Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Anti-Wall Flower School of Thought

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Since I've been feeling unnaturally amazing this past week (usually I'm a three trimester puker), I decided to try on a brand new hat and attempt exercising. While pregnant. This is a new and very big step for me.

It was pouring rain all six times I woke up in the night to use the bathroom and so when I finally got up this morning two things were clear: Number one, we would need hot chocolate for breakfast. Number two, I would be experimenting with this whole "exercise while you're pregnant" business indoors. I'm not sure those two absolutes belong in the same sentence, but hey, I don't make the rules. It's a fact that when you wake up to cold rain you must start your day with hot cocoa, and it's also a fact that pushing a jogging stroller through mud isn't a recipe for happiness. So, after the kids were packed off to school I headed to the gym.

At eighteen weeks gestation I'm currently enjoying that special time when the general public can't tell for certain if you're pregnant, or if you're on the Twinkie train. I need a tee-shirt that says, "This not-quite-legitimate bump is not processed food and refined sugar at work. I am growing a human being." (If you happen to see said tee-shirt, please let me know).

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Most of the time the not-quite-legitimate-bump remains happily obscured, but walking into the gym this morning I suddenly shrank back. It was that "first day of school" sensation where you think to yourself, where do I fit in here? What should I do with myself? Everyone around me looked so healthy and lithe. The weight lifters weren't messing around and the treadmill folks were running so fast they appeared on the verge of collapse. And after several months of the sedentary life I was left with the impression that I might need a building permit in order to sit down!

It's not often that I feel like a flower on the wall. In fact, it's a sensation I'm pretty much opposed to, not just for myself but for everyone. Even if it happens all the time, I'm resistant to the very idea of shrinking back from the world around you. As if you don't belong. As if your tummy is too fat for the chimney, or the gym in my case!

Just the other day my daughter Madeleine was faced with a similar situation. Her elementary school is hosting an adventure week and the students have the opportunity to rock climb, kayak, and experience all sorts of outdoor fun. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but my ever-practical little girl was worried. I don't know how to rock climb. What if I fall out of the kayak? What if I can't do all the activities? What if I feel embarrassed in front of my friends? 

These are the kind of questions that make wall flowers out of us. When Madeleine confessed she was considering sitting out from some of the activities I knew my pep talk needed to be a good one. I squatted down so I could look her straight in the eye. Don't sit on the sidelines, not for any of it, I urged her. This is your chance to try new things. This is your chance to find out what kind of things you like (or don't like). You might not be a pro at every single thing you try, but it's way better than missing out!

I gave myself this same pep talk at the gym this morning. Who cares if I feel awkward and out of shape? Who cares if every single person around me can run ten miles and then bench press their own weight? Really, who is watching? As I get older, especially now that I have kids who are watching me, this school of thought is becoming a creed. I'm the anti-wall flower person. Life is for living, not watching.

1 comment:

  1. Tracy Mallett has a great pregnancy DVD you could get on amazon.com. I did it the entire time I was pregnant and I loved it. Not too intense and great stretching combined with some cardio.


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