Monday, June 11, 2012

Pregnancy & Fitness

Before I begin, I'm wondering how many of my friends and family clicked the link because you thought, based on the title, that I might be pregnant? 

I'll let you know right up front, that I'm not!  :) 

This weekend I had the privilege of running the Jim Klett 5k with my daughter Lilli (the little one on the left) and the two lovely pregnant women on my right.  The one in black, Heidi, is a good friend of mine. She is in the third trimester of her first pregnancy!  This was baby's first race!

Before her pregnancy, Heidi lost a substantial amount of weight and took up running. She also placed in her age group at the 5k this past Saturday.  Did I mention that she is in her THIRD trimester?! I won't get into the details about her weight loss and fitness successes or how she's managed to stay in shape and active during her pregnancy, because that's her story to share (perhaps she could be persuaded to write a guest post for us!?) but watching Heidi and her friend Angie this past weekend brought up a lot of questions in my mind, and I thought I would ponder them aloud here.

It's been 6 years since I last had a child the old fashioned way.  And that was before I had made health and fitness a primary focus of my life.  Since that time we have added to our family four times through adoption.  When you adopt a baby, your fitness goals aren't effected much.  I mean, you still have sleepless nights and the challenges that go along with having a newborn in the house, but your body is unaffected by the stresses and limitations of pregnancy and delivery.  You can bring the baby home from the hospital on Monday and log an 8 mile run on Tuesday.  I've done it.

While we feel that the chapter in our life that includes adopting babies is coming to a close, we haven't ruled out the possibility of having another biological child someday.  SOMEDAY in the FUTURE.  After our current children are all potty trained and can successfully cross the street on their own. :) As we've added to our family over the last four years, I haven't had to consider how a pregnancy would effect the goals I have, the activities that I enjoy.  I certainly understand that a woman can stay active during pregnancy and I have friends who have continued to run until quite close to their due dates. But what about other activities?

When I think about the activities that fill up my life, as far as fitness is concerned, I have been training for marathon distance races for the last 4 years.  I practice yoga regularly.  I take Tae Kwon Do 2-3 times a week.  How much of that would have to change with a pregnancy?  Certainly, Tae Kwon Do, being a contact sport, would have to be put on the back burner.  And of course you can practice yoga while expecting, but as the pregnancy advances, aren't you limited to prenatal yoga classes that only make brief appearances on the studio schedule?  And even running... there is a difference between "running" and marathon training. You can usually do the first while pregnant, but the second?  Not so much.

So I guess I'm wondering if women take these things into consideration when deciding to have a baby.  Or does one's physical hobbies seem trivial when compared with the enormity of planning a family? There are things I want to do with my body that would be seriously hindered by the act of growing a human being.  There are races I want to run, belts I want to earn, a headstand I want to master.  Putting these things on hold even for 9 or 12 months isn't something I'm ready to do right now.  But when the time comes, will it still be a hard decision?  Will it be emotionally stressful to taper down my athletic life? Or will the decision be an easy one once the time is right? 

What do you think ladies? 

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