It's been a huge relief letting people at work know about my impending bundle of joy. My colleagues are ready with wonderful comments about hoping I feel ok,complimenting my maternity clothes (which I'm starting to wear more often), letting it slide when I eat fro-yo for lunch, and not pointing and laughing when I show up in whatever it was that seemed reasonable that morning.
However, letting people in on my secret has also meant opening the door to the social norms held for pregnant women. Of course, this has been huge in the news this week, after a woman completed the Chicago Marathon in 6:25:50 and gave birth 7 hours later to a healthy baby (in case you somehow haven't seen this, read it here). The response to her decision hash been all over the board, some calling the decision irresponsible and others calling it an inspiration.
Considering that very pregnant woman clearly do finish endurance events and continue to have healthy babies made me hopeful that my much more constrained running wouldn't be shocking to people. I'm not planning to "race" anything over a 10k while pregnant, after all. And yet, what I'm getting is a lot of surprised responses when people discover that yes, in fact, I am still running.
I didn't realize how culturally rooted our perception of reasonable pregnant behavior was until I was enceinte with my son. At the time I worked in a very culturally diverse setting. One of my office mates was amazed that I continued to use my cell phone while pregnant. Others were horrified that in the United States a normal, natural birth (even one with drugs) merits only a 2-day hospital stay, and a c-section 4 days. In some countries you stay for a week or longer for a natural birth, and stay in bed for 2 weeks or longer.
Within the running community not one of you has given me a raised eyebrow. Neither has my doctor. Or anyone on board with the idea that I was a healthy runner before I was pregnant, and it's healthy for me to continue. But a lot of other people have given me flack about it. So last Thursday when I read Jodi's Thumbs Up Thursday tribute to the Marathon and saw this, I knew I had to put it on my office door. Not surprisingly, I've gotten a lot of comments about it already.
There will come a day sometime next spring where I will have to take a break from running. But today is not that day. Today is a day to stay fit and sane for myself and my unborn child. And represent just a lil' bit in the hopes that it will encourage others and maybe change some perceptions.