Wal-Mart isn’t someplace I normally associate with life-changing moments. Although if you’re going to have a public freakout Wallyworld does have a lot to recommend it: Not only can you buy tranquilizers, Natural Calm and fuzzy socks (just me?) but it seems like there are always a bunch of people around to call 911 if you actually make good on your promise to pass out. Yet when I decided to start hyperventilating, I went into the bathroom to hide. Nothing like a public restroom to guide you! Instead of two-roads-diverging-in-a-yellow-wood ambiance, I had two stalls in a peeling yellow bathroom. (If you mis-read that as “peeing” know that’s how I first typed it. I’m not sure I was wrong either way.)
Guiltily I took the bigger stall, the one with the large blue disabled placard on the front, because, by golly, I needed my space — if not for my person, at least for my huge emotions. Plus I was the only person in the bathroom. And I was totally prepared to bolt out with my pants around my ankles should I hear a wheelchair rolling in. Promise.
When I first saw this picture of Lea-Ann Ellison doing CrossFit a mere two weeks before her due date my initial thought was man, I miss my pregnancy boobs. (That’s about all I miss about pregnancy though. Okay, the boobs and the weird alien kicks that felt like my babies were doing slow-motion roundhouses. For me, just thinking about my pregnancies makes me hot and nauseous. Apparently I’m a sympathetic puker… with myself.)
The longer I looked at Ellison’s many impressive pictures, the more conflicted I became. The truth is that I don’t know how to feel about her being pregnant and doing CrossFit because I still don’t know I feel about me being pregnant and doing CrossFit (and kickboxing and weight lifting and running and a number of other intense exercises).
Pregnancy is not an illness. It’s a motto we hear thrown around a lot these days and while they’re quite correct – there’s nothing pathological about gestating – let’s not pretend that pregnancy doesn’t massively (hah!) change things in your body. At least it did for me:
There are lots of things no one tells you about childbirth. Like, for instance, that all that push-push-PUSH!-ing can give you hemorrhoids and break blood vessels in your eyes. (Because looking more tired and uncomfortable is exactly what every new mom needs, right?) Another fun tip? By the end of those 9 months not even maternity clothes fit well and you’ll be stuck wearing your husband’s basketball shorts and oversized Pac-Man tee for weeks, including to church. (And by “you” I mean “me”.) But one thing that really surprised me about birthing babies is how even after the wee one has exploded out of your nethers, you still look, well, pregnant.
After the birth of my first son, I remember sitting on the bed and poking my newly post-partum stomach. At first it was out of habit and I panicked briefly because I couldn’t get the baby to move… until he cried from the bassinet and reminded me he was an outsider now. But then it was because my stomach literally moved like a bowl full of jelly. I was Santa, you guys! But with a whole new meaning for “red suit”! And my stomach stayed that way – an oddly distended jiggly cavern with my organs still stuffed in inappropriate places as if decorated by a Feng Shui artist who hates people – for several weeks.
See – she’s fine now! Check out that core strength!! Compare Jelly Bean’s fab plank to this woman’s – this has got to be the worst “fitness” photo I’ve ever seen! (And no comment about the two binkies. We’re working on it!) I love her one boot/one plaid sandal combo. She cracks me up every single day.
“Huh, we never really figured out what happened with that blip,” the doctor said lightly as she traced her finger over Jelly Bean’s growth chart at her recent 2-year checkup. She didn’t even notice my uncomfortable fidgeting as she continued, “Ah well, no matter. She’s all caught up now.” By the time we got Jelly Bean’s shots – little sweetie was such a trouper, didn’t make a peep – and got out to the car I was so overcome I had to call my sister to talk me down before I could drive home. Attack of the mother guilt! Hello, darkness my old friend…
Buying a pregnancy test is always a fraught experience. You’re either praying to Fisher-Price that it says yes or pleading to Durex it says no. I don’t know any woman that says, “Eh, I’m not feeling a movie tonight. Let’s go get a pregnancy test – just for funzies!” Remember that Walgreens cashiers the next time you see a wild-haired, wild-eyed, pajama-clad lady with a clown car full of screaming children clutching a pee-on-a-stick. I know it’s your job but asking if I’d like to take advantage of the BOGO (buy one, get one half off) offer this week will only make me cry harder. (Also, Walgreens? Good call on putting the pregnancy tests on the same shelf with the condoms. There was a teenage boy standing there checking them out and I’m pretty sure I just convinced him that abstinence really is best. Or maybe a vasectomy. You’re welcome, teenaged boy’s mom!)
“I hadn’t planned on doing a tour; I’d had Zuma, I felt so gross – I got so big and felt so out of touch and not cool. I was trying to write this cool record and nothing came out.”
Unsolicited uterus update! My problem is I have a wicked case of PMS. (No, I’m not pregnant but I scared you didn’t I?) Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask? Despite having my monthly, well, monthly since I was 16 – late bloomers holla! – I’m still surprised by its appearance every 30ish days. First my appetite ramps up; I’m still not weighing myself (!!!) but back when I was it was not uncommon for me to gain 3-5 pounds during the week before and during my period. Next I get overly emotional about stupid things like Teen Mom. Finally I get immensely irritated by every teensy thing my husband and children do. Somehow I manage to be depressed, enraged and sentimental all in the span of 5 minutes.
That’s the way my grief works these days: when talking about my deceased daughter Faith, I feel a familiar ache but it’s as much happiness as it is sadness because I love remembering her, love sharing her with people. But sometimes grief surprises me – a news report about another mother who has lost a child (the #1 reason I cannot watch the news, I will feel sick about it for days), a dress in the size she would be wearing if she were still alive, a poignant look on Jelly Bean’s face that is a shadow of an unknown sister, and even a sterile word that pops up in a mindless game. This grief is the kind that reminds me I have a smoldering coal of hurt deep inside, one that still burns tears into my eyes.
This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Intel.