Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stepping Up

Here's a comparison from the week previous to this post.
No stretch marks yet, but I was scratchy before the picture.
I have slowly been gaining energy over the past few weeks, and with Spring upon us, I get the help of nice weather between rainy days to get out the door instead of grumbling about another day on the treadmill in my basement. I am so thankful for access to a treadmill in my own home. It can be boring, and it is nowhere near as good for the mind as being outside, but I am truly thankful to have the option especially now that I don't get to do whatever I want whenever I want. And I know that it will come in handy with a small baby in the house when I am trying to get back to the old me after pregnancy.

Running is once again not really an option, but I am doing my very best to walk every single day. As I have mentioned before, I have pretty severe sciatica, which is often worsened by running, and I have to see a chiropractor regularly when I'm not pregnant just because running takes a toll on my imbalanced hips. Now that I am pregnant, I am seeing my chiropractor SUPER regularly... twice a week regularly. And still I end up out of alignment when I run, and occasionally even when I don't. My hips are popping all the time, so there are times when I am in pain practically as soon as I walk out the door from the chiropractor's office. Running just isn't happening for me during this pregnancy. I ran a couple times a week and walked the other days at first, but the pain and sleepless nights just aren't worth it right now. I NEED my sleep. So walking it is. When you can run, then run. When you can walk, then walk. That's what I keep telling myself.

The other downside is that I seem to have a really great, high-energy day followed by a tired, low-energy day. The fun part lately has been trying to beat the hubs in steps every week on our Garmin Connect. We both have Vivofits, and I may be pregnant, but he has a desk job, so we both have to put in some actual effort to win. I am getting pretty close to averaging 10,000 steps a day, which would have been nothing at all pre-pregnancy, but after all the time I spent sleeping and throwing up during the first trimester and first month of the second trimester, I am just so thankful to be moving and productive again. Body image is still a major issue for me because I am running out of shirts that fit, I've already been wearing maternity pants for awhile, and I am really starting to gain weight since I didn't really gain much with all the throwing up I did through the first 20 weeks or so. I really am looking forward to the day that I am no longer housing my child inside my body. I am looking forward to holding him and loving him from the outside.
Pre-pregnancy Shoe Shot
Pregnancy Shoe Shot...barely...
Don't mind my surgical scars!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Runner's Rambles: Pregnant Rambles 2.0

So how have things been going this week? Well, I finally shared a full-on picture of my pregnant belly, which has brought an onslaught of body image issues again. I haven't seen my family in a few months, and I'm taking online classes this semester, so there are just a handful of friends who have seen me recently. This has been coupled with feelings of sadness that running for me throughout the rest of this pregnancy is not going to be the running I usually do in the Spring and Summer. There are STILL so many times that I don't really realize that I'm pregnant. It doesn't seem entirely real lots of days except for the limitations that I experience. It has just been such a bizarre experience so far, so let's just explore it a little today.

So body image issues have resurfaced full force. When I look in the mirror, I keep catching myself thinking, and sometimes saying aloud, "I wish I was skinny still." That is actually comical in itself because before I was pregnant, I have never in my WHOLE LIFE described myself as "skinny." Pre-pregnancy, I would probably describe my body as "not quite chubby." I was always sort of just slightly smaller than being described as a chubby, not fat, but chubby person. Now, I keep feeling like I am slacking off and just letting myself get "fat." I know deep down when I actually stop to really think about it that I am not "fat;"  I'm pregnant. It's just so hard for me to reconcile the reality with the thoughts that run though my head when I see myself. There's also the issue that I feel like I am HUGE for the stage I'm in. I know every body is different during pregnancy, but I just feel like I'm so much bigger than I should be at this stage. And then there's the fear that I will never be ok with my body again after giving birth, but I'm sure that's a journey I will share with you as it unfolds.

I just want to take a second to get out some more feelings about general pregnancy before I transition into my current pregnant running update. I know that I have done quite a bit of complaining about pregnancy. And I know that there are people who are angry with me for expressing my feelings so far. I get it. I do. I know that there are some women who desperately want a child, but cannot have biological children. I am very close with some women in that situation. I know some women have had miscarriages, and I am close with some women who have experienced that tragic loss as well. I am not in their situation, so I haven't felt that deep aching sorrow. At the same time, this is my journey. And I feel like I have a right to express my feelings and experience as well. Here's a big part of the reason for my being very vocal; I didn't really know anything about pregnancy! I thought I did! Turns out that I didn't. There have been some things that I've heard about from friends, family, and movies and whatnot, but there are SO MANY things that nobody ever actually gave a real picture of to me when I learned things about pregnancy over the years. And yes, every pregnancy is different. And YES, I have had it relatively easy when you consider some women are hospitalized for different reasons or put on long-term bed rest, but as I said, though I am thankful that I was able to conceive a child, and I have had relatively few issues so far, I still feel like I should be able to voice my experience, and maybe other women who hear my story will gain a few tidbits that nobody else shared with them, and they will feel better knowing they are not the only one to have that experience.

Last thing on general pregnancy: Why do we as a society feel the need to constantly tell pregnant women that they will "miss it," and "it's all worth it," and other similar phrases? Why isn't it ok to just tell someone, "yeah, that part sucks."And why are there so many men who will never be pregnant and women who have never been pregnant who feel the need to repeat those annoying phrases!? Also, I will let the world know if I change my mind, but I don't believe for one second that I will miss being pregnant. Seriously! Why? I love my child already, and I get that this is what it takes, and it doesn't mean I won't love my child just because I don't like being pregnant. The best analogy I can conjure up right now is that my husband HATES grad school. Will the reward be worth the suffering he is going through now? YES! Will he regret having a Master's degree? No. Will he look back one day and think, "Boy, grad school was so uncomfortable and miserable, and I really miss working nearly 50 hours a week AND going to grad school on top of that." I really don't think I'll ever hear him say that. Again, I get it. Not exactly the same, but isn't it possible that some women just don't enjoy pregnancy even though they love their children? I do believe they are not mutually exclusive.

Also, if one more person asks me about my future reproductive plans while I am STILL pregnant with the first one, then I might just seriously snap. DO NOT EVER EVER EVER ask a woman, man, or couple about their reproductive plans or situation unless you are their healthcare provider or entering into a serious relationship with the person. DON'T DO IT!!!! Why is that so hard for people to understand? Alright, I lied. That was one more thing beyond the last one. But just stop if you are one of those people. You never know what a person is going through, and IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!! If a person wants to talk about their reproductive choices or situation, then they will tell you. If they don't invite you into a conversation about it, then DON'T ASK!

Now let's talk about running briefly since I went on a pregnancy rant. But hey, I'm pregnant, so it happens. I made the mistake of continuing to take Lucy with me. She just gets so sad when she sees me getting ready and can tell I'm not getting her ready to go too. I feel so bad. I know that I need to start taking her out for just a regular walk and then do my "run" separately, but it is so hard to fit everything in some days. It is so frustrating as it continues to become more Spring-like, to go out to run and to end up having to do a lot of walking. And I am only going out for a mile at a time most days. In the past, I have actually felt uncomfortable calling myself a runner even though I've been running for a few years, I have a blog, I'm a lifetime member of Half Fanatics, I've completed a marathon, and I worked in a running store. I'm normally slow. I'm a back of the packer, so even though I talk about running all the time, I still never REALLY felt comfortable calling myself a runner. And even though running has been an integral part of my life for a few years now, I didn't really realize how much until I found myself in a place where it has become increasingly difficult to continue doing what I love. If I hadn't been so miserably sick during the first and part of the second trimester, then I think I would be in a different situation now, but it is what it is, and I think in the near future I will need to resign myself to being ok with walking. For now, I will just try to be thankful for what I can do even if it is EXTRA slow and filled with walk breaks.

That was a long one! Sorry!!