Pregnant and Training 4

Pregnant and training – week 36. “Matter over Mind”

As the calendar speeds forward towards The Big Pop, I am starting to get nervous (again) about labour. During our prenatal lessons, we learned that 85% of women who give birth at our hospital receive an epidural. In fact, Justin and I almost had the impression we were being sold on it. “Why do so many women take the epidural? Because it’s so damn good!”

I can understand why many women would want an epidural. After all, we have the technology of modern medicine, so why not benefit from it? And I wouldn’t get so much as a tooth pulled without anaesthesia, so why am I so keen on getting an eight-pound screaming football extracted without it? Well, partly because what they don’t make explicitly clear in the prenatal courses is that the epidural comes with its own set of potential complications… and that once you get it, you are bedridden. This prospect terrifies me almost more than labour. (If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m not too good at sitting still.)

Over and above the physical benefits I’ve gained from training at U.N.I, I’ve also learned many mental lessons that I try to apply outside the gym. One of these is that it’s ok to try something and not succeed. Before, I never dared try anything I might not be good at. It’s still not an idea that comes easily to me, but I am slowly letting go of the expectation that I should be a pro at something on my first attempt at it.

This is my first time giving birth. I have nothing to compare it to, and no way to predict how it will go. And if I decide during the process that for whatever reason I want an epidural, I won’t consider this having failed at something. I will do what seems right at the time.

Another lesson my training has taught me is that my physical reserves are far deeper than I think they are. Countless times I would do a workout against the stopwatch, thinking throughout that I couldn’t possibly push myself any harder, only to wrap up the last rep and think, “Oh, I could have gone a bit harder than that!” I would realize only when the workout was over that I’d been holding back, just in case that last set was harder than I thought it would be. When I am faced with the hardest part of labour, I will try to remember this lesson… that my body has deep physical reserves to draw on, long after my brain thinks it’s time to give up.

Today’s workout:

Warm up: uphill walk, 10 mins


  • 12x good mornings (45 lbs)
  • 12x push ups (window sill)

Weights: 5 x 5 squats (holding 24kg Kettle bell)

4 ROUNDS: 1 round = 1 of each, 3 of each, 5 of each

  • shoulder press (35 lbs)
  • pull ups (purple elastic, provides ~25 lbs of assistance)


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