When six-month pregnant Jenny Wright was called a ‘selfish cow’ while out for a run in Leeds’ Roundhay Park, she assumed she’d misheard.
But as she told the Mail On Sunday earlier this month, she wasn’t hearing things.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” the woman, who was smoking a cigarette, while pushing her own child along, bellowed in Wright’s direction.
“Putting your own vanity before your unborn baby.”
Too stunned to say anything, the wife of a personal fitness trainer, ran faster to get away.
As a woman who loves exercise, Wright had been exercising under the guidance of her doctor, and never expected her actions to raise an eyebrow, let alone public outrage.
Yet, after telling her story in the Daily Mail, a vociferous minority accused her of ‘feminism and an unrealistic obsession with women’s rights’, starving her baby of oxygen and risking her child with ‘shaken baby syndrome’.
All nonsense, of course, but a demonstration of how some women become divorced from their bodies’ natural needs during pregnancy and assume common sense isn’t good enough.
“Since my bump became obvious at about four-and-a-half months, countless people have been unable to hide their incredulity at the sight of me jogging – I stopped at 39 weeks, when it became uncomfortable,” Wright wrote in the Daily Mail.
On April 22, Wright gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Heidi, weighing 7lb 6oz after a 16-hour labour, during which she needed no pain relief.
“My midwife commented on how physically and mentally strong I still was,” said Wright. And her baby girl was equally strong, topping the charts in terms of her personal health.
According to Wright, advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that far from harming mother or unborn baby, being physically active is beneficial to both.
It recommends making activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, low-impact aerobics and gardening part of everyday life, and keeping sedentary spells to a minimum.