Katharine Merry’s pregnancy blog is launched on ivillage

This news broke on Friday, December 10th, 2010 | For more breaking news visit our news page

At 8pm on the 25th September 2000 I stood in front of 112,000 people and a worldwide audience of millions to tackle my Olympic 400m final.

I had been an athlete for 16 years. I had done everything in my control to be ready to deliver on the biggest stage; made sacrifices, decisions and always been in control. I felt calm. A full-time professional athlete.

That, until five years ago, was my life.

But last year, with my Olympic bronze medal safely tucked away, the next phase kicked in.

I was 35; in a happy, steady relationship; was conscious of the body clock ticking and feeling ready to start a family.

We decided to try for a baby.

I pride myself on being, often to my boyfriend’s annoyance, very organised. I am a typical Virgo. Running made me very disciplined. So we had to plan the pregnancy right: When was the best time? How long would it take? Questions we could answer, some we couldn’t. We decided a December delivery was the plan.

I am due early March… so close!

When I found out I was pregnant there was shock, excitement, fear, trepidation, nerves and the general ‘OMG!’ thoughts.

The pregnancy has been pretty smooth. Only physically sick four times and I have emerged out the 15 week coma tiredness phase. The one scare was at 18 weeks (if you don’t call the sharp pains scares): I awoke to some light bleeding. Panic stricken, I called the midwife and after a rushed visit to the hospital I was told all was ok and it’s ‘quite normal’. Quite normal? None of this is normal to me! I was told ‘We don’t know what the cause is but it’s not unusual’. As an athlete I am used to getting reasons behind illnesses and injuries… what do you mean you don’t have a reason?

I am now 29 weeks gone and showing. People who know me are saying, ‘oh you kept that quiet’. Why do people think that when you are pregnant you should take an advert out the paper?! It is private and personal, and no one knew for the first 12 weeks.

The first 15 weeks were really weird for me. It was tough because I was shattered. I used to train for hours six times a week and get tired. But this was different. I have never felt tiredness like it. Constantly whacked!

I’ve tried to carry on with work to as full an extent as possible, having nervously undertaken nearly 20 flights since my positive test and I’m in the process of the biggest change for me. My body. I would love to do nothing, but I have to work, I have a career I want to continue building.

I have never been anything but slim and ‘in shape’. Even five years retired I still look like I do some exercise when – truth is – I don’t. Now… I am in shape but a round, fuller shape! Bump out front and bigger boobs. I have people asking if I’ve had a boob job!? Nice, having never had a cleavage, but No!

My ‘other half’ has been wonderful as we both get used to some little person being here soon. He is gradually realising he will have to step in and start doing more things. I have the time and, being a control freak, the desire to still try and do it all! I learnt early on though to play the ‘baby card’. It gets whipped out with great speed when I don’t want to do something, even when I can! Is that wrong?!! No, ‘I am building a child’ I tell him!

So gradually my hold on being in control is starting to slip but not much yet. I am getting used to impending birth of our first child but with the honesty to admit I don’t think I have got my head round it fully. Do you ever before the child actually arrives?

‘How exciting’ everyone says. I have a few twinges of feeling bad when I agree it is….but petrified is the word that still springs to my mind!

My decision list seems to growing as fast as my child. ‘Do you want to know the sex of the baby?’ – we were asked at 20 weeks… ‘Oh yes!’  we said in unison. Friends have said ‘Don’t you want the surprise?’ Surprise? It will be a big enough surprise when the little one arrives, so tell us!… Although you will have to wait, I’m afraid…

Apparently, birth plans need to be made soon. Need to read up on that, I have no clue. My plan: as quick and pain-free as possible? Or am I not getting it?

So just like 10 years ago in Stadium Australia I am currently in control, calm but nervous and ready to deliver. I think! The ride so far has been a blessed one with continuing decisions to make. I think I am getting it, as I transform from the selfish athlete to loving mother. =)

Dilemma of the Week

Admittedly this was an issue at around week 20, but since this is my first post  thought I’d use the opportunity to share the dilemma I’m sure we’ve all had…

What to wear to work or a smart evening do?

Should I wear my old clothes which – if I’m honest do sometimes put a bit of pressure on my ever expanding tummy, start buying larger size clothes which I hopefully won’t wear again after I had junior or should I start investing in maternity wear now?  The fact that I had a big night ahead of me Presenting the England Athletics Hall of Fame Awards, led me to invest in a couple of great dresses from Isabella Oliver.

Ruffle Wrap Dress, £109:

I adore the bias ruffle of this easy care jersey maternity wrap dress which I know I am going to wear for work and nights out, well after the big day. Isabellaoliver.com

Ruched Tank Dress, £99:

I’ve seen lots of A-listers wear this one and thought I’d flatter myself for the night. I love the fitted silhouette of this iconic maternity dress. You can see this dress in action in the earlier photo of Linford Christie and me. Isabellaoliver.com

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