I’ve tried to stay in shape and workout throughout my pregnancy (so to not feel as guilty when I give into my increasing junk food cravings…but that is besides the point). In my eighth month, I was finding it increasingly more difficult to do my usual workout on the elliptical or just even walk my 2-3 miles a day. Baby Fernandez seems to delight in jumping on my bladder every time I take a step…which makes power walking without a bathroom within five feet pretty much impossibility. So I needed to come up with a plan B (or forego my morning donut dates with my son).
So I signed up for prenatal water aerobics at the St. Johns Health Club. I had heard about it from several moms who raved about how wonderful it was. Water aerobics – how hard can it be? I was visualizing Esther Williams and her crew listening to pretty music as we all did ballet like movements in the water. With no pressure on my belly. Sounded pretty good to me. Again, my delusions take hold.
But first I had to get over the hurdle wearing the MATERNITY SWIMSUIT. Let me tell you my non-pregnant friends, they are just not pretty. In the least. Now even in my skinniest of days, I had issues with parading around in a swimsuit – now I was going to actually go out in public, huge and swollen with a god-awful granny cut black one piece. I couldn’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror. Especially after my usually sweet and supportive husband started laughing when I walked out of the bathroom wearing it (if any men are reading this…do NOT make the same mistake – he is still paying dearly).
After I mustered up the courage to wear my suit in public, I joined eight other very pregnant ladies in the therapy pool at St. Johns. They had all been going for several months and you could tell had already bonded – something about all wearing terrible swimsuits in public has got to count for some sisterhood. Our instructor, Kendra, is seriously the most cheerful damn woman on the planet. I’ve never seen anyone with that much enthusiasm and spunk (of course, she was wearing cute workout clothes, was not in the pool and most importantly, NOT hugely pregnant…I’d be cheerful too).
We begin the class with a warm up…suspended skiing across the pool. Excuse me? Either I’m the most uncoordinated woman in the universe, or there must be some trick to the move, because I immediately began flailing across the pool, splashing everyone within a mile of me as I tried to stay afloat while simultaneously trying to cross country ski while not touching the bottom of the pool. I was not off to a good start.
Then we begin a series of “suspensions” (i.e. not letting your feet touch the ground under any circumstances) while doing various leg and arm movements and traveling across the pool. So much for the graceful ballet -like movements of synchronized swimming – I had the grace of an elephant. Not to mention I was about to pass out from my increasing heart rate (I just THOUGHT I was in good shape before I showed up). All the while Kendra is cheering “You are beautiful pregnant women!” “You are going to have beautiful happy babies!” “You are strong, happy, mentally alert and it is a Terrific Tuesday!” About this time I’m about to vomit on her Terrific Tuesday.
The hour seemed to last forever, and by the end of the class, my legs were like jelly. As I wobbled and waddled out of the pool (you can imagine the pretty sight), I barely made it to the locker room. I felt the equivalent of running a marathon. All the other mommies were encouraging me to come back, that they promised it would get easier. Dare I believe them? Dare I bare the humiliation of the pregnancy suit again? Hmmm…how badly do I want those donuts? I’ll be back next week.