November 17, 2011

Here we go again

Back in early September, I had my first pre-natal yoga class of this pregnancy. I know my yoga teacher fairly well. She's nice, and quite knowledgeable about what she teaches and physiology in general.

So here am I, walking in the yoga studio with my bike helmet in hand.
- "Are you still cycling?", the yoga instructor asks me, half-laughing, half-crossed
-"Of course", I say,  wondering a bit why the question, "I am only 11 weeks pregnant" (Oh no, 10 weeks have gone since then? Well, I guess it is only yet another evidence that I don't update this blog as often as I should).

Then, as this is the first class (remember this is France, where almost everything, not just school, stops during the 2-month summer school break), the 5 girls attending introduce themselves and explain what their expectations for the class and for their pregnancy more generally are. One of these girls, who happens to be expecting for the same day as me, says she is into sports, including running ultra-trails and triathlons. YES! I say to myself, almost aloud because I am so excited : it is not that often we get to meet people who do as much sports as us, and even less often (bordering on : never) that we meet parents of young children still getting their fair share of exercising (although, if you ask us, we're far from getting a share we would describe as "fair"). 

Then this girl goes on to say she expects yoga to compensate a bit for the fact she must stop running and cycling. Not because she's been having a difficult pregnancy, just because her OB-gyn does not feel comfortable about the idea of running when pregnant. To which (wait, this is getting better and better) the yoga teacher replies that this is right, pregnancy is not the time for this type of sports.

Full stop.

Then it is my turn to talk, and the yoga teacher introduces me like the crazy one who is always on the go, even when knocked up. Now, I am not saying pregnant running, or cycling, or any other sports for that matter, is a must. I totally understand if women don't feel like running (let's face it, I understand it less if they just feel like doing nothing but sitting on their butt, but that's just me). I just happen to think that, if a girl is not having any specific problems AND if she feels like it, yes, she can run. And cycle. And do pretty much what she wants as long as it is safe and she feels good about doing it. And if she feels she should not run, or plain and simple does not want to, well, that's just fine, too.

Except this is France, where Clapp has yet to be translated (now, as a newly established writer and translator, maybe that's where I should start!). France where you stop pretty much everything bar slow walking and swimming the second two lines appears on the pregnancy test. France where, when pregnant with Malo and googling "course à pied cyclisme grossesse" I only found ONE Frenchie who blogged about cycling while pregnant.  France where a running magazine dedicated to women recently published an article on running while pregnant, which I started reading full of hope the French had at last seen the light... only to discover after one paragraph that the recommendation was to stop when entering the fifth month. No explanations, no reasons given, no medical professionals interviewed. Nothing. Just DON'T DO IT.

So here we go again. Two years after being pregnant with Malo, it looks like I will still be told that, surely, all this bouncing can't be good for the baby. It looks that I will still be running and cycling by myself, or with Martin, but definitely not with another big, round belly. And it looks like I won't be given a chance to explain that, I swear, I am not a child murderer, I have done my research and it seems that it is possible to run while pregnant.

But that'ok. I am fine with it. Really. Or at least much more than the first time round. Unlike three years ago, I am not on a mission to convince the world that a) I am not a lone crazy woman looking at ways to harm her foetus, b) exercising, including - oh, gasp - running is not a bad thing for my baby. Instead, I will mind my own business running, and do what's good for my body, for my head, and for my baby. And too bad if I am the only one around doing it :-)

Oh, and I will try and remember, on occasions where I may will get a bit pissed off with ignorant / jugdemental / unfriendy comments, what my neighbour said last think when seeing me depart for a run with Malo  in this Chariot :
"Way to go. An hour from now you both will be back all relax and happy".
If she, a not sporty, pretty conservative, 60sth year old lady who has probably never wore running shoes in her entire life, can see it, there is probably still hope for French running pregnant woman in this world!


PiccolaPineCone said...

Hi Mapp, Of course you are TOTALLY singing to the choir on this topic... I hear your frustration though I think in Quebec people are probably far less judgemental than in France. Nonetheless I cannot count the number of people who told me I would go into premature labour as a result of running.
really? I thought as I passed 38 weeks.
really? I thought as I passed 39 weeks.
sometime soon please! I thought as I passed 40 weeks.
where is this premature labour everyone promised?? I wondered as I went in for my induction.
never mind oremature labour, when is LABOUR going to start?? I thought after 10 hours of pitocin and nothing.
Finally when la cocotte was pried out by c-section, still completely undescended, nowhere near my cervix - perfectly healthy with an apgar of 10 I might add, at 40 weeks 6 days... I had to conclude that all the random people with their random opinions really didn;t know that much after all.
Enjoy the run!

Mapp said...

you're right PPC! I too delivered a perfectly healthy baby : 3.330kgs and 51 cms, not too bad for his 44kgs / 1.56m mum, I think :-) And I am sure having exercised until the end helped a lot dealing with recovery post C-section : I was promised a lot of pain and weeks of barely being able to walk, and got none of it (a major baby blues instead, but that's another matter).

And if that can cheer you up retrospectively, in France, you would have potentially waited... 6 more days before being induced, since full term here is considered to be 41 weeks, and they will induce 5 days later. See how ... um ... lucky (?) you were ? :-)

cherelli said...

I love you ladies - for showing that listening to your bodies is what is most important, not just some random guidelines chosen because no real studies are ever done on the subject (except by Clapp)....enjoy your healthy, active pregnancies!!

PiccolaPineCone said...

mapp - hope you don't mind, i kind of took the beat of your blog this week and continued my own little tune on my blog :)

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