Do you remember almost 3 years ago when I started netball? I wrote this post about confronting my fear of social situations: Did I Do The Right Thing?!
Those who have followed us from that time will know that netball turned out really well. In fact, if I wasn’t pregnant I would still be playing. The team has remained pretty unchanged, are a great group of girls, and I am so glad I confronted my fear. I actually really miss it. I am looking forward to getting back to it post-baby. In the meantime, I have had to confront my fear again.
This time, the fear of social situations is compounded by the addition of pregnancy/ mummy activities.
Let me explain.
Just before I hit 30 weeks pregnant, Laura and I attended an antenatal class – more about that in a future blog post – and at that class we were told about how active mums-to-be usually have easier and quicker labours and healthier babies. Not rocket science, but a wake up call for me. For a start, I would do anything to make the impending activity of giving birth possibly easier and quicker – and of course anything that benefits baby is important.
The wake up call had me turn to Laura and announce that I needed to find a away of increasing my fitness over the next 10 weeks. Another girl in the class had overheard my announcement and suggested Birthfit classes run by frombumpstobabies.co.uk.
When I mention ‘the fear of social situations is compounded by the addition of pregnancy/mummy activities’ this is why. It’s not my world. I know that sounds strange, but as I don’t know anyone close who has had a baby, or even know any children, my current pregnancy predicament is opening up a whole new world – one I am at times uncomfortable with.
For almost all of my pregnancy so far, my life has barely changed. Of course there is the influx of baby stuff into the house, and more food being consumed, but as I have been lucky enough to feel good so far, I haven’t really slowed down (although staircases are a challenge now!). But on the whole, my day to day life hasn’t really changed. I still travel to London to work during the week, Laura and I still spend our weekends with friends or exploring new places and not much has really become ‘all about the baby’ yet.
However, when I step into certain situations I am suddenly confronted by the massive life change that is a few short weeks away. From how often babies need to be feed – up to 10 times in 24 hours – what!!!! – to all the things you need to do to keep this new life safe, it all becomes very real, very quickly. It’s almost as if reaching 30 weeks pregnant means you suddenly have to face the information overload that is out there (and the reality that you will have a baby soon!).
|Image: Keep calm and carry on|
These situations are foreign to me and yet as I start the countdown I realise that I need to start learning this new foreign language, take on board the information. Alongside the fitness, I need to embrace the opportunity to talk to people in the same situation. That’s the fear I need to face. I have previously been worried that everyone will know much more than me, or that I won’t have anything in common with the other mothers (besides babies!), or the worst nightmare of ending up in a competitive mum’s group. I need to be social AND I need to do it in a world of which I have very little understanding.
The way I have faced pregnancy so far is to focus on the practical things, the things I feel like I can control. With the help of Laura I am eating all the right foods, I am getting rest whenever possible, avoiding stress as much as possible and buying in key items. The time seems to have come, though, that I have to step out of my comfort zone.
Meeting other first time mums at the antenatal and Birthfit classes has confirmed one thing – a lot of other people feel like I do. While some people know friends or family who have had babies, most first time mothers know very little. Surprisingly, like me, they have often also avoided finding out too much too early. In a world where you can Google everything, it turns out pregnant women want to avoid the overload of information – I mean, we are told our bodies know what they are doing so we can rely on that right?!
Anyway back to Birthfit.
True to my word, after the antenatal class I reached out to the frombumps2babies team and asked when I could come to check out a class. I got a quick response from Kerry and was told I could head to a class in Bournville or Harbourne. I picked the Bournville class as it was closer. (Only downside is that I have to drive past Cadbury World….resisting temptation).
At 7.30pm on Monday I walked into the Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sports hall, took a big breath and met the ladies gathered for class. Kerry was quick to welcome me and talkative so my nerves could subside as we waited for others. In the end there were 6 ladies, all at varying stages of pregnancy.
The first part of the class was an intro session, who we are, how many weeks pregnant and how we currently feel. From there it was straight into a warm up. It felt good to do exercise – although Laura and my weekend trip to Kinver Edge had involved a 4 mile hike, this exercise felt like I was working out more than just my legs.
From warm up into cardio, from cardio to circuits, there was no messing around. The circuits included a lot of squats, a lot of ‘holding your pelvic floor’ and arm exercises. By the end of circuit one I felt like my self-assessment of being in ‘good health’ was maybe a little ambitious. By the end of circuit two I was glad to still be upright! If anything, it cemented my feeling that starting a class was a good idea.
Thankfully the next part was more of a yoga style warm down. A lot of stretching on the floor and focusing on breathing. We then gathered our mats in a circle for ‘discussion time’. This was the part I feared. I’m not a sharer. The discussion was on ‘hospital bags’ and what to bring, it was led by Kerry who had invited one of the ‘further along’ pregnant girls to bring in her bag so we could have a look through.
Despite my initial fear, the discussion was actually really good. I picked up a few tips and things to remember.
It looks like facing my fear didn’t end too badly this time either.
I just know that this is the start of ‘saying yes’ to a lot of other things that will benefit our baby girl and will force me to confront my fear of social situations. Hopefully our girl will take after her Mama and Bisbee and walk into a room with confidence and walk out with everyone loving her.
If you are Midlands based and pregnant or are looking for classes as a new mum, check out the from bumps2babies website for all their services.
Or their Facebook page for tips, advice and insight.