Shauna Coxsey before the Tokyo Olympics (captured in February 2020)
Photo: Julian Finney/ Getty Images
Shauna Coxsey is a professional rock climber.
She became a world cup champion in bouldering.
Last year she competed at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
On Instagram, she shows herself hanging from a steep wall, jumping from one grip to the next.
Nothing special, actually, if it weren't for her baby bump.
Coxsey is nine months pregnant.
In a story in the "Guardian", the 29-year-old has now commented on negative comments, mostly made on social networks.
The fact that Coxsey continues to climb despite her advancing pregnancy caused criticism.
Instagram users wanted to know if that was safe.
And what happens if she falls down.
Sure, Coxsey says she's a pro and can assess the risk.
Even with a baby bump.
But that's not the point, she thinks.
"I'm a pregnant woman making decisions," Coxsey told the Guardian.
Not every woman can continue climbing during pregnancy, but others can.
"It's important to share these positive experiences," said Coxsey.
"It's not like we all have to sit on the sofa for nine months."
A friend gave up climbing because she couldn't take the judgments and slanted looks anymore, Coxsey said.
"For someone to give up something they love just because they're being judged - it's so sad it still happens."
By sharing her experiences, Coxsey hopes to empower other women to make their own choices.
"And a little part of me hopes that some people who jump to judgment might think twice next time," she said, adding, "Maybe that's naive."
Coxsey did not expect to be able to climb at this point in her pregnancy.
But there are also "super steep sections" that she can no longer do, she said, also because she doesn't want to strain her abdominal muscles too much.
"It's difficult to lean against a rock face with a belly in the way."