advice I will give you. Sleep when she sleeps. Seriously. Don’t clean up, watch TV, hang out with your partner. Go to sleep. Do not let her sleep in your room. No matter what you do, do not let her sleep in your room. This will destroy your relationship. Decide who will get up each night and stick to it. Put her on a schedule. Food. Naps. Bedtime. Wake-up. Every day. And stick to it. Feed her how you eat. We let our girl try soda when she was three. She thought it was disgusting. When she was four, she had it at a friend’s house and now loves it because they love it. Eat how you eat. She won’t know the difference.”
2. Apres Barre part two. There is a new woman in class. She’s been there a few times and I have decided she is French. She wears white and usually has a scarf. As I am patiently waiting to put my things away -- she’s in my way. I tap her (she has no idea there is a line behind her) and she quickly moves to let the group get on with their days.
Outside, she asks how far along I am. And then proceeds to give me a giant hug and cradle my belly.
“Do you know what you’re having?”
“Yes. A girl.”
“Do you have a name?”
“Yes, it’s T –Scottish for “Beautiful.”
“That is beautiful! I have never heard that before.”
And, she hugs me again.
1. It’s Saturday afternoon. I am at work and now that both workshops are in motion and S is gone, I am using the time to get ahead on work. Since I’ve hosted both groups a few times, there are some repeat attendees.
A woman walks in who I have met several times. She is very sweet and engaged to one of the educators. She sees me, looks at my belly and shrieks. Here we go.
“Ahhhhhhh. You’re pregnant! Are you excited?! Oh my God. I can’t believe it. You must be so happy!”
She goes in for the belly. She’s beaming. And, I am working so I need to be nice.
But. Then. She kisses it. My stomach. Three times.
I am shocked. Who does that? I can’t even react.
Next, she tugs my shirt to see my belly.
“There’s a BABY in there! I can’t believe it. You must be so excited!”
I pull my shirt down and ask her about her upcoming wedding.
It’s the right distraction. I am in shock as she babbles away.
There you have it. Not only is my body out of my functional control, it’s apparently up for grabs and out of my social control. Although none of it feels sketchy, it is beyond bizarre.
It’s nice to hear other people’s excitement and it’s clear that parents love to share their experience. Since it’s not harmful, I will try to enjoy the attention and tactfully protect my belly!
Since 2000, I’ve worked within the fitness and training industry. My roles have been diverse—including gym manager, fitness editor, go-to-market manager (for the third largest global footwear company) and today, I am director of partnerships and events for a sporting goods manufacturer.
Needless to say, fitness and activity is part of my daily routine and I am used to living in a predictable body. That’s over!
Getting out of the car is hard. Getting out of bed is hard. Picking things up from the floor is hard. Finding a comfortable sleeping position is impossible. I still exercise everyday but, instead of teaching Indoor Cycling, taking Tabata or doing yoga, I hike (well, walk on trails), take Barre class and modify/limit my weight training so that I am not lifting heavy or doing anything rotational.
I am happy that I have not lost my fitness-community. I love the support that I get from other women who have had children and applaud my belly—and the men who know I can still “keep pace” with lower loads. My instructor and trainer friends have watched my belly’s progress and I think I am setting a good example for the pre-natal ladies showing them “how-to” scale, modify and stay committed.
I just passed 29 weeks and am sporting a sweet little “soccer ball” belly. From the front and behind, I barely look pregnant – the side is another story. My doctor says my weight is fine and that I can expect another 8 to 12 pounds in the next 8 weeks. It’s hard not to want to move this all forward faster. And, if I decide to gain all the weight this week, it won’t make Baby T come any earlier.
It’s hard to believe that I am in the final stretch. The next few weeks are going to fly by based on work and social commitments and then we will have a newborn. Bananas. My sixth appointment is today at 9:30. Now that I live in Oceanside, I go to that clinic. I hope they do better this time.
The receptionist is nice and navigating a new check-in system. They are running 10-minutes behind. Annoying but understandable. The intake is the same, weight, pregnancy test, vitals and a brief chat with the NP.
I have gained 12 pounds in total. She is still fine with this. I can expect to put on 12 more in the next 2 months for baby, placenta, liquid and even bigger breasts! My vitals are nails and the results from the blood panel are in. I am not anemic. In fact, my iron levels are in the healthy range.
This is such a miracle and a testament to what healthy eating and reasonable exercise can do to heal the body. When I was anemic, I was running 30-50 miles a week, eating a low-calorie/high-carb diet and drinking 5 to 6 days a week. I smoked when bartending and it is unlikely that I slept more than 5 hours a night -- in addition to my full-time job, I bartended late and taught Indoor Cycling early. Why? I have no idea. It was a different time. And at that time, more was better.
As my pregnancy progresses, my choices naturally evolve. If I have taken a morning hike, I must make a choice to avoid the gym in the afternoon. Yes, a bi-weekly Barre class and weekly Yoga class keep me sane and connected to my community. However, my priority is to rest and to enjoy my new home.
Time is moving too fast and too slow. The pace of check-ups accelerates to every 2 weeks and then to every week. It’s already time for the last ultrasound. Milestones come fast! But, nights are slow. I toss and turn through most of them which makes the week feel like it drags on.
At night, I consider what kind of mother I want to be. And, I don’t know. I mull over where she will sleep and where the animals will sleep. I worry if she will breastfeed easily or if she will be colicky. I don’t need to know any of this today. When I let it go, I drift off.