After having two kids in three years, I decided to try and be a “fit-mom”. Sean and I joined the local YMCA when we moved to our new house a little over a year ago. The great part about the Y is all of the class choices a member can make each session. There are so many classes to choose from, and they are all relatively affordable. Evie has taken soccer, basketball, t-ball, tumbling, dance, and swimming. They also have this magical place called Childwatch. It’s quite a simple concept, they watch your child. That simple concept is saving the sanity of mothers everywhere.
Each pregnancy I’ve managed to keep myself looking relatively ok considering the human growing inside of me. I already eat pretty poorly when I’m not pregnant, so add in some extra cravings and my diet can get a little scary looking. Sean makes plenty of trips to the store for cool whip, giant bags of skittles and starbursts, sourpatch kids, anything tangy and sure I’ll eat it. This third time around, I was going to do it right. I bought apples. I even went as far as to cut up some of them and eat them.
I joined a water aerobics class and Zumba at 24-weeks pregnant. Something you’ll learn, if you don’t already know, is that by kid number 3 your poor abdominal muscles are so used to being stretched out for pregnancy, that they just pop out the minute you take the pregnancy test. I woke up the next day after those pink lines smacked me in the face again, and voila I was showing. How wonderful right? Not the cute bump you have the first time around, but the …. “Oh goodness, is that woman pregnant? Or did she just have a baby? Should I say congratulations? Or should I tell her about my new diet?” That glow that everyone is talking about is just sweat, and stress. How the fuck am I supposed to be pregnant and take care of a damn newborn? I was still nursing Millie, and still doing almost everything for Evie who wasn’t quite three yet. If I was glowing, you can trust that I am running through the million ways that these three children will ultimately kill me one day in my head.
Somehow, I convinced my 26-year-old, single, fun loving sister to join me in these classes. She was eager to get the exercise but let’s be real, water aerobics was for us, 20-30 years from now. She was more excited for the Zumba class, which in hindsight was because unlike me, she actually has some rhythm. Even though I convinced her to join, she stood me up for the first two weeks of water aerobics. Something about having a life or doing something fun. I showed up for day one in my maternity suit, resembling the same shapely figure as the Grinch. I was even scowling a bit like him too. I don’t have the time to shave my legs, so I hid my stubble under my towel until class began. I watched as twenty, 50-something year-old woman climbed into the freezing cold pool. They were all gabbing and catching up after the two week break between classes. They were all friends. They were all smiling, and had nice hair and makeup while recluse grinchy-hairy me lurked in the corner staring at them all.
I didn’t have makeup on my hormonal pimpled face. My hair was in a messy bun on top of my head. I filled my maternity suit just enough to be considered chubby, not enough to be considered pregnant quite yet. A vibrant woman jumped through the pool doors as if she was busting through a time portal right out of the 80’s, headband, leg warmers, boom box and all. The instructor was here, and I realized I shouldn’t be.
But, I decided it was time to climb into the pool. Those bitches were right, it was fucking freezing. I learned quickly that water aerobics was more of a social hour than a real work-out. I watched as the women around me jumped slightly up and down in the water, using their water weights to stretch their arms out. I wasn’t here for a damn stretch. I squeezed my ass into this suit and climbed into this cold water for a purpose. I jumped and splashed and punched and kicked to the best of the 80’s beats. My instructor smiled and gave me a thumbs-up for encouragement. The other women all moved away from my splashing madness. The one old guy in the class moved closer though. Creeper! I’m pregnant. I was ok not making any friends.
The next day I was sore. So I continued to go back. For at least three weeks.
Now Zumba, for anyone with any sense of rhythm Zumba can be really fun. I loved the music, and the excitement that filled the room. For Zumba, I put on cute workout pants with a stretch maternity waste-band, and a super tight maternity workout tank. My boobs were squished so close together and so high, that I could bend my neck down and kiss the top of them. I felt like a trophy-wife all pregnant and spandexy. Something about being covered basically boob to toe in shapewear can make even the most pregnant of woman feel confident. There was even another pregnant woman in the class. Our instructor was younger, and her smile filled the room. She carried on small talk while everyone settled into their spots. Kaitlyn, once again didn’t show for the first week. All that fun and freedom she has can be kind of annoying sometimes. I had been looking forward to Zumba for a month. The idea of it all wasn’t quite as thrilling for her, who I’m sure went out for drinks after work instead.
The music started, loud and fast. I watched my instructor in front of me start to move her legs and arms simultaneously. She was able to move both, at the same time, as if she had full control over all of her limbs and could move them different ways to the beat of the song. I do not have such control. I can move one or the other. Sometimes, I can’t even fully control that. I looked around me to find that mostly everyone could do the things she was doing. They clapped, and kicked, and rolled their bodies with the rhythm. I did not. I tried my very best, but I simply did not. You know those wacky inflatable arm flailing things in front of car dealerships, that’s me. I chose to move my arms so there I was, a tree trunk standing still flailing my arms all around.
The first song ended. Surely there were only a couple more songs? This time I decided to move my feet. The beat picked up pace, and everyone started to move to the left. I moved to the right. I stepped on my neighbors foot, and she half-smiled at me. I know what she was thinking though, underneath that fake half-smile. “What the fuck is wrong with you, go the other way dumbass.”
I learned quickly, that I cannot follow the instructor. See, she faces out towards us. So her movements, are opposite of mine. This is a concept I cannot follow. I will always do the opposite of everyone else, because it matches my instructor. Her left is my right. Her right is my left. Everyone hates me. But, I decide the music is fun enough, and hell I’m getting a break from my kids, so I continue on with the class. I pick a girl in front of me to focus on because maybe then I can move in the right direction. She is young, and has a perky ass and no dark circles under her eyes. I bet she doesn’t have kids. I bet based off of her booty shaking skills and ability to get really low that she still goes to clubs. I wonder how many men she gets to sleep with by using some of these dance moves at the club. I say a little prayer for her to not get knocked up so young like I did. “Enjoy these days,” I think to myself as I stare at her perfect ass.
Despite my awful first class, I return next week. Kaitlyn finally made it to a class. I’m excited because I had a whole class to learn the moves and I’d secretly been working on them at home all week. The song began and as if Kaitlyn had been a Zumba instructor in a past life, she hit the steps perfectly. I felt betrayed. This bitch. She was some kind of Zumba master piece of shit. I wanted to trip her, and then make a jazz square around her. But I can’t make a god damn Jazz Square no matter how many times I practice it. Our instructor smiles at Kaitlyn, and laughs at me. I decided to embrace it all and quite literally dance to the beat of my own drum. As the weeks went on and my belly grew my awkwardness did too. I never improved. I was never able to follow the instructor. I never mastered that jazz square. Not long after the class started my boobs stopped fitting in the tank top and my ass did not look like a trophy wife’s. I made it to at least 6 weeks before I stopped going. Lifting the spoon from the bowl of ice cream to my mouth was enough of a work out for me.