11 WEEKS PREGNANT // Pregzilla

 How I wanted to be able to climb  //  photo by  Claire Clifton Coles

How I wanted to be able to climb  //  photo by Claire Clifton Coles

My job takes me to various climbing events, so when I had the chance to get involved in Blokfest, a fun bouldering league held over five rounds, I jumped at the chance. Then I remembered I was pregnant. I was there to represent for work and didn't have to take part but what climber could resist? Plus I was still keeping my pregnancy a secret and friends would think it odd for me to just spectate.

A pre-climb chat with myself was meant to put no pressure on doing well and matching last year's scores but that all went out the window when I got on the wall. With no one the wiser that I was pregnant and being the stubborn type, I tried to climb as if all was normal. Immediately it was clear this wouldn’t be possible, my tired first trimester body wanted to just curl up in a corner and my pregnant brain was worried about falling.

The idea that it was all meant to be fun was completely forgotten and I very quickly got frustrated that I couldn’t climb as well as before. I was also embarrassed that I was climbing so badly without being able to offer an excuse. I toyed with the idea of just dropping the bombshell there and then, so I could relax and not have to keep things a secret. Instead I decided to just act like an angry brat.

Pregzilla had taken over. She scorned others who could do the moves she couldn’t and made sure everyone knew she was shit. She wouldn’t bother trying problems after a while because there was no point, instead she wondered the climbing gym feeling useless, whilst fighting back tears because she was making herself miserable. So miserable that even the friend who, at her own admittance is “not a hug giver”, tried to comfort me with an embrace, worried that I just wasn’t myself.

Thankfully (although unfortunate for him) my husband had met my various ‘Zillas’ before –Stresszilla, Injuredzilla, Supermarket-shopping-whilst-hungryzilla – he knew the way to comfort the beast was a slice of cake and a bit of a reality check. I was making a human and we could tell everyone in a week! With Pregzilla gone, I looked at my score sheet with a new perspective – how nice to be able to share this with my child one day, our first bouldering competition together.

Jen Slater