May 7, 2009
This is a picture of Dougal because he's part of my walking lots active lifestyle.
Anybody who reads this blog with any frequency has heard me gripe about people impressing their dumb expectations upon me, particularly during pregnancy.
I've been bombarded with some very limited views on life while pregnant, life with children, total disregard of the double standard of being a woman and so on.
There are certain things I know will never change. Like, Don isn't going to (at least not in my lifetime) be equipped with a uterus. This means that any new family members to the Sarah, Don & Dougal triad will be hosted by yours truly.
Things that I desperately wish to change are the incredibly narrow parameters surrounding the prevailing status quo of pregnancy, motherhood, and active living in North America (for women in particular). I make the geographical qualification because I don't want to make assumptions about places where I don't live.
Sure, people tell me not to ride my bike (in general) but freak right out and pull out an extra 10 caution signs to wave in my face because I bike while pregnant. Upon discovering that I biked to my friend's place for a music rehearsal, this one mom at the school asked me if my friend smacked me when I arrived on the bicycle. Um... the answer is no. Because most of my friends understand that I value active living, that I love being able to feel my heart beat, that I hate driving and avoid it when I can, and I'm not some stupid daredevil who hops on a bike if not fully confident about my abilities to you know... pedal.
Countless people continue to advise me to stay active throughout the pregnancy as this will evidently help with labour and delivery. I get instructions to walk a lot. You know, because locomotion and some manner of activity for the body is a good thing. I find it hilarious that it requires pregnancy to impress upon people that... you know... walking is good. Also, that being active seems to be of paramount concern, but only if the activities subscribe to some arbitrary prerequisites.
Should I only walk if Don is at home and has the time to come hold my hand the whole time? While I'm at it, I'd better make sure I only walk during daylight hours in case some rapist is waiting to jump me in the alley beside my house. Oh, and I should probably take my baseball bat with me too, in the event of a zombie apocalypse... one can never be too careful. Yes, I am being sarcastic.
This makes me sad! Many people seem to regard "walking" as some specialized activity. It's unfortunate that walking isn't more integrated into people's lifestyles. When given this advice to ensure that I walk every day, I agree and assure these well-meaning people that I have a dog and we walk every day, pregnant or not.
It's usually when I throw in that I'm also biking that people retract violently and advise me against such a DANGEROUS activity. I would say 98% of the time people say, "Isn't that dangerous?" and follow it with, "what if you fall down?!"
I continue to remind myself that these people likely do not ride a bike. Falling down? How many people have just been riding their bike and spontaneously fall down? There are many more every day activities I can see being more hazardous than biking in terms of falling down. Walking up and down stairs, for example. Slipping on ice in the winter. Tripping on Dougal's kong toy. Getting in and out of the shower. Shall I go on?
Perhaps these fear mongering people are referring to the hazards of the road. Sure, you've got to be defensive in traffic and check at intersections and not make assumptions (at least not in Edmonton) that motor vehicle operators see you. Chances are they're not looking very careful while driving. In these spring days we've got lots of gravel on the side of the road that hasn't been swept yet. Sure, take those corners carefully so you don't wipe out (the last time I wiped out on gravel was when I was 12).
It all goes back to experience. People who say, "Biking while pregnant is bad because your balance is bad and you'll fall down!" likely don't have a lot of experience biking (a bike basically rides itself). People who also keep reminding me that walking is good hopefully understand that walking is an excellent activity to partake in regardless of pregnancy.
My point is: Active living is very sadly dead for some people. I desperately wish to dispel many of these fearful myths about active living (biking, walking, taking the bus) and want to encourage people to expect more from themselves. How can I do this when they just think I'm crazy and love putting my life in danger? I feel as though I'm quite articulate and reasonable when I attempt to address the concerns of such people, but the very unfortunate thing is that their minds are usually not open to a dialogue about where I'm coming from. Sadly, the minds of such people are so intrinsically focussed on car-dependent lifestyles where ecomobility seems like a massive regression for human kind.
What I'm saying is that some people just don't feel like questioning the status quo and I find that really disappointing. Not everybody has to live life the way I do and think the same things I think. I just wish people were excited enough about life to QUESTION their choices and ensure that their lifestyles choices have to some degree been given some thought and consideration.
So all you pregnant ladies, did you know that walking is good for you? And by the way, all you non pregnant people... walking is good for you!
Biking is too. If you don't feel safe then you should practice and try it before you run away from that scary and dangerous two wheeled mechanism. You'll go faster, farther, and will be able to carry way more stuff:)