barefoot and pregnant, scrubbing the pelvic floor

Last night a friend and I attended a postpartum / pregnant mama exercise class. I guess I’m not sure why I attended – my youngest being sixteen months old so the term “postpartum” being a stretch – except that I had heard apparently there are these muscle groups in your tummy, back, and bottom as opposed to treacherous flaccid areas that will let you down humiliatingly when you require their assistance. When I heard this rumor I also vaguely remembered once being able to do a sit-up and I thought I might attempt to reclaim something along those lines.

At 6 PM about nine women falling into the categories of pregnant / trying-to-get-pregnant / postpartum assembled in a carpeted room with a small inventory of weights, chairs, large exercise balls, and stretchy rubberbandy thingies – all equipment that I have associated with females who think that somehow if you have enough friendly-looking and brightly colored toys you won’t have to work up a sweat to get in shape, heavens no. Up until this moment I had only used an exercise ball to bounce on hyperactively at the Open Gym uptown, holding my drooling son against my boobs as he blissfully would grunt, “uh, uh, uh” to the tempo of my bouncing. I also am the type who can’t hear phrases like “OK ladies, let’s put our balls against the wall!” and, “I notice some of you have bigger balls than others!” spoken by a peppy instructor without giggling like an asinine 12 year-old boy.

However, as of this morning I have to begrudgingly admit that the physical therapists seem to know their stuff. My body aches in artfully subtle ways and my posture is 1/4″ corrected, due to repeated but “gentle” abuses on said rubber-balls. My legs and ass are really pissed that I went macho and did ALL sets of lunges instead of doing something sensible like sitting it out and having a cigarette. This morning I went on the normal Tuesday Fort Worden hike to stretch out a bit – lugging my two children by stroller and carrier as usual – and got to experience the sweat and slight thrill of serial corporeal abuse.

The real hero in this story is my friend Abbi, who four months postpartum was motivated to learn to pump breastmilk, shove a hungry infant and toddler into her husband’s arms five minutes after he got home from work, stuff herself in some sweats and funky black “athletic” shoes (the only ones she had), and get her go-go ass out there. I guess she knows what our fellow classmates, the newly-preggo and first-time parents, haven’t yet discovered – that NO ONE takes care of Mama if Mama doesn’t take care of Mama.

As for me, I’m the one walking down the street rubbing my ass and using a handrail when going down stairs. I just *know* this is all going to pay off when I can crack a walnut in my cheeks, though.

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