Once upon a time – say, about six months ago – I was an active 25-year-old woman. I spent my spare time doing all the outdoorsy things I love: hiking, fishing, bicycling, gardening, even just jogging with my dog. Entertainment was always at my fingertips.
Then I got pregnant.
I know, many women say that pregnancy is fun, and really, they’re right. This is my first pregnancy, and it’s been enjoyable so far. But lately, it’s also become incredibly boring.
During my first trimester, I continued doing most of the activities I loved. Heck, at three months, I even went rock climbing with my husband. Growing a little person wasn’t slowing me down a bit.
The bigger I got, though, the less I was able to enjoy my beloved great outdoors. At four and five months, bicycling quickly became out of the question, because of the accident risk. I managed to do some fishing, but it’s hard to stay in a boat for very long when you have a need for frequent bathroom breaks.
Now, I’m stuck. I feel like I’m more or less housebound. Lugging around an extra 20 pounds or so has made my enthusiasm for hiking dwindle. I’ve thought about going camping, but getting a good night’s sleep in a bed is hard enough; sleeping on the hard ground seems next to impossible.
Even taking my dog for a 15-minute walk – which I try to do regularly – wears me out. My short legs had a hard enough time keeping up with her before I got pregnant. Having to waddle next to her doesn’t help.
Gardening isn’t as fun as it used to be either. I never noticed how much bending and stooping it required until I had a giant belly in the way. Doing a simple task such as weeding seems to take hours longer now, because I have to take frequent breaks to get out of the hot sun.
It seems the only hobby I can truly enjoy these days is cooking … which limits me to the house. And even though he tries, my poor husband can only eat so much.
So, what’s a girl to do? I’m pregnant, not helpless.
Sometimes I feel like other people expect pregnant women to just be content to sit on the porch and knit baby booties. The “experts” all say that before we do anything, we’re supposed to check with our doctor, and the list of things with which we should exercise caution is ridiculous.
According to BabyCenter.com, that list includes going to rock concerts (the noise could damage the baby’s hearing), eating cold lunch meat (the risk of food poisoning is too high), and taking hot baths (if the water is too hot, it could damage the baby’s cells).
Just the other day, my grandfather admonished me for going on a short canoe ride around a pond with my husband. His reason? The canoe could have tipped. I know he meant well by it, but by that reasoning, I shouldn’t drive a car, either.
Am I wrong in my attitude? Should I be happy just sitting around, thinking about bottles and blankies? I know other pregnant women my age who are pretty much baby-obsessed. For me, that lasted all of three or four months. Once we picked out a name and bought wallpaper for the nursery, I was set.
Now, I’m ready for the next step. I find myself twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the baby’s arrival. I can’t even worry myself with the whole labor-and-delivery process anymore. I expected to feel this way eight months into my pregnancy, but not six.
Was I supposed to become baby-crazy when I got pregnant? How is it possible to obsess over anything – even something as important as a baby – for an entire nine months?
I know that when I hold my baby in my arms for the first time, none of this will matter. But until then, I don’t think I should have to resign myself to shopping or going to restaurants to get out of the house once in a while. Surely there are ways I can still enjoy the activities I love.
I’m guessing that many of you Missourian readers have probably been in my shoes before. Do you have any advice for getting through the next three months?
Jennifer Russell is a graduate student in journalism at MU. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.