9 WEEKS PREGNANT //  Pregnancy Tourettes

 Surrounded by awesome at the Women's Climbing Symposium  //  photo by  Charlie Low

Surrounded by awesome at the Women's Climbing Symposium  //  photo by Charlie Low

Pregnancy pretty much consumed my thoughts from the word go. I was reading as much as I could, feeling full of hormones and starting to see physical changes. Still deciding to keep shtum, I was convinced I’d get pregnancy tourettes and end up shouting it out randomly in the middle of conversations, so it was a relief to finally talk about it with someone other than Andrew.

My checking in appointment felt like being on a medical conveyor belt. Throughout the morning I was passed along from person to person for different checks, chats and calculations. Despite actually being quite a dull experience, it was nice to finally feel like things were getting more real.

With my potential tourettes pacified for the time being, I packed the weekend bags and headed with my girl crew to the Women’s Climbing Symposium – basically a whole load of female climbing badassery packed into one day. With inspiring and informative talks, plus helpful workshops, I was sure to come away feeling empowered. Instead, in a room of so many awesome women, I felt totally inept and intimidated.

Hormones were riding high and limited sleep was making coping with them harder. At the same time, I was still trying to work out my new relationship with climbing and coming to terms with the fact that it would start to look very different from my current one. I found it hard to let go of the concept of crushing and grade progression, so on a day that was all about improvement, I felt completely deflated.

By the time I got to my last workshop of the day, I was in such a fug that I didn't even bother trying problems before I decided they were beyond me. I almost wished the pregnancy tourettes would resurface as explanation. Luckily, in a room full of amazing women, there were also a few mums – still being awesome, still climbing, one even multi-tasking as organiser and baby carrier. I gave myself a kick to stop sulking, jumped on the workshop problem and flashed it. Yes, things were going to change but it wasn't the end of my climbing life. Even better, I'll have a new mini partner to climb with!

Jen Slater