But My Body Was Telling Me To Stop For So Many Reasons.
“Please do not confuse your google search with my medical degree.”
These framed words hung in my OB’s office and was something I read every visit. It took time, but they finally struck a cord with me. During my pregnancy, I would ask my OB every visit if I could keep climbing and he always had the same answer, “Don’t fall to your death and listen to your body.”
This wasn’t good enough for me. A google searched showed me many pictures of pregnant women at 25 plus weeks climbing in full body harnesses. I wanted to be like them. I didn’t want to listen to my aching body. I wanted to be that very pregnant woman still climbing. Something I didn’t realize prior to pregnancy is that a woman’s body goes through so much during pregnancy and everyone has a different experience.
Google, Instagram and magazines were pressuring me to climb, but my body was telling me to stop for so many reasons. The relaxin hormone your body produces during pregnancy (to relax ligaments) made me feel as if my hip and knee would pop at any moment, so toeing down and heal hooks were out. My knee actually did pop. My SI joints ached to the point that getting out of bed in the morning almost always started with crawling or limping with tears. My tendons in my fingers couldn’t handle the extra 30 plus pounds. I had already developed an diastasis recti/ umbilical hernia (separation of the outermost abdominal muscles causing the hernia which is inside poking through the weak area) and was scared to make it even worse. My doctor told me that my breeched baby had a higher chance of getting in birthing position if I decreased my physical activity. A breeched baby meant a cesarean section, a major abdominal surgery, something that’s not appealing to climbers. At 20 weeks, I finally listened to my doctor’s advice which also meant listening to my body.
“Don’t fall to your death and listen to your body.”
Today, with a split in my abs, a cesarean section scar, and weeks of recovery I got released to climb and be physically active again. This may sound like a terrible way to begin physical activity, but on the bright side, I don’t have pulled tendons or injured knees or hips. As the OB put it, I didn’t fall to my death which was a huge possibility with the 35 pounds I gained. It could have been worse. Listening to your body and your doctor is far more important than trying to maintain your normal climbing fitness level during pregnancy.
Getting back to where I was before pregnancy will be a very difficult and long journey. It will require low expectations and lots of patience, but I’m ready. I have a precious little boy who needs a healthy and active mom. One day, he may even be interested in climbing. If so, this mom will be ready.
Adventure in progress…
Haley Graham, New Mother & Stonewear Designs Ambassador
Follow Haley on Instagram: @haleyjay2