My blog is a little pregnancy and baby heavy right now.
I had been feeling a little torn about it, almost like I didn’t want to offend you as my reader if you weren’t interested in babies.
It was the same way I felt guilty about sending emails to those who have subscribed to my weekly (if I remember!) newsletter (Sign up by putting your email in the “Exclusive updates” box). I had been feeling like I was being a pest, rambling on about pregnancy and babies, when all you really wanted to hear was running advice you could use.
Last week, something dawned on me.
I realized (or should I say remembered) the reason my blog became popular in the first place. The reason my story went viral in the first place was because I was honest, open, and sharing with the world what I was going through, at that exact period in my life; my running struggles, my amenorrhea struggles, and now, my new life as a mother.
Yes, as a 2:36 marathoner, I will always be looked to for running advice, and part of my journey will involve my return to running. I plan on sharing everything I am going through as I get back to running and eventually get back to competitive running, but for now, this is where I am at, and actually, a lot of you are also in this stage too, or not far behind. I have become one of the faces of changing priorities from running to becoming a mother, so I have a feeling this will be relevant to a lot of you.
I wrote this blog post when I was early in my pregnancy. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I thought about submitting it to a pregnancy publication, but I didn’t know which one, or if they would be interested in it, so I put it aside…until now.
I have had many women reach out to me over the past few months, sharing how they followed my suggestions in my overcoming amenorrhea post and are now newly pregnant. It brings the BIGGEST smile to my face when these women choose to bravely share their news with me, sometimes as the first person they tell outside of their spouse/partner, which is an incredible honor. I realized how many women who follow me and my story might find this reassuring, to know you are not alone in these thoughts.
If you do not want to hear the pregnancy and baby updates, the podcast is still out every Friday, and that is always about running topics. And as I return to running in a few months, I will be sharing my entire postpartum fitness journey, so those posts will be back very soon. Don’t leave!
So here we go…
13 weeks pregnant already.
We are told, “time flies”, and other women were not lying!
My 6 week scan seems like it was years ago, and although I have done a lot in that time, as my belly begins to move from “has she just eaten a little too much at dinner” to “oh yeah, she’s pregnant” it is time for me to reflect on that first trimester.
Now, I want to write about the reflection, the good part (and the bad), you know, the parts people typically want to hear about, I loved reading those updates on friends blogs, and I have covered that.
But I would like to talk about a part that is not spoken about, a part that my frantic google searching found very little about other than on random forums, and who knows who is typing on there. You can find a forum on almost anything nowadays.
As I have become known for speaking my mind, for speaking up and sharing the truth, I wanted to write a little letter to all the newly pregnant ladies (and maybe guys, who knows!) out there.
The first 4 weeks you know you are pregnant are TERRIFYING.
That is the best word to describe it. You live in fear, yet you cannot tell people what is going on, so other than the select few who do know, you are mostly living in this fear alone, afraid to speak of it in case you “jinx” something.
So what is this fear about?
Well, lets first look at the situation most of us think will be the case when you find out you are pregnant. You know, what we see in the movies.
Girl finds out. Screams for joy (in the movie she wants to get pregnant, obviously…I am not talking about the one night stand accidental pregnancy movies) and then finds a creative way to tell her loving partner.
They cry together, jump up and down, tell all the family members who also cry and scream, and then the movie flashes forward to her being heavily pregnant, still “glowing”.
Where did the first trimester go?!
If you are lucky, they might show the token scene of where the woman is successful in her career, still working, but occasionally gets a sudden bout of nausea, throws up in a trash can, and then continues on with her day…and then they skip forward to the 35 week mark.
For those who know what I am talking about, this viewpoint of pregnancy skips out the part where you feel sick ALL DAY (not just for an hour in the morning), or the part where you are so exhausted you fall onto the couch multiple times a day. Or the part where you have to be the awkward person in the restaurant who asks the waitress what exactly is in their sandwich in case there are one of the many things you can’t have in there. Of course, they don’t mention the part where you start to bloat and look like you have a food baby permanently, yet you and everyone else around you knows that there is no way that is actually a baby bump yet…you just have eaten too much.
This doesn’t even begin to mention the hiding it from everyone else part.
I announced at 8 weeks, which made it relatively easy as I only had a few weeks, but most women wait till 12, not so easy to hide, especially when at social functions where everyone is wondering why you don’t have a drink in your hand.
None of those things I mentioned above though are uncommon or unheard of. Most of those are discussed regularly, and we know that it’s only a few weeks, just make it to that holy grail of 12 weeks, and you will be okay, that’s what we and others try to tell ourselves.
But there is another elephant in the room, bigger than all the others combined, and it fills your mind all day long, especially in those first few weeks, ESPECIALLY if you find out early. In some ways it is better to find out later, less time for worrying as you inch closer to the “safe” zone.
The fear of losing your baby.
Immediately when you find out you are pregnant (or maybe even before) you become a google MACHINE. Everything and anything you could possibly search for related to pregnancy, you will, and you don’t even care that the government is watching you, you just want what is best for your unborn child.
You start to judge everything you have done in the past 4 weeks, cursing yourself for having a drink for a birthday celebration, wondering what damage you did when you ate sushi yesterday, and stress, well, we all know stress is the king of destroying our health, so surely I must have messed this up stressing over that big argument I had with my spouse last week.
It won’t be long before you stumble upon (or maybe your doctor tells you) the rates for miscarriage, and just how high they are.
My doctor told me 25%, the day I found out I was pregnant.
One in four.
At first you brush it off. I won’t be one of those people, I am going to look after myself and my little poppy seed. I am going to be healthy, and get rest, and do everything I can.
Until google informs you that for the most part, it really isn’t anything to do with what you are doing, it has almost been predetermined the moment you conceive whether you will or not. If something is not quite right, the pregnancy will not continue, and you will have to try again.
Nature’s way of protecting us, if our little love is not strong enough to survive on the outside world, better to save it heartache later.
Although this should help, ease your mind that you didn’t screw this all up by having a few drinks, it doesn’t.
Instead, you spend every waking minute praying everything is okay. Every time you go to the bathroom, you take a deep breath before you look down, hoping you don’t see anything in there. Every time you feel any kind of pain anywhere between your chest and thighs, your mind jumps to the worst possible scenario and you fear it has happened to you.
You are too afraid to tell even your partner this fear, as the more you say it, maybe you are putting it out there into the universe, making it more likely to happen.
So you count down the minutes of every day, just wishing it away so you can be to the “safe” zone.
You almost hope for morning sickness, I know I did, knowing that it was a good sign that there was a healthy baby in there. Knowing that is SO messed up to be wishing constant nausea on yourself, but then at least you have some kind of indicator that everything is okay.
So to all those women in early pregnancy, this is for you. I don’t have a solution. I don’t have a way to stop your mind buzzing or make the time go by faster, but one thing I will say is that it does pass, and you are not alone.
If something does happen, it is NOT your fault, it is your body’s way of protecting you and your future child. As much as we would want them to join us in this world, they would be in so much distress, it would not be any kind of life for them.
I have not been through miscarriage, so I do not want to give any advice on it, but there are a lot of great resources out there for you.
One thing I will say is that as much as you can, limit the amount of time you spend on Google. Yes, it might give you the immediate satisfaction of an answer and we LOVE that, but the chances are, it will also spark some other irrational fears that would never have entered your brain otherwise. If you are concerned, speak to your doctor or midwife, they are the experts here, not random people in forums.
I just wanted to say to all the women who are in early pregnancy, although time may seem like it’s taking forever, try to enjoy the last part of normalcy in your life, as once the fatigue and nausea hits, it will be difficult to do anything other than sleep and survive.
Every day those fears will ease just a little bit, just try to focus on enjoying the fact that you are pregnant, you could conceive, and that in itself, is a wonderful miracle.
Your journey will unfold for you the way it was always meant to.
Oh, and one more thing:
If you are pregnant right now (or thinking about trying to become pregnant), make sure you go get my Pregnant and Postpartum Podcast series, will answer every question you could have about fitness and pregnancy. These experts are amazing, and I literally asked them the questions I wondered myself as I went through it. Will be so helpful for you on yoru journey, promise!