Believe it or not, there are some out there today that would be questioning something hundreds of thousands of pregnant women likely did today – viewed the eclipse. There are legends/myths/stories throughout many cultures that said that pregnant women should NOT be outside during an eclipse, and it would result in everything from crooked joints to cleft organs, and I have definitely seen the question raised in various pregnancy groups over the last few days. But, alas, I will still go outside and view (through glasses, of course) this event, even if there are a few people out there that would make a case for staying indoors.
This last weekend was different though. I did something that far fewer people do, and that many more people (quite openly) questioned my judgement for doing. I completed a triathlon. At 7 months pregnant. ½ mile open water swim, 12 mile bike ride and a 3.5 mile walk. Why? Why did I do it? I did it for me. I did it for her. I did it for them. And I won’t apologize.
It surprises me (though maybe it shouldn’t) that anyone would think we take a single PAL decision lightly. Like I came up with the idea to do this race and, despite the fact that I am seeing both my midwife and maternal fetal medicine regularly, I wouldn’t clear it with my doctor. Like I would do something to jeopardize the health of my baby. I would argue so much to the contrary – I did this so that I could BE healthy for my baby. So that I could be strong. So that I could help do my best to avoid yet another induction. So that I could swim my stress away as I trained. So that I could give this baby something that is special for him. So that I could feel accomplished in a world that leaves me often feeling mediocre.
But that doesn’t stop people from commenting. “You need to rest.” “Be more careful in the future.” “That’s a lot of blood directed away from the baby.” Luckily, I didn’t let them get into my head because the race was done with and baby boy was happily kicking away. What I didn’t tell them is that I had already gotten into my own head – each time I began talking to myself as I rode or walked, checking to make sure I was still at a ‘comfortable conversation exertion level’. Or as I pumped myself full of sugary electrolytes after the race, and sat with my hands on my belly, waiting for my guy to move after two straight hours of being tucked securely behind my compression gear, lulled into a deep sleep. I didn’t let them know how many times it crossed my mind – what am I doing? What if this causes something terrible? I will be to blame.
But if I live my life, and this PAL journey, in fear, where will that get me? So I chose courage, and I chose strength, I chose to do something that made ME really, really, really proud. Me, and my baby in my belly, and my rainbow toddler running across the finish line with me and my daughter in my heart and the water I swam in and the air I breathed and the sky I looked up at. I did it for them, I did it for me. 10 weeks to go.