Even though the forecast called for rain on Friday, we decided bet against the weatherman and take a "hike" to Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains. We won the bet: no rain, just a nice cloud cover that kept the temperature warm, and kept all the other folks who take family outings on Friday mornings away. "Hike" in quotation marks because it was really a very slow walk up and back on a paved trail, which nicely accommodated our stroller. All the same, it was a lovely day, and a beautiful destination.
The thing that made this outing unusual is that, apparently, pregnant women don't do this very often. Or at least, that's the impression I got from the stares everyone on the trail gave me...and the comments the vocal minority chose to add to those stares.
I know that there are athletic moms out there who faithfully exercise, jog, run marathons, all while carrying a baby. I'm not one of those moms. My favorite exercise is to try to get myself out of the couch after I have slouched down so low it takes a crane (or Jonathan) to lift me back out again. In spite of my very good intentions, exercise and I are not very good friends.
However, when I was pregnant with Hannah, I took this to an extreme and never left my couch-cushion prison. The summer before Hannah was born was our only summer in Cody, Wyoming, and we missed so many wonderful opportunities to explore nature at its very best. While we took many scenic drives around Yellowstone and the surrounding area, we never ventured out to camp, or walk the trails, and even our non-athletic picnics were limited to two. What a shame! I vowed that this would never happen again. So when Jonathan suggested this trip to Laurel Falls, I tied on my tennis shoes and packed the picnic basket
My favorite part of the whole walk was the looks of our fellow walkers. I think anyone who has been pregnant knows the kind of looks I'm talking about - where people, some discreet, some not so much, stare at your belly. Some people are thinking, "Is she pregnant? Surely she's pregnant. I don't want to say anything about being pregnant, because what if she's not pregnant." Some people are thinking, "Aw...a new baby on the way. How sweet."
The looks I got on the trail ranged from, "Wow! That woman is actually doing this. I'm not pregnant, and I'm about to pass out." to "That person is plain crazy." to "Did you want to go into labor in the middle of nowhere?!" Actually, most of those comments were actually spoken to me, but the wordless looks said as much.
Each person we passed added a little to my sense of empowerment. I got off the couch! (Without a crane or Jonathan's help!) I went on an outing - outdoors! I kept my resolution to still do things, even though there's a bun in the oven! So what's next? Another "hike"? Camping? Walking to the end of the driveway to get the mail? The sky's the limit!