There’s nothing like a surprise blessing of a pregnancy to stop you in your tracks and make you look at the world around you. This was particularly strange during 2020 going into 2021! From changing seasons to changing hormones, the unfolding of my pregnancy alongside one of the oddest years ever has been a constant lesson in remaining present and watching nature’s beauty.
After doing a navigation course with Beyond the Edge back in August 2020, I was getting ready to do the Hill and Moorland Leader training when all of a sudden it became obvious that I had a little person taking up residence in my belly! So I threw all my current plans to the wind and went on the new path that was paving itself out in front of me. This happened to involve a lot of walking as realistically it was one of the only things that I was still available to do outside the home. So, to the hills I went!
Well, actually, right at the beginning came the notorious morning sickness, (which may I add is not just in the morning its more of a 24hr affair) so all I could do was walk around the block and then curl up back in bed again as the fresh air seemed to bring some kind of relief from the claustrophobic nausea. Then as the metaphorical clouds cleared from around me, I could muster walking around Sheffield’s parks, slowly adding on the odd half a mile and enjoying the fresh air getting deeper into my lungs.
Then as if by magic, one day I made it upto Forge Dam on the outskirts of Sheffield . This may not sound that much if you’re an avid walker but it really felt like I had completed a marathon and wow did my butt hurt at the end of it. Everytime I went for a walk my belly would stretch and be bigger than when I left the house, which felt so good!
Like so many other people when the first lockdown hit in March 2020 I was delighted to see how much nature was allowed to flourish at arguably its busiest time. It was so easy to see how much difference a lack of cars on the road made to our weather and noise pollution levels. It seemed as though we had finally let nature have some peace. We all obviously had the same idea and took to the great outdoors. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed but the paths began to be busier, more trodden and the odd bit of litter was creeping into corners of nature I hadn’t noticed before. Which leads me to my next chapter of walking through pregnancy: litter picking!
I had seen a man in the town centre in all weathers with his litter picker and some contraption that held his bag open as he put the litter in. It was so inspiring that I decided to shamelessly copy him and so now in the third and hopefully final lockdown, I am waddling around in my third trimester with a litter picker and a bin bag. Sometimes I will walk for a while before picking litter or sometimes I’ll just target an area and not leave till my bag is full.
This has really helped me with the feeling of eco-doom that’s become more persistent now I’m growing a little portion of the future inside me. Pregnancy has really strengthened my awe for mother nature and all her perfectly designed processes such as the seasons, ecosystems and weather patterns.
When out on a walk by yourself there is so much to contemplate around you, how intricate nature is, how it is in a constant state of flow and manages to stay in balance. I hope that other people have come across these revelations during 2020. We have an opportunity to take a lot of lessons from these strange times. Nature teaches us to take everything in our stride, to remain calm and let the path guide you. I hope everyone is keeping safe and watching nature where you can, even if it’s from your back door.
Here is a list of what I take with me on a preggo walk, in case this sounds appealing to you too:
- Litter picker, bin bag and hand sanitizer (I don’t always litter pick as it’s quite a messy business).
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- OS map and compass
- Protein balls for when you either feel sick or need an energy boost (see recipe below)
Protein Balls Recipe
This recipe can be easily tweaked to suit whatever’s in your cupboards. All you need are blended nuts and/or seeds (you can make these at home if you have a coffee bean grinder) and something to stick it all together such as date paste and/or nut butter.
- 100g blended nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashew).
- 100g blended seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flax).
- 100g shelled hemp seeds (not necessary but really good for you).
- 2 big dessert spoons of nut butter (crunchy peanut makes a nice texture and is cheap).
- 3 big dessert spoons of date paste OR half a bag of dates sliced up and mashed with a fork (can substitute for any dried fruit but medjool dates are really good as they’ve got lots of squish, prunes work just as well).
- Half a bar of dark chocolate (the darker the better as less sugar).
- Honey to taste but not strictly necessary.
Put a pyrex bowl in a large saucepan that has approx 1cm of hot water in the bottom, put on simmer. Add the nut butter, dates and chocolate. When melted slowly add all of your dry ingredients. Depending on if you have chopped dates or date paste it will require less or more mashing (can be a good work out for your arms). Once all ingredients are mashed together evenly, while it is still warm, roll into balls and store in a tupperware box in the fridge.
These protein balls are also perfect for midnight snacks if you wake up in the middle of the night starving which seems to be one of those pregnancy things no one mentions 🙂