Patricia van Liemt is a radio presenter, writer and mother of Maria (12) and Phaedra (9). Every Friday she writes striking, honest, funny and above all recognizable columns about her life and motherhood.
Last week I reposted a video of a heavily pregnant woman that caused a lot of commotion. She was 38 weeks pregnant and lifting weights. Admittedly, at first a special image, but that is mainly because heavily pregnant women are usually depicted with a blissful look in their eyes and their hands around their bellies.
The image of a heavily pregnant trained woman immediately generates all kinds of conflicts in our heads. “Isn’t this dangerous for the baby?” or “why the hell is this woman doing this?” I reposted the video because I like to give physically strong women a stage on my Instagram, to expose the stereotypes between men and women. In our daily conversation, men are always and by definition stronger than women. Because that’s how they’re built. But there really is a legion of women many times stronger than a legion of men.
Well, I also ended up in an old frustration. I’ll tell you why. Before I was pregnant I ran a lot and during my pregnancy I kept it up for a while. Once I gave birth to my daughter (through a caesarean section, by the way) I felt incredibly weak. I was really a shadow of my physical self. When I started running again six weeks after my C-section, I became instantly happier. It was not only good for my physical condition, but especially for my mental health.
I like to score goals and so I wanted to do the Dam tot Damloop. The running went very well after three months, only the tickets were already sold out. A month before the run, my husband casually mentioned that he could get a ticket, but declined. He said it might be a bit heavy for me after all. I was furious and extremely disappointed. Moreover, I also began to doubt whether he might be right. And that was the worst thing for me. That a man can damage a woman’s self-confidence.
“And that was the worst thing for me. That a man can damage a woman’s self-confidence”
Long story short, he (obviously!) fixed the ticket for me and I ran it. With a super good time too. If only I had done well with my postpartum body.
What I want to say is that sports are tailor-made and therefore personal. Women should assess for themselves what their body is capable of, pregnant or not. We really feel that ourselves! I stopped the video for a while and saw what she actually lifts in weight. It was 22 kilos. That equates to a bag of dog food or a large toddler. Well ladies, we’ll do that one minute before we give birth to a child…
Would you rather listen to Patricia’s column? Which can. Every Friday between 2 and 4 pm she reads it on Wild FM.
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