Bikes, Beer, and Babies
Many who know me could tell you that from a very young age, I've always approached any "no-you-can't" situation as a challenge to prove myself otherwise. As you can imagine, that doesn't always serve me well; but on the other hand, it often does. When I was pregnant, I was less than thrilled to give certain things up and I was determined to live my life as normally as possible despite this special temporary season. (Although, I can't say I was mad about giving up litter-box duty...) Once upon a time, my husband introduced me to craft beers, and IPAs soon became a favorite luxery of mine. So naturally -- while I was exuberant to be expecting a baby -- I was very much already looking forward to that first taste of hops after pregnancy.
And ok, so I wasn't going to fight anyone on abstaining from alcohol. But I confess: I ate feta cheese (a lot), I drank coffee every morning, and don't even get me started on the crap I ate in the first trimester because almost everything of actual nutrional value made me sick. And what other "no-no" was I doing until I was 7 months pregnant? Riding my bike.
I knew that mild-moderate exercise in a low-risk pregnancy was ok -- good, even. But I also knew that because one's sense of balance can be thrown off by a quickly growing belly, certain activities - like cycling - isn't at the top of suggested ways of exercise. ENTER: My Defiant Will.
I was going to bike anyway, and the judgy looks and unsolicited advice and concern from others on the matter would not stop me.
Sure, maybe part of it was to prove to myself and to others that I was not fragile because of my pregnancy ... but mostly, because I knew no rule can be assigned to every woman. I knew the risks and benefits of riding; I knew what alternative forms of exercise and fun were available; and I knew my own physical limits and comfort level. At the end of the day, I enjoyed it and I knew it was a safe and acceptable choice for me... so I was gonna do it.
And so it is for every woman's pregnancy and labor. You have to know what's best for you. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else. Other people don't have to like or be comfortable with your choices. And it comes down to what you would enjoy and be most satisfied with. So go ride your bike! Eat that feta cheese! Enjoy your coffee. And birth where, how, and with whomever you want. Make it a pregnancy and birth you'll forever look back on with pride, knowing that you did what's best for you with confidence.
And when it's all done and over -- if it strikes your fancy -- reward yourself with a nice, cold beer.