Let me preface this piece with a story that I will never forget. In fact, it’s the reason I struggle to write about pregnancy, knowing the issues many encounter throughout the entire experience.
I was only dying to conceive; to test positive when taking a pregnancy test; to have a third child. And, though it’s an extremely personal part of our lives, it finally happened. And, then, it failed. I miscarried.
To try to take my mind off of it for even a minute, I scheduled a manicure for the following day. As I sat in the chair struggling to catch my breath from sadness, someone I knew walked in. She was 34 weeks pregnant. Before she even spoke, I stared at her, envious and wondering why it couldn’t be me. And, then, she said hello, and started on a rant about how uncomfortable she was, and miserable, and ready to for it to be over.
Tears welled up in my eyes. I would have done anything to be in her shoes. To be pregnant, healthy, and glowing. I do not blame her. She would never have intended to upset me. But, since, I have been sensitive to those who have mishaps, struggles, and complications in an attempt to have a child.
So, as I begin to delve into my own personal psychological battles, I recognize and acknowledge how lucky I am; that I would much prefer to be where I am today, to do whatever it takes, and to have a third child. But, even in these situations, which we often take for granted, I can’t help but have lingering issues that recur from my past. And, I will fight to shut them down. Because the gift of conception and pregnancy is the most significant experience I will ever endure.
If you put makeup on every single morning before leaving your house… And you were told you could not wear makeup for a lengthy period of time.
If you have routinely shaved each day for years… And you were told you have to take a break from shaving.
If you have an alcoholic drink or glass of wine every single night… And you were told you have to stop drinking.
If you exercised everyday… And you were told you could not workout.
Well, that just happened to me.
And, let me first start by explaining the complex aspects of this doctor’s order. I have exercised every single morning for years. It is, no doubt, my vice. Granted, there have been many days in there I have been sick or unable to exercise, but I was physically unable to perform any activity, even if attempted. There have been times I have had a sore hip, and to assure I didn’t do further damage, I made sure to do machines that didn’t perpetuate the pain to fulfill my void of running. But, I can’t remember a time I have felt perfectly healthy and prepared to run, but cannot. Not to mention, it is the week transitioning into warm, gorgeous sunny weather in Maryland when sidewalks are filled with walkers, runners, and bikers.
People have repeatedly preached over the years that I need to rest my body, take it easy, both pregnant and not pregnant. Relaxing has never been something I have embraced. I only know to be active, busy, and on the move.
But, you won’t see me out there running. I have been placed on temporary rest in week 13 of my pregnancy to prevent potential issues down the line. And, there is no question I understand this is for the pure health of this baby, in which I would do anything for, but still, thoughts and feelings can’t help but circulate through my head. And, it is during a time my body is changing, my stomach is growing, and my weight is increasing.
For a person who applies makeup each morning, she may feel more beautiful, excited to start her day, and ready solely based on routine. If taken from her, she may not feel like herself, her confidence may lack, or she may feel like her skin is getting damaged for each day that passes and she doesn’t apply her daily regimen.
For a person who shaves each and everyday, one becomes used to that soft, smooth, and silky feeling on one’s skin. The mere thought of hair stubbles and growth can feel cringe-worthy. And, beyond that, the routine of actually shaving being omitted from the daily schedule may feel odd and unusual.
For me, taking exercise out of my daily routine has raised anxiety. I looked around this morning wondering what the hell I should do during the morning hours I usually spend running, cooling off, and then showering. And, really, what was the point of even showering if I wasn’t sweaty? I didn’t smell, my hair was dry, and I was clothed. Before I even address the psychological challenges I face regarding my body image and weight, it has completely screwed up my daily routine and has thrown me in a complete tizzy.
On top of my routine being messed up, which can feel tragic for someone who is extremely rigid and OCD, I must admit having feelings that my body will soon blow up. Will I get fat? Are my legs getting thicker as I write? I am already getting bigger because I’m pregnant, but this workout “break” is not helping my cause. I have never really gone this long without exercise (besides post-surgeries and having the flu), and I didn’t even take this long off after having a baby! Please know, I do feel guilt for having these thoughts; realizing that millions of people would die to be pregnant and have a child.
As I have pursued the topic of eating disorders, body image, and exercise, I realize that I continue to struggle at times, too. This is one of those times. But, I continue to remind myself every second that I would do anything to have a baby, and a healthy baby; even if it means stopping my workout routine. I realize my thoughts are irrational, and resting my body for a short time, though it may seem like eternity right now, is, in fact, healthy. And, I need to take my own advice, shape up, and smile! Because working out shouldn’t dictate my happiness and overall being. And, being forced out of routine can be a good thing, too! But, ultimately, having a baby is the most beautiful miracle in the world… And I would do anything for a third child, even if it means not exercising.