[Let me make a comment aside about shorts. I do not "do" shorts. Not even for exercise. I like a nice boot-cut yoga pant, thankyouverymuch. And yes. I have been known to surreptitiously apply lipstick before entering my step class. See above, re: "wall-to-wall mirrors..." Yes. I am that shallow. But Oprah assures me that it is important to feel that you look good when exercising for that extra incentive. So lipstick on a pig it is...]
Gray lycra shorts--unflattering for 99.9% of population, especially female population where crotch-sweat is of possible issue (not for me, I hasten to add. Just the rest of you
Gray lyrca maternity shorts. A whole new level of ugly.
But it's about 90 degrees outside and humid, and being all "responsible" and shit, I knew it was important to not overheat during an exercise routine when preggo. (uh, how about NOT doing exercise that involves "running suicide circuits" Joy??? We'll get to that bag of angst in a mo. Just hang on.) So I am wearing the shorts and juggling positions because this mirror makes me look way thinner than that mirror. Which one is TRUE???
And as I boinged sweatily around the class doing high-knee jogging and wondering if there was a belly-bra kind of thing that could keep the stomach from feeling like it would rip my core each time it jarred up, I had the (perhaps overdue) sensation that me being in this class at all at 24 weeks was a leeeetle bit fucked up.
OR was I just succuumbing to my typical "let's see if you can rationalize yourself out of this one, Joy..."? For this is also a tactic I know all to well.
So this is the inner turmoil you encounter me in today. Triggered in large part to the fact that the glory-days of cute pregnancy bump and thin(ish) arms and thighs are receding, and that somehow I am managing to mindlessly chow down almost entire packages of chocolate bikkies in one sitting, and that according to the books (yes, the books I like to decry in rant-posts. did I ever say I was not a hypocrite?) that pregnancy requires 300 extra calories a day, which about amounts to one of these and one of these. Oh, let the abandoned eating begin!
(and when I say thin(ish) I mean for me. First tri nausea meant I shed a few, and yes, though sick-as-dog, I was digging the decrease of wobbly bits, even while I knew it would not last...)
Apparently eating for two basically means adding an organic yoghurt smoothie and a (forbidden) cookie to your daily intake of food, assuming of course that you were eating in appropriate range in the first place. Uh. Sure I was. And if you take away all the wine I'm (mostly) not drinking now, that frees up a good 1,500 kcals a week (day).
When pregnant, most of us take this as carte-blanche to begin eating whatever the hell we want, and huzzah to us! But this is less about us needing to feed our faces to feed our foetuses(biologically speaking that is) but about the fact that as women we are given a big old societal pat on the back to keep shovelling it in! No judgement over the ample portions or second deserts. In fact we are heralded and revered for our showy exhibits of maternal hunger.
Even as I write that, the feminist side of me is scolding myself for portraying such a grotesque image of us women merely eating. But I also realize that what I am currently experiencing is intimately related to these gendered ideologies of eating. I feel a sense of liberation from societal mores about women and eating, and at the same time latent anxiety that mine is a body out of control and I am just using pregnancy as an excuse to overdo it.
I'm not just talking about women feeling more pressure to be thin or physically perfect than men (and I think this is rapidly shifting) but the fact that images of women eating always celebrate restraint (Mommy and daughter bond over salads and happy meal carrot sticks in the latest McDonald's ads) or if she is indulging, the image is eroticized as she "gives in" to temptation. Men get Hungry Man meals, but there's no Hungry Jill pancake mix (that fat bitch) and those of you who have been reading along with me for a while know how I feel about those fucking "he fucked-me-senseless goooood" yoplait chicks. (sorry for the repeta-rant here!)
So what's a feminist-chick with penchant for eating/drinking and healthy dose of body-image issues to do?
Join Old Lady exercise class, that's what. I did the old "prenatal aerobics" class with #1 and it's for pussies, I'm telling you. I mean, if taking an exercise class that consists of slowed down geriatric motion exercises will make you sweat, have at. But I was bored shitless.
No, I'm going hardcore with my geriatric exercise regime. I'm going water aerobics. Yes, it will involve wearing a bathing suit (nearly as loathsome as the odious "short"). But here's my thinking:
1. Mirrors. Zero. (check)
2. Body largely hidden by water. (check)
3. Old ladies who make me look postively lithe. (check)
4. Old ladies who will dote on pregnant me and who can teach me a thing or two about what really matters in this world and who can tell me to get a life over the "oh my thighs are getting bigger boo hooo" thing. (check)
5. Sense that even though I can't quite take the jarring exercise of interval training right now, at least I am doing something to keep me moving no matter how lame it feels. (check)
So screw the MILFs, I'm going with the GILFs. Make room ladies, because I do a pretty mean cannonball!!
p.s. Thanks to Amalah for turning many of us on to this site, Shape of a Mother. We need more reaffirming shit like this, seriously (see above).