I think most women fantasize what it will feel like to be pregnant. Even though I honestly never thought pregnancy would happen to me (because of infertility), I still let my mind wander sometimes.
I'd hear of women having strong aversions to vegetables in the first trimester. Ha, that wouldn't be me. I knew how important nutrition during pregnancy was (source). I'd shove down the veggies no matter what and would steer clear of anything unhealthy.
I'd hear others say how much pregnancy has slowed them down, and forced them to stop exercising in some cases. No way I'd let that happen to me! I knew pregnancy reduces your lung capacity, increases your blood volume, loosens your joints, and throws off your balance (source). Still, I was an athlete. I doubted these physiological changes would slow me down that much.
Then, the miracle happened.
I'll never forget what it felt like to walk the aisles of the grocery store at 8 weeks pregnant. I stared at the shelves and sobbed. I couldn't put anything in my cart because nothing looked remotely appealing. I felt like I was failing my child, and I knew there was nothing I could do about it.
Bagels was it for weeks.
My appetite and hunger for healthy foods (minus spinach and bananas) returned as soon as the first trimester ended. I now feel like I'm eating as well as I can.
Exercise has been another story. At first, my doctor asked me not to run for a few weeks. Until week 7, I was content just walking.
Then I got antsy. My first run back felt so good on my pregnant body. As I got back into shape, I feel into a routine: 4 short, easy, enjoyable runs per week. I foolishly thought it would stay this way until 30+ weeks.
I mean, why wouldn't it? I've been a distance runner for a long time. I'm used to putting my body through grueling challenges. I'm not afraid of discomfort. I knew some women can keep running until their due dates. Why couldn't I be one of them?
Unfortunately, pregnancy is one of those things where you never know what to expect. Until you go through it yourself, you really have no clue how it feels. What's more, every pregnancy is so different. Even if you fully grasp someone's experience, it may not apply to you at all.
I'm also noticing a change in swimming (which I did twice this weekend!). Swimming still feels really good, and I have zero pain. But I can tell my pace has slowed a lot and breaks are needed early and often. Swimming also takes a lot out of me. I don't feel like I need a nap post-run, but post-swim is another story.
I'm going to continue to run and swim slowly for as long as I can. I know backing off is for the best reason in the world, but it's hard realizing you're not superwoman. After challenging myself for years, going slowly feels weird. I used to be so proud of my workouts, but now they feel so normal.
But all I wished and prayed for- for well over a year- was to be normal. I wanted normal ovaries. I wanted to get pregnant like a normal woman. And even though slowing down is hard to swallow for a type A, competitive athlete, normal never felt so good