10 WEEKS PREGNANT // Liar Liar

Under the watchful eye of  Juan   //  photo  Ben Grubb

Under the watchful eye of Juan  //  photo Ben Grubb

I’ve always been a bad lier. Even a little fib makes me break out in a sweat, so keeping the huge news of our first child quiet from everyone but medical professionals was pretty hard. I was certain people would see through my poor excuses for not drinking, constant tiredness and giant boobs. I even had to ask friends for stretchy trouser recommendations for my growing belly. To me it was obvious and I was just waiting for someone to fess up that they'd known for weeks.

I engineered my appearances and efforts at social climbing sessions for maximum effect. Work provided the perfect excuse to turn up late, meaning I only needed the energy to climb for a short session. Joining later, meant I could 'warm up' whilst watching friends crush hard problems I hadn't the oomph for. I'd make sure any tries at harder moves were well audienced, so I could be forgiven for taking a long breather in between climbs. It seemed to be working.

Despite having a slightly smaller window of energy, I was still managing to climb 'normally'. (Although admittedly any attempts at hard top boulder moves were given little commitment.) I was still having coached climbing sessions but was yet to reveal my secret and it turns out my pregnancy wasn't as obvious as I thought. I'd always said to myself that if I felt uncomfortable with anything in a training session, that would be the time to tell.

It turns out, I drew the line at red-pointing on lead at 10 weeks pregnant. The idea, pregnant or not, of falling from above a bolt always filled me with fear. Now I was in charge of protecting a baby, the idea was even less appealing. I had to come clean.

Although slightly blindsided, my coach binned the session plan and we headed straight to the training area to go through strength exercises I can do throughout pregnancy. Since then he's done loads of research and we continue to train through my pregnancy, adapting as needed. It was so nice to know that he supported my decision to keep climbing as long as I could. It was even nicer to finally be able to tell someone my news and not have to lie anymore.

Jen Slater