Tag Archives: pregnancy

Getting Over Under-Sharing

I love the NPR show, The Moth.  People share true stories from their lives in front of an audience.  For the past two years, I have been trying to emulate this show in my living room by hosting small groups of friends who share their stories.  Stories are one of my favorite things, and these parties are something I cherish.  I am so grateful for the friends I have made (and the ones I’ve gotten to know better) and the stories they’ve shared.

My most recent “party” happened at the end of December.  There were nineteen of us total including, for the first time, my parents.  I was anxious about the event — inviting my parents into my friend circle caused my sister to say, “What were you thinking??!!”  I was also anxious about the story I planned to tell.  While I usually aim to make my friends laugh, the story I felt compelled to share is not a particularly funny one.

It is a story about closing up, closing off, keeping secrets.  In order to continue my process of being a more open, honest person who shares what is going on in her life, I am posting my story here, too.  Well that, that, and narcism.  Cheers to over-sharing and watching myself do it!

Mosa — December 2012 — Developing an Ending from boobjuice on Vimeo.


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Heart Throb

Laura, Aerobic Goddess

Laura, Aerobic Goddess

In October, I went back to an aerobics class that I used to frequent before child. I remember trying to go during the first trimester of my pregnancy four years ago, struggling to keep up with the class, while keeping my heart rate below 140 and not letting anyone know that my rapidly spreading ass and increasingly puss-filled face were not just the result of a spike in my candy corn consumption, but a pregnancy.

My relationship with the class ended with a whimper, not a bang.  Slowly, I migrated from the aerobics room to the cardio machines and, as  the numbers on the scale migrated up above two hundred pounds, I stopped going to the gym altogether.

Walking in on this recent Wednesday morning in October, after an absence of nearly four years, I was excited and nervous.  Not only was I thrilled to be reminded that, for some reason, there is a spot deep in my soul that is touched so tenderly by pop music sped up to maximize caloric burn, I was elated that my teacher, Laura, actually remembered me and remembered that my birthday had been the week before.

I was reminded that one of my favorite things in life is to see someone I’ve not seen for sometime and have that person notice my weight-loss.  (Perhaps this is the reason I have gained and lost weight so many times — the recognition is immensely gratifying to me.)  After Laura and some of the familiar faces who remembered me from the before-time showered me with skinniness praise, Laura threw me in the center of the room with the other October birthdays and had the whole class sing happy birthday to us.  We hadn’t even really started exercising yet and it was already the best day I’d had in quite some time.

Since October, I have been back to the class about half a dozen times.  I cheer and holler and “woot-woot!” along with the sweaty hoards of grandmas and muscle-bound middle-aged men who join us to take a break from the weight room.  In the inexplicable way that I am moved to tears at baseball games when we all stand at the seventh inning stretch (even if I don’t know who the teams are or which one of of them is winning), my heart sings (and beats heavily) in my chest as I prance and cavort with all these sweaty strangers engulfed in Madonna songs sped up to chipmunk-esque squeakiness.

During last week’s class, while wearing a sparkly santa hat, Laura told us that one of the women who had been taking classes with her for upwards of a decade was battling cancer, and that there was a card circulating that we could all sign to wish her well.  Swallowing the lump in the back of her throat, she then announced the upcoming holiday party where everyone would participate in a shortened workout and then gorge themselves on an elaborate potluck provided by all the class members.  After singing happy birthday to the December birthdays, we dove again into our pop music saturated calorie burn.

I never could have imagined that an aerobics class would make me so flippin’ happy — so alive, but it does, even when no one is telling me I am skinny or singing happy birthday to me.  My heart sings (and throbs) as I jump and grapevine and sweat.  I am glad to be alive, to be here with these familiar strangers and to celebrate life with them, whether or not I know their names.  Thank you, Laura.

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The Mother of All Pageants!

Photo courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk

I bought a bikini while I was pregnant. It had a skirt that I tried to pull down to my knees the one time I dared wear it out of the house during the Creature’s gestation (and by, “out of the house,” I mean the short walk from the backdoor to the pool that NO ONE else was anywhere near).

I gained sixty pounds in my pregnancy. A week before delivery (with my clothes on, and after a giant burrito and full can of root beer), I weighed in at 203 pounds. Needless to say, I was not one of those cute pregnant women who look virginal when viewed from the rear. I mean, lemme talk about the rear for a minute — no one warned me of the second baby that would grow in my ass and take a full two years postpartum to vacate the premises. At my baby shower, my aunt grabbed me by the shoulder and turned me around so she could get a better look at my rounded rump, “See, all the women in this family gain the weight there. My girls did, too.” While I can appreciate honesty as much as the next guy, sometimes I wish folks would just refrain from stating the obvious so I might continue to live in the mirror-less fantasy in which I still weigh 135 pounds.

My own insecurities aside, when I see women who are able to embrace, and even flaunt, their bumps, I have to give a woot-woot-woot! (The extra woot is for the bump.) This past Labor Day weekend in Houston, Texas, hoards of bikini-clad mothers-to-be gathered to to strut their stuff in the Seventh Annual Pre-Labor Day Pageant Bikini Contest. In addition to competing in such events as speed-diapering, these bold and beautiful mamas bared their bumps and shimmed across the stage in bikinis. Yes, bikinis!!

When I look at the photo of them all smiling and radiant with their bountiful bodies on display, I am awed and inspired. Right on to the onlookers cheering and hooting and supporting these mamas. And, more importantly, right on to the mamas! I am sure, given the chance, each of these beauties could stand in front of a mirror and scrutinize hairs out of place or emerging stretchmarks, but in front of the camera, standing straight and proud, they look exquisite, and a big part of the reason is that they are fully owning themselves and their size. What lucky little belly creatures to have such wise, beautiful and bold mamas. This story was a great reminder for me that so much of beauty is about owning who you are, where you are, how you are. (And also, maybe,  not eating so many burritos if I ever get pregnant again.)

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