7 WEEKS PREGNANT // Choux Bun in the Oven

 Dad Beta applying tentative spotting whilst I gurn my way up a boulder  //  photo by  Claire Clifton Coles

Dad Beta applying tentative spotting whilst I gurn my way up a boulder  //  photo by Claire Clifton Coles

After testing my pregnant bouldering skills the weekend before, I was excited to go to Fontainebleau for the first time. I was still feeling confident on the rock and, besides my rapidly-growing boobs (which I am totally fascinated by!), I wasn’t carrying any extra weight (although the many bakery visits that weekend would likely have made a difference) so playing in this French bouldering Mecca was going to be a treat!

Loaded up with fresh bread and pastries, I was out of breath just walking the flat trail before even touching any rock. I was pleased the general mood was to warm up slowly before going hard in the afternoon. My energy levels in these first weeks of pregnancy were low and I wanted to try and do as much climbing across the weekend as possible, if anything just to keep my little bun in the oven a secret.

A cautious start soon gave way to excitement, then subsequent disappointment in the disruption afternoon rain brought, so much so, I resorted to climbing trees whilst waiting for the rock to dry. As soon as the sun had done its job, it was back to making the most of our time in this playground. By the end of the day, I was even throwing up toe to nose heel hooks!

Sprawled on the Airbnb sofa, forcing pizza in my face, it was clear the day of climbing took it out of me more than usual. My friends asked where the usual energetic Jen had gone. Luckily I was getting good at blaming my out of character tiredness on seasonal colds and work stress, adding a day of bouldering to the mix seemed to satisfy their query. I wasn’t sure I could keep it up for another five weeks though!

The second day brought morning dizziness. Nothing that a mug of mint tea wouldn't solve but I found myself lying again to my closest friends about why I was sat watching them climb, rather than getting in on the action (...err...headache...?). As the day went on and the dizziness subsided though, I got reacquainted with the rock. This time experiencing an odd mixture of confidence and nervousness – confident trying harder stuff, until it got to topping out where I'd "not make the move" (aka bail) as I suddenly became very aware of my secret cargo.

Walking back to the car on the last day, our groups's conversation turned to ensuring an Autumn trip to Font was cemented as a tradition. As we plodded past families out for a day of climbing together, I gave myself a knowing smile and said "of course". I'm sure they wouldn't mind if we brought an extra member of the group next time.

Jen Slater