I have always been very active. From playing in the little boys football league at age 9, to getting through the Virgin triathlon in London Docklands dirty waters and a completing a marathon.
The other day I reached rock bottom. In a pleasant and almost liberating way.
I was using a reclining exercise bike at the gym was looking forward to a few minutes of spreading my legs wildly and panting. First when six minutes had past I noticed that I had not even turned on the machine. Zero resistance and yet I was sweating like a pig. I laughed contently.
Of course I miss high intensity training or even being able to go for a brisk walk these days. But at the same time it is a beautiful and very useful experience not being able to work out, to completely give into what my pregnant body wants, with not a thought on performance. Well, I guess my body does perform a miracle every day in producing this baby.
Sometimes I think that nature gave me early SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) for a reason. I simply had so such a long way to go in unlearning how to perform that I needed some extra help.
We sit along the walls of the small yoga room. The typical lovely and slighly confused yoga teacher has left the loud music on in the background, but I can still hear her ask everyone to share whether its their first baby and when they are due. At first I don’t find it uncomfortable at all – I’m not exactly shy.
But after the first and second woman share a due date several months ahead of mine, I panic. My bump is by far the biggest and I’m pretty much due later than everyone else in the room.
The whole room seems full of beautiful, perky little round bumps. I look down at my barrel shaped body and begins to cry.
To add to my misery I have terrible pelvic girdle- and back pain, apparently also because my tummy has grown so quickly, and cannot even sit cross-legged. I usually love to challenge myself physically and enjoy yoga but now I barely make it through the class, mostly lying on my side with a mountain of pillows around me. The breathing exercises become my thing.
On the way home, I start thinking how insensitive it was to expose these hormone fuelled, possibly hypersensitive pregnant ladies to this, right? But every non pregnant person I share this with look at me blank face.
Thankfully I have never suffered from a distorted body image or been particularly insecure about my appearance. Why did this affect me so much? Apart from the hormones that turn me into this irrational emotional package. And why is it even a bad thing that my bump is big? Shouldn’t I just be happy and proud that I’m pregnant? My wise partner tells me that surely it would have been worse if the bump didn’t until very late in the pregnancy, this does happen to some. Had I not been pregnant, I would most likely also be thinking in that way.
Today I found myself going through the washed, folded and sorted baby clothes. Again. (I obviously also have an Excel document to keep on top of what we have in different sizes – doesn’t everyone?).
To my dismay I found myself thinking that I have to buy more monochrome bodysuits to match all the patterned trousers. Grr! I really didn’t want to become this person. Surely that’s not important? I blame the pregnancy hormones and blindly trust that I’ll get my priorities straight once the baby comes.
- Why do I get upset over the size of my bump during pregnancy yoga?
- Will having a baby make the old performance anxiety to flare up again?
- Why is it frowned upon to have entrepreneurial plans during maternity leave?
- How do I avoid getting stuck in the baby gadget-trap?
I’m pregnant with our first child and it has triggered a lot of thoughts around conformity, society norms and stress. It seems pregnancy and parenthood often comes with a big helping of self-judgment and doubt.
What will it be like for me? This blog is an experiment. I want to use it for reflection around stress from comparing yourself with others, conformity and expectations of society on parents. I plan to write about pregnancy hang-ups, the pregnancy body, health and parenthood. But also about start your own business during early parenthood and about performance anxiety.
Hopefully I learn a lot that I can use in my role as a professional coach. Perhaps this blog will become a sort of vaccine against parental stress or instead work as fertiliser in the hotbed of comparison stress. Let’s see.