I know, I know. A lot of people have time and/or make time to exercise. I am not one of those people (at least not right now).
The most weekday exercise I get these days is walking through the hallways of school and taking the stairs several times a day between the two floors there. Occasionally, on a day like today, I get to go on a field trip, where there is more walking involved. I was genuinely excited about this prospect this morning until we were outside taking a really steep hill. I was worried that my huffing and puffing might induce labor. I thought about joking about this with some of the kids, but then I realized it’d probably be wildly inappropriate to ask a bunch of eleven-year-olds if any of them had any experience delivering a baby. So, I kept my mouth shut and prayed my cervix would stay closed and my waters would not break.
On weekends, my exercise includes hefting tote bags of groceries through Saturday market, along with a toddler for much of the day, pushing a vacuum around the house, and bending down to the floor dozens and dozens of times to pick up toys, coloring pages, and dirty laundry that gets strewn about by two careless kids and occasionally a careless husband. That has to count for something, right?
I wonder if there is some sort of correlation between the number of pregnancies a woman has had and the amount of exercise she is able to get. Like, an increase in the number of pregnancies equals a decrease in the amount of exercise? Probably not. Just me making excuses for my sorry ass.
When I was expecting with my oldest, I walked a couple of miles every day through my first trimester. I also swam at our rec center (Liam and I were members then), took a weekly yoga class, and watched and participated in a prenatal workout DVD at home that was led by this crazy 8.5-month-pregnant Cirque du Soleil artist who was due to return to performing a mere six weeks after she delivered her baby. Who is really able to feel good about herself exercising alongside a woman with this kind of level of fitness? My goal at six weeks postpartum? I don’t know, be able to walk once or twice around the block?
I remember at the end of this workout the Cirque du So-lady had participants—well, me, really—do arm circles for three minutes. “If you can do this,” she said, “and focus through the pain and discomfort, you’ll be prepared for contractions of labor.” Yeah, right. Was this her first baby? Comparing the hard work of sustained arm circles to prolonged labor? Not even close. Still, I did find myself cursing at the screen more often than I’d care to admit those first few times, until I built up enough strength to get through the whole thing.
Super-fit Cirque du Soleil woman at two minutes into the damn arm circle routine: Come on. You can do it. Just think, you’ll soon be able to see and hold your beautiful baby. Work through the pain!
And then me: Shut the fuck up, you crazy bitch!
With my second pregnancy, I still walked during the summer and fall months, pushing the oldest in a stroller as I did so. I also did the weekly yoga class, but only in the third trimester. We had canceled our gym membership at that point, since we’d stopped going, so no swimming. And, I certainly was not able to keep up with the routine of Miss Cirque-du-so-crazy-Soleil. Arm circles, my ass.
And now there’s this pregnancy. The third and final one. I will admit to walking again this time around during the warmer months. But even that was inconsistent. This was probably due to the fact that my youngest developed a crazy stroller aversion midway through the summer. She persisted in screaming through most walks, which was more than my nerves could handle, and simply not worth the effort.
The most I’ve done with the yoga this time around is talk about how I really should be going. Unfortunatley, I managed to schedule all the rest of my midwife appointments on Wednesday evenings, the only day and time my town offers evening prenatal yoga classes. And, I’m pretty sure I gave the Cirque du Soleil workout DVD to someone else. That’s probably for the best. Arm circles be damned.
It’s not that I don’t want to exercise. I do. Badly. But where to find the time? Early morning? Nope. When you co-sleep with your children, as we do here at our house, it is not easy to escape the bed without the littles following along. They seem to sense, through some crazy intuition, the second after I am gone, and then rise, crankily and half asleep to greet me. I stay in bed so they can get every bit of sleep they need. Also, even if I could get away, I need every last bit of sleep I can get before heading off to work for the day.
And evenings? I suppose this could work a weekday night or two. Liam has managed to fit basketball on the family calendar Monday nights. I could do swimming another night, since yoga is already out due to my bad timing with scheduling. However, Liam often gets home late, after I’ve made and eaten dinner with the girls. By this point in the day I am exhausted. And it’s dark and cold outside. All I want to do is take a hot bath and then go to bed.
I guess there’s no excuse for not exercising on Sundays (the hubs works Saturdays so the weeknight excuse applies here too). What can I say? I’ve turned into a sloth. I value other things more than I value my fitness right now. And that’s why I’m looking forward to having this baby so I can enjoy some time off from school and once again make time for exercise in my day. Hell, I might even try doing some arm circles then, just for fun, for old time’s sake.