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!! 

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