14 WEEKS PREGNANT // Blok Rocking

Climbing for two  //  photo Andrew Slater

Climbing for two  //  photo Andrew Slater

Freshly sunned in Spain, and with news of my pregnancy no longer a secret, I felt like I could approach the second round of Blokfest far more positively than the last. The pressure had been lifted and I had an excuse, no, a reason to back out of problems I didn't feel comfortable with.

My bump, although to most looked more like I'd had a large dinner, had already outgrown my favourite jeans and was starting to make an appearance. It acted as a physical reminder that I was no longer climbing alone. That if I committed to a move, it was both of us that took the fall if it didn't pay off.

Our little nectarine-sized offspring was so well protected by my body, a regular bouldering fall wouldn't have caused any harm. Yet I couldn't help feeling responsible. I was carrying a baby and it was my job to protect it.

I'd explain that I was "taking it easy" but I was at a competition. And, whilst I wasn't there to go up against or even beat anyone else, the temptation to try and compete with myself and better last time's score was strong. So faced with a high crux, I knew I would have to put everything I had to sticking the next hold. I couldn't drop it.

When I'd already watched friends slip off, I'm not sure what made me think I should go for it. Let's call it determination, mum power, stubbornness but I made it and I thanked my little bump for trusting me and letting me try.

Jen Slater