If there’s one thing training has taught me about pregnancy, it’s that pain is not the sign you’ve reached the limits of your capabilities.

That’s not to say that pain should be ignored. Quite the opposite entirely. It’s a very loud note you have to learn to harmonize with. Some pain means you did something wrong, some pain means you did something you’re not ready for, and still other pain means you need a little break and then you should try again. And my favorite kind of pain: stop doing nothing and move.

It’s not easy to learn how to translate pain. Even before I started lifting, I was a pretty accident prone kind of girl. When I was growing up, I had more sprained ankles and wrists, more trips to the ER for x-rays, more bumps and bruises than just about anyone I know. But after breaking my arm twice, I learned what the difference was between a break and a sprain.

As an adult, I tried running for a while, too. I learned what the difference was between shin splints and chondromalacia thanks to some very nice doctors. (Also, I learned I kind of hate running, even without injury.)

There  have been assorted other minor injuries, fewer and fewer as I’ve learned more about myself and good techniques.

So now I’m closing in rapidly on 30 weeks pregnant. Every trip to the gym is different, requiring planning and focus. And it still hurts, but a lot less than sitting on the couch does. My hips will probably continue to protest long after this baby is on the outside, from what I hear. But that’s all the more reason to get stronger, to get healthy mobility back and to do it all over again.

There’s also another kind of pain I’ve never faced before. For some, it’s insurmountable, and for others, it’s a gift reminding them of the beauty of humanity. I hope when this baby’s time comes, I can take all of these lessons and put myself in the latter category: I am only as frail as my fear and as strong as the pain I bear for love.


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