“Be careful, Mommy!” those are the words I hear most often when I go out for a run these days. (Followed closely by, “You go, Girl!”)
It’s hot out. I’m big. And a big pregnant woman running down the street is not something people are accustomed to seeing. It’s no wonder they are concerned for my health and the health of my baby.
And so I respond: “Thanks, I will!”
It’s nice to know that people notice me. I feel like if something did happen, I would be taken care of. But it’s also a good reminder to me to anticipate any criticism that I don’t want to deal with. It’s hot, so I bring a water bottle. I go slower and run shorter distances. I’m not ashamed to stop and walk if I need to. I know people are watching me and it keeps me from doing stupid things.
Of course, not everyone is tactful or informed of what is safe during pregnancy. I went out this morning and while I was waiting for a light to change, a guy stopped and said, “I hope you’re not running!”
And I said, “Oh, but I am!”
“To keep me sane.” (It was the first thing that popped out, though there are many other better answers I could have come up with.)
“But you’ll shake the baby!” he said.
“She’s fine,” I said with a smile as the light changed and I ran away. “I’ve done this twice before.”
Part of me wonders if he thought I meant that I’d run during my pregnancy twice before, or whether he realized that I have two other kids and I ran while pregnant with them as well, but that is not the point. The point is that if you are out running in your third trimester, people are going to notice you. Many will be concerned for you. Many will cheer for you. And some may not understand you (and they don’t have to).
But I think it’s important to be confident and ready to respond cheerfully to those who may have something to say, whether it is encouraging or critical. There’s nothing like a happy pregnant woman out for a morning jog to help someone start their day off right.