The books, the articles, the information from my doctor about pregnancy all say about the same thing:
- keep your heart rate below 140
- don't lift anything over 20 pounds
- you can do what you did prior to pregnancy.
The problem is, that is not me. Let me tell you what I was doing prior to getting pregnant. I was deadlifting 200 lbs, squatting 150 lbs, and I can farmer carry a 70 lb kettlebell in each hand for long distances with no problem. I can push my husband's Toyota 4Runner just like the men in our group, just as far and just as long.
And now you want me to not lift anything over 20 lbs? My purse (which doubles as a book bag for my books to be reviewed) weighs 18 lbs by itself. I tried to explain this to the first doctor I saw when I went in to the Army medical center for my orientation and "welcome" visit. She acted like I had said I was going to take up sword swallowing during my pregnancy. She suggested I drop strength and conditioning all together and try sometime "fun"... like Zumba.
I left the doctor's office thinking, "man, I am a terrible mom already". I chewed on this problem the rest of the day. When my husband got home, I explained to him what the doctor said. This is our first baby, and we are both a little nervous about messing something up so we decided to wait until our next doctor appointment and ask the next one what is appropriate. For two weeks I did mobility exercises and stretching, but that is it. For a person that has been training hard five days a week for almost a year, that was really hard. I felt weak, sloppy, and gross.
When I went back in to my next doctors visit (where I saw a brand new doctor) I asked what the limitations are, what I should or should not be doing. I explained about being terrified of messing up our kid. Here are a list of questions I wrote down during my minor panic moments:
- Vaccinate or not?
- To do the vitamin K shot or not?
- Do we co-sleep or not?
- Is this bedding the safest?
- Are the slats in this crib too small,will his/her fingers get caught in them?
- How early should we start memory verses?
- Should he/she play sports?
- What home school curriculum should we follow?
- Piano or violin?
- Where will the baby go to college?
And that is all once that baby is here, that doesn't have anything to do with the time while I am sharing my body with him/her. So with all these things that I could possibly mess up when the kid gets here, I wanted to understand what I can do to prevent messing him/her up by my physical training. My new doctor all but laughed at me. She said I was WAY too stressed out. Her recommendation was to take my PRs (my personal records) and take 15% off. Those are my new "pregnancy" limits. I then base all my numbers for each week off of my new lowered PR numbers.
I took her advice. I am not "pushing" the limits by any means. No more PRs for me until after the baby is born. I still lift, I still get to work and develop my body. The doctor assured me that it is perfectly safe for me and the baby. So imagine my surprise when after posting a status on facebook I received some really ugly feedback. I posted a status directed towards my friends in the Killeen/Fort Hood area inviting them to come to train at our house. The attacks did come directly to my status but rather as nasty little personal messages. I had two friends from high school who told me (in two separate messages) that I was endangering the life of my baby. I had a woman that I went to church with a couple of years ago told me that I was being irresponsible and putting my wants above the safety of my child. I had a family member message me and tell me that I shouldn't allow my pride about weight gain during pregnancy endanger my child.
My heart hurt reading those things. I went back and forth about the idea that maybe I am making the wrong choice. What if these people are right? What if I am hurting my baby? So, I did the only thing I know to do when I am lost: I pray. So I spent a couple of days using my quiet time to ask God what the right answer is. What is the right choice? After a lot of prayer, careful consideration, and an appointment with another new doctor I decided to continue with my training. I will be ignoring the naysayers, the people sitting on the sidelines critiquing other people. I know what my body is feeling, I know the research, and I know what God has placed on my heart.
No amount of ugly messages or unsolicited advice will break my spirit again. I will continue to chronicle my journey through this pregnancy, training included.