The rumor that your energy returns between weeks 12 and 16 of pregnancy has, unfortunately, not been the case for me. Just about 23 weeks in and my goodness, I am SO tired. Constantly. I’m getting a solid eight hours of sleep most nights, but struggle to drag myself from bed after the 6:30 alarm, the 6:40 snooze, and the 7:00 and 7:15 back-ups. It’s hard to believe that I used to routinely rise at 4:40 or 5:00 on a good day, and 5:30 without fail just five months ago. I return home at the end of the workday completely spent. A few nights back I talked up an evening run during my drive home and yet, still landed in my bed (run-less) in sweats and with a stack of magazines by a quarter to six. It’s frustrating since I want so badly to keep on moving and daydream about actual hardcore training, but feel more and more like a slug, with running in my rear view.
Like the moments when I decide to snag an extra bite of an office treat, my colleagues remind me, It’s justified! but I find it a little hard to buy in. It’s tough to change your habits so dramatically, to give up control. I guess that’s one of the reasons pregnancy lasts as long as it does… it gives you nearly a year to come to terms with losing control because lord knows when that baby shows up…
I’ve tried to be gentle on myself, physically and emotionally. I’ve gone for evening walks–a mile, or two or three, learned to let go of competing at club 5Ks, and worked through pregnancy DVDs in over-sized sweats on the floor of my bedroom. One night last week, I planted myself on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and plowed through four (four) back-to-back episodes of The Blacklist. I’m not even into the show; I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to actually move. My body is working hard. I’m growing a child. I’m working on letting the changes that entails be okay.
In fact, I was midway through writing this post and had switched gears completely in this next paragraph when I had saved a draft and started doing some reading. It was then that I came across a blog post by personal favorite Kristin Armstrong. She recently spoke a her son’s middle school, to a group of female athletes. The post itself didn’t pertain to what I’m experiencing, but a few of the sentences resonated loud.
Armstrong wrote: [We need to] make and maintain good default settings of our own. Trying to love, accept, and respect our bodies as they change. Trying to build the endurance that will carry us when we have a load to carry. Trying all of these things, however imperfectly – messing up and dusting off and starting over again.
If there’s ever a time to cut yourself some slack, shouldn’t it be in the throes of pregnancy, or later, during motherhood? Wait, now that I say that, why are all of us so hard on ourselves, regardless? Body image. Expectations. Competitive spirit, or being enough.
The ironic thing is that one of the things I admire most about the way my mother raised my two sisters and me (my brother, too, but girls receive so much messaging about body image) was that I never heard her deprecate her body or make mean-spirited remarks about hers or anyone else’s. Never once did I hear my mother say, “Does this make me look fat,” or comment about food as an enemy. I remember that clearly, admire it, and want to enact it as a mother myself. It occurs to me that I need to remember, admire, and enact it for myself as much as I do for any baby or child, family, or friend.
Apart from body image, we need to appreciate our bodies for what they do, however efficiently or energetically, each and every day. Right now, I need to listen to mine and accept and embrace the pace.
Do you have default settings that need to be reset?