13 WEEKS PREGNANT // Out in the Open

Just about managing to fit into my sit harness  //  photo by  Claire Clifton Coles

Just about managing to fit into my sit harness  //  photo by Claire Clifton Coles

After telling family, our climbing friends were the next set of people we shared our news with. We were spending a lot of time with them and it was already pretty hard to hide my fatigue and bad moods. Finally I could explain what was going on. And it was well timed, with an imminent weekend trip to Spain, I would be able to relax without explaining why I was no longer leading sport climbs and avoiding beer.

We knew our friends would be happy for us but I never expected them to be quite so incredibly supportive! Immediately, they declared themselves aunties and uncles and we had enough offers of babysitters to cover at least a year of climbing trips. It's one of the reasons I'm so sure we'll be able to continue climbing even with a small child.

With our secret out in the open, I could fully enjoy a winter trip to Costa Blanca. Somehow I also felt there was less pressure to climb hard. I had an 'excuse' to relax and do as much or as little as I wanted. My increased blood flow and heart rate already made walk ins a bigger task than normal, I almost had no choice other than to take the climbing a little easier.

The only other adjustment I made to climbing, now I'd reached the second trimester, was to stop leading. My tiny peanut was well protected in the first few months but now it was growing and rising up from the protection of my pelvis, I didn't want to risk the impact of taking falls. This was also the only other information I could find with a 'pregnant climbing' Google search, so I felt my decision made sense.

Climbing felt great. I tired quicker and my harness felt a little too snug but once I was on the rock, I felt like I could dance! On the technical routes, anyway. The big, pumpy routes, which I'd normally feel at home with wrestled me off. But in my new relaxed mentality, I was just pleased to be able to give them a try.