One of the most difficult things for me to accept about my pregnancy is that it is simply not possible to maintain my pre-pregnancy level of fitness. Even though I power walk almost every day and have continued my morning stretch and workout routines, I know at the end of these nine months I’ll be lucky if I can run a mile, let alone 13.
Not only has my calorie burning nosedived in the last trimester, but my calorie intake feels like it’s doubled. I don’t own a scale, and with good reason due to our hate/hate relationship, so I can’t be sure how much weight I’ve gained in the last three months. It seems like a lot. My pants don’t fit. My stomach doesn’t look pregnant yet, it just looks mushy. Given the form-fitting outfits I prefer the future does not bode well.
Luckily for me, for every race I ran in the last two years I received an over-sized T-shirt. Now that I’m a little thicker in the middle I’m finally getting some use out of them. Not only do my T’s convey to people I see running around the park every morning when I go out for my walk that I at least USED to be in shape (“Hey, look, another Bronx Half-Marathon tank!”) but no one can really tell what’s going on underneath. I’m not ashamed of being pregnant, but I am ashamed of looking pudgy–and of not running.
To be quite frank, I’ve been avoiding a co-worker who I also see trotting around the park in preparing herself for the NYC Marathon I was going to run as well. I suppose I could just tell her and she would understand, but it’s more complicated than that. I’ve given up a dream. Running the marathon was a short-lived dream, to be sure, especially considering I had no interest in it until everyone else was signing up for it. It became a bigger deal when no one else got into the lottery and I did. I was the only one. I was chosen.
The upshot of all this is that I get to have a baby. I say “get to” because I realize not everyone does. And not everyone wants to. Right now I cower in the transverse that cuts through the center of the park afraid someone I know will look at me disapprovingly because I’m merely walking not running. In reality no one else is disapproving of me but me. I’ve worked all my life to be able to run 13 miles at a time, and now I’ve moved on to another project it seems I’ve been waiting my whole life to begin. In a way, it’s like I’ve lost a best friend. Running was there for me during all the highs and lows of my life. I disapprove of myself for letting all the work I’ve put in slide, fearing I’ll never be able to again achieve that level of fitness.
I’ve seen it happen so often, and it’s understandable. I have so little free time now that I can’t imagine when I’ll find the time to exercise once I have a child. People do it, though–I see them running around the park with their baby joggers.
Oddly enough, everyone else seems to have faith in my ability to jump back into fitness except for me. My parents have already determined that the best shower gift for me would be a baby jogger. My husband claims he will work out a schedule with me so we can both train for the marathon in 2007 and run it together. I guess he hasn’t thought who will watch our child while we hoof it around the 5 boroughs, but I’m sure we’ll manage.
The one thing that makes it all worth it is seeing my baby on a sonogram. Apparently he/she is quite active, which gives me nothing but satisfaction. I feel as if my activeness is feeding the baby’s. This sentiment has motivated me to get up every day and keep at it, even if I’m not running. To him/her it doesn’t seem to make any difference, so why should it to me?
Author by Jennifer Jordan