Thursday, July 16, 2015

Is Pregnancy a Disability?

we tried to get some pics of the kiddos hugging my belly, but River just isn't tall enough when standing

Why would I even think that pregnancy is or isn't a disability?

I've mentioned it before, but Sunshine's pregnancy was not great. It was very uncomfortable and painful because I hadn't been active for quite some time before getting pregnant. School and work meant a lot of sitting and some shortened tendons that caused all sorts of problems in my hips. I couldn't sweep the floors of our small house without massive amounts of hip pain that stuck around for several days, making any movement very painful. I was relegated to sitting on the couch for most of that pregnancy.

For me, Sunshine's pregnancy felt like a disability.

I started running again and became much more active about a year after Sunshine was born and have stayed active since then. While I was pregnant with River, I was able to stay active by running and building things. I ran 4 races while pregnant with him, and built several projects, including a dining table and bencheshomeschool cupboardcoffee table LEGO habitat, and a sofa table. The pregnancy was much more comfortable and less problematic than Sunshine's was. I was able to clean the house without massive amounts of pain and I didn't spend much time on the couch. I still had problems (like the pinched nerve in my back), but they were nowhere near as bad as the problems I'd had while pregnant with Sunshine.

River's pregnancy didn't feel like a disability.

This was a bit of a revelation to me. There's almost 7.5 years between Sunshine and River, which gave me ample time to dwell on just how bad things were the first time around. The vastly improved experience with River went a long way to changing my thought processes on what I could and could not do, especially while pregnant.

Because celiac disease screwed up my body so much I struggled for years with how much I could do even without pregnancy in the equation. Having Sunshine in my pre-gluten free years didn't make her pregnancy better. Being gluten free for three years before getting pregnant with River allowed my body to heal and helped me realize I could do more than I thought I was able. Having a much better pregnancy further cemented that thought process.

This pregnancy I've continued being active. I've kept up with Sunshine and River and I've run/walked 10 races. I've built a patio, a treehouse, deck furniture, a fire pit, and several smaller projects. All while mostly in the third trimester of this pregnancy and dealing with the gross heat and humidity that is summer here. I talked about spending the third trimester indoors, enjoying the air conditioning, but that just hasn't happened.

And I'm ok with that. I can do hard things. It may not feel comfortable the whole time and I may have to deal with the resulting fatigue and soreness, but I can do hard things. I don't need to sit on the couch for nine months, afraid to move or do anything.

Not that I've been able to do all these things on my own. Since I feel strongly that I need to stay active, there's been a lot of prayers as I've prayed for the ability to do all these things. There was a talk in General Conference several years ago about doing hard things, and being able to do so with the help of the Lord. I don't remember most talks long term (a side effect of 10 years of untreated celiac disease is the inability to remember a lot of things, both short and long term), but that is one of the few that has stuck with me over the years.

Working on my ambitious projects the last few months has helped me better recognize my physical limits. I frequently over-estimate what I can do, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but could be problematic while pregnant. My projects took longer to complete than they would have if I wasn't pregnant, but I was able to finish them without hurting myself or the baby, which is really the most important thing.

Why all the introspection?

Today's my official due date, but I'm not holding my breath on the little guy making his appearance today. Sunshine was a week and a half late and had to be induced and River was a week late, though I went into labor naturally with him. I'll admit I've been hoping for an extra week with this little guy as well- I feel pretty good and I have a couple projects I'm trying to finish up. We're definitely in the wait-and-see stage, so we'll be taking things a day at a time.

Did any/all of your pregnancies make you feel like you were disabled?

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