There is a point late in pregnancy, or at least there was for me, where you start to feel like an old person. Your back hurts, your feet are swollen, you’re hunched over and waddling, you can’t get up from the couch, you can’t bend down which is a pity because you’re dropping things left and right, and you decide it’s time to stop driving because you can’t get your foot from the gas to the brake in a timely manner. Yes, as any woman who has ever been nine months pregnant will tell you, it’s uncomfortable.
But giving birth alleviates almost all of those symptoms almost immediately, or at least it did for me. I remember dropping something on the floor of the hospital, picking it up and thinking “yay!” However having a baby, both the birth and upbringing processes, create new symptoms. Some are short-lived but some, again at least for me, are lingering around ten months later.
For instance, I can’t seem to shake that stressed out, scrunched up feeling. That’s probably because I am stressed out and scrunched up. There is just so much to worry about now, and my brain seems to be taking it out on my body. I’ve been grinding my teeth so hard that I’m cracking fillings. Sometimes when I wake up, my chest hurts, like I’ve been pressing on it all night. Though my posture would never have been considered one of my strong suits previously, now my shoulders are at my ears and should I lean any farther forward, I might fall off the chair. I feel like I spend my day doing isometric exercises designed to keep my body in the most uncomfortable, anti-ergonomic positions.
I know a big part of the problem is a lack of movement. I used to try to do my part, exercise-wise, but I gave up at about 8 months pregnant and haven’t looked back. Somewhat surprisingly, or maybe not, I feel stronger and more energetic now than I ever have before, but I use both the muscles and the energy solely to carry the baby around. So, finally fed up with the scrunchiness and some stubborn ab fat (I’m back at my pre-pregnancy weight, but apparently my stomach didn’t get the memo) I found, in my little hometown, a Pilates studio.
Pilates is like Yoga though not quite so crunchy granola, and focuses on the “core” muscles. Since my favorite exercise tapes back in my exercising days were the ones that combined Pilates with aerobics, I thought I might like the introductory mat class. You should know that I’m not usually one for gyms or classes, but I was desperate. I needed to get out of the house and focused on exercising or it was never going to happen.
I’ve taken two classes now and except for a harrowing incident in which a spider crawled dangerously close to my mat, I’m pretty pleased. It’s not that expensive, the instructor is friendly and it doesn’t seem like much of a workout when I’m doing it but I can definitely feel it the next day. Believe me, that part where it doesn’t seem like much of a workout is crucial. I don’t like to sweat.
I can’t say my two classes have alleviated my scrunchiness yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. I leave the classes with more energy, a straighter back and the motivation to do more. Finding the time to do more is still an issue but one hour a week is better than none. Baby steps. Maybe by the time my baby is walking, I’ll be able to set a good example by standing up straight.