6 WEEKS PREGNANT // Peeing at The Peak

Confidence by pregnancy, hair styled by Peak District wind  //  photo by Andrew Slater

Confidence by pregnancy, hair styled by Peak District wind  //  photo by Andrew Slater

The aim for 2017 was to eek out every last minute of dry rock. So with winter approaching, and our toes crossed for dry weather, we headed to the Peak for a day on the boulders with our newly discovered baby on board.

We’d decided early on that we wouldn’t share news of our baby until we were clear of the 12-week scan. Lucky enough to not experience any sickness, it was quite easy to keep my secret amongst our climbing friends at the beginning. I also decided I would just do what felt comfortable, if I didn’t feel like topping out or if a move felt risky, I’d make an excuse and climb down. If I was tired, I’d just relax. No pressure.

I learnt to climb with this group of guys. They were there when I almost cried and bailed on my first outdoor trip. As the only female, I guess I’ve been given a lot of slack to be scared and not be pushed too hard. Which is a bit of a shame when I think about it but pretty useful when you’re cautiously and secretly climbing pregnant.

Being October, Curbar was windy enough to knock you off your feet. Tricky when every 30 minutes you need a crag wee. Peeing into the wind, even from a low squat, doesn’t pan out well (sorry shoes). Besides the slightly sprinkled shoes and worry of losing my hat though, climbing wasn’t a problem.

To my surprise, I felt confident on the rock, more than I had done before. Maybe ever! Rather than feeling scared and peeing my pants, I felt strong and sure of myself. I let my instincts rule and they decided that I could go for a heel hook at the top of the boulder; that it was ok to try a toe jam and launch for the next hold; that whilst I could still see my feet, I better get as many traverses ticked as possible. Maybe, because I knew what my body was up to, I had to be confident. If I wasn’t, I shouldn’t have been on the rock potentially risking the thing I was so proud to be making.

Jen Slater