1-4 WEEKS PREGNANT // Before I Knew

  Pretending I've got this  //  photo by Ali McMillan

Pretending I've got this  //  photo by Ali McMillan

This post could be subtitled 'Oops'. When I think back to the four weeks between conceiving and finding out I was pregnant, I get a pang of guilt. Looking at the 'Do Nots' of pregnancy almost reads like a tick list for everything I did in that time!

Psyched after a summer filled with climbing trips, I upped my gym time to at least four times a week, all seemingly fuelled entirely by sashimi and rewarded with beer. Throw in some lead fall practice, work stress and missed breakfasts, and I was starting to shape up like a pretty crappy baby carrier. But it was the fourth week where I really did my worst.

(Another) long-awaited trip to Chamonix finally came around. My Canadian companions were exploring for just a few days, so we planned to squeeze in as much as possible. After a first successful day of cragging, what better way to celebrate than a beer...followed by another at the apartment...followed by a couple of gins at the first bar... There were shots, more gin and, when we got kicked out of a closing pub, a tiny club full to the brim with cigarette smoke, where we danced the night away until 5am.

We timed our hangovers well with the wet weather that put off play for the day. Once the head (and mountain) fog cleared the following day, we were blessed with perfect flying conditions, so we headed for the sky and booked a paraglide flight. Probably one of the best ways to see Chamonix is from the sky. It's also a pretty good viewpoint to choose where next to play.

One step onto Aiguille du Midi (my first ever in crampons) was breathtaking, literally. The altitude hit me immediately! Tied in between my guide at the front and friend at the back, I had no choice but to keep up and charge on, along the narrow ridge, across the snow and up to the climb. My lungs couldn't keep up and dizziness hit. Little did I know that my body was busy making extra blood to support a growing embryo and was already oxygen greedy. Now I was asking it to work in low oxygen and it just didn't like it!

It turns out I'm better at climbing at altitude than walking. After a sit down and some water at the base of Arete des Cosmiques, I actually enjoyed my first taste of mountaineering. Topping out onto the viewing platform, welcomed by astonished tourists also felt pretty epic. Now I know I did that pregnant, I feel that little bit more badass (and a little more mum guilt).

Jen Slater