Last week I took a day off work and went on a hike with my husband. This first week back to ‘regular life’ after the holidays was a hectic one: new schedules, new after school activities, filtering and organizing the newly imminent 2020 tasks and deadlines. Plus two doctors appointments for me, including my important mid-way anatomy scan (all looks good).
The previous month, we’d spent hours together shopping, driving, cooking, visiting family, and doing family activities. We found out we were pregnant in the fall, had our initial genetic testing returned our low risk results for chromosomal disorders (I’m over 35, so we got all the early scans and opted for Cell Free DNA – very cool science) the week of Thanksgiving, but hadn’t had a moment to process much beyond, “Low risk, great, we need to X, Y gifts for her and him.”
In a full-on plan to spend some focused adult conversation together without interruption, we decided to do our favorite thing: head outdoors for the day. We decided to explore one of the Albuquerque foothills trails. I run and hike these trails regularly, but less frequently in winter conditions.
I LOVE to hike, but I was slightly apprehensive. In this pregnancy, while early months brought nausea and constant snacking to curb that discomfort, in the past month I’ve had a serious dip in appetite, and the result is that I often forget to eat, with my energy crashing dangerously into sudden extreme exhaustion and dizziness, even the amazingness of fainting on Christmas Eve (first time fainting in my life…hope not to repeat). My husband is an excellent outdoorsman, we’re both very competent hikers/backpackers, however, given the winter conditions and my pregnancy status, we planned meticulously. First, we slashed our initial idea of hiking to the Crest and then snowshoeing along the Crest Trail (a planned 10-12ish mile excursion), in favor of just hiking up the trail until I felt ready to turn around. We brought gear: jackets, hats, gaiters, trekking poles, and had some brand new Yaktrax to try out for slippery conditions.
The hike turned out to be just what I needed in mid-pregnancy: we hiked a total of ~8 miles in just under 3 hours, we turned around just before the steep last quarter mile to the top of the Crest. Best of all: I felt energetic the whole way, and we had great conversation. The trip was also important in that it allowed me some time to connect with my husband and voice some of the excitement, questions, and worries I had, and ask his input. It was also good to decompress by dissecting the last few months whirlwind, and then look forward to the year ahead, talking about decisions that needed to be made large and small (Is soup 4 nights a week ok? Should we put our daughter in swim team and dance as she requests? What are our childcare needs and options with 3 kids?).
With a growing family, I find it increasingly important to make the time to connect with the pillars of my support system. My husband plays the foundational role here, and I am very glad to be able to rely on his support and input and encouragement as we grow our life together.
Who is in your support structure? Who do you rely on for critical decision making, encouragement, or when you have a big, gnarly question? How do you process big decisions, and how do you help others as they shape their lives?