Tag Archives: Baby

Don’t Work Out, Your Baby Could Die!

Who knew being pregnant was such a scary thing?! At any time you could fall down and your baby could die. Don’t ride a bike, you could fall off your bike and your baby could die. Don’t go jogging, you could trip, fall down and your baby could die. Don’t do a sit-up, you could cause early contractions, get the baby to fall out and your baby could die. Knowing how easy it is for a baby to die, why do we even have the abortion debate? If women don’t want a baby, seems like all they’d have to do is exercise more.

The quest to learn how much a woman can work out when pregnant is pretty frustrating. There doesn’t seem to be just one answer. I figured exercise is always a good thing so I kept doing my Boot Camp classes and other routines until I met with a nurse on the day I got tested at the doctor’s office. Suddenly I was made to feel as if working out was not only wrong but cruel and eeeeeeevil. “You need to stop doing that,” she told me. What part? “Anything that could hurt the baby.” Like what? “You can’t do sit-ups.” Like crunches? “Especially crunches–nothing that engages your stomach muscles. That can cause early contractions.” Okay so jogging? She seemed uneasy then said, “Mmmm, walking’s better.” But I run all the time. “Walking’s better.” Okay how about squats. “Mmmm…they’re okay. But not too much.” How about cycling class? By this time she seemed annoyed with my questions and didn’t even respond. She gave me a look like, “Are you kidding me? Don’t you know? If you really want this kid then don’t be selfish. Let yourself go to waste, be happy you’re gonna be a mom and stop wanting to kill your baby since it’s obvious that’s what you want to do.” It was a long silent stare. I finally replied, “What? I’m asking because I thought cycling just affects the legs.” She then told me that cycling uses your stomach muscles as well. I thanked her for informing me of everything it turned out I didn’t know and left insanely depressed.

For a week I didn’t work out very hard, resulting in the most tiring time of my first trimester. After moping around not feeling free to move as I was used to, I decided to ask around for a second opinion. Of course I first went online, but only found a mishmash of views on the subject. I then turned to my Boot Camp instructor. Turns out one of his focuses when studying human health was on pregnant women and exercise, so I figured he’d be one to listen to. He told me to be very careful since he knew of other fit women at our gym who continued working out as they always had and lost their baby in the first trimester. Then he offered to show me some exercises that would be safe for my state so I took him up on his offer. He had me join a friend and old workout partner of mine he was training who sprained her ankle. I guess he figured we were both equally debilitated–soon I learned that in his mind I was worse off.

The entire workout he checked on me after every rep, “Are you okay?” Yes I’m okay. He gave my friend and I the same exercises but mine were the baby version. So while she sweated I just did enough to move. “How you feelin’?” Fine. I went to pick up a weight, but he picked it up before I could and placed it in my hands. “Are you okay? How are you feeling?” It hadn’t even been five minutes into our session. Good, good. He took the weight from me as I was about to put it down. “Okay, take a sec. Are you okay’?” I’m fine, thanks. I looked at my friend with the sprained ankle who was huffing and puffing and looking as if she was about to die. Why wasn’t he asking her how she felt? She was obviously worse off than I was, but he had her doing the workouts full-out PLUS she got to pick up AND put down her own weights! “How you feelin’? You okay.” Yes! Why don’t you ask her?! “I just want to make sure.” I’ll let you know if I feel funny or if anything’s too much–don’t worry. I tried to put my weight down but he took it from me. “You okay?”

Finally I spoke to a doctor who said I could do everything as I had, just don’t let my heart rate go over 140. So I bought a heart rate monitor and went back to the gym. I went running and as soon as I got a little huffy puffy I noticed I hit 140. Okay, fine, I’m not going as strong as I had before but at least I know how far I can go. It was definitely frustrating–a sort of gym rat blue balls experience. I could workout, but only so far. Still it was something–even if pathetic and not completely satisfying.

All in all, something about this whole workout situation seemed too caged and unnatural. I mean, aren’t there women all over the world who don’t have the luxury of changing their over 140 heart rate lifestyles when pregnant? I went in for my official first visit with an OBGYN. I told her about my workout issue and finally I got the answer I was looking for, “Of course you can keep working out! I was jogging until my 9th month with both of my kids.” But with the heart rate under 140, right? “Forget the heart rate. If you’ve been working out hard before you got pregnant you can pretty much keep doing what you always did, just listen to your body and stop doing whatever you’re doing if you get light-headed or feel overworked. If you’ve been working out as much as you say you have, you’ll know.” Sweet! “All those warnings are for women who never worked out before they got pregnant .”  My energy level quickly came back. Yes! I can go back to doing as I always had before!

“Just don’t do crunches, sit-ups or deep twists.”

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I Want A Baby?

Stupid sperm are so dangerous. Thanks to them we have to come up with gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Those selfish little jerks have only one thing on their minds…making babies. Because of them women can’t simply relax and enjoy sex, they have to think about it, weigh the options and consider whether or not they want babies. We’re stuck with buying condoms, paying more for healthcare, and suffering through hormonal imbalances caused by pills, shots, and spongy things just to make sure that Band of Squiggles doesn’t make it to our always contrarian and open for business egg brothel. Which is why at some point in her life, a woman has to decide if she wants to give up the fight or not. Of course there are some women who just don’t think about it and continue to not think about it after every child they pop out; but for those of us who have been fully aware of our tiny but long-tailed enemies since we were technically capable of procreating, this decision is always looming and even more so as our 40’s approach.

After so many years of being on the defense, it’s hard to break the habit and consider having kids. If I was always the type that wanted them then great, I’d be one of those women testing their body temperature every day alongside a dedicated happy pee bowl for ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests; the ones who try every vitamin reported to induce conception; read every “Yay I’m Pregnant” magazine like wishful porn; the ones who make it their life’s mission to get pregnant because they can’t wait to be what I can only decipher is some mythical construct of what being a mother is. Are these women so unhappy in their current non-baby state that they become desperate for what is essentially an unknown? I mean don’t they want to try it out? I think a lot more women and even men would be thrilled to attempt parenting if it came with a better return policy. Or even if life with babies or without were like tapas and you could just try both options without having to commit to a full plate. But sadly no tapas for us. Women must choose their direction.

Which is hard for me because the thought of having a baby has always been frightening, but the alternative is just as scary. I’m not the kind of woman to say, “F- it! Mom stayed at home and stopped living to raise me; why sentence myself to that same miserable fate? I want to live crazy with a drink in one hand, fabulous clothes and no responsibilities to anyone or anything–except maybe a dog or cat that I can’t wait to treat like a baby!” Do I really want to do the same ol’, same ol’ with my husband for the rest of my life? Not that a baby’s purpose is to bring me some life-changing excitement, but at least it’s different. It’s growth. Plus if Abraham in the Old Testament was so thrilled to score as many kids as he could make, why can’t I be thrilled with the same prospect–even if I am a woman and it’s my body that would get thrashed each time those little gifts would come out. Is anyone with me on these points? No? Okay so these aren’t the best reasons to have a kid but why else am I tempted to birth a child?

In the end I don’t think there is ever a real reason why some women want kids. The only thing comparable to it that I can think of is sexual attraction. Can anyone sufficiently explain why he or she finds himself or herself attracted to a certain sex? Being attracted to people has no real benefits other than it feels good. And even biologically, I don’t know how much sense it makes. I was only four years old when I looked up in a movie theater and saw Han Solo on the big screen. Downstairs wasn’t talking yet but I froze, looked up and all I knew was that I wanted that man; and that man lead to that man, and that man, and that man, until I ended up with the man that I’m with and suddenly (well, ten years married and later) I want to have his baby.

So why the hesitation? Because I am cursed with having to think everything to death! I can’t even pick food off a menu in less than 20 minutes much less decide on a having a baby. It’s a major responsibility after all! You not only have to consider your financial stability but mental stability too. Have you overcome all of your personal issues so you can be a good guide to the soul you’ve been given? Are you ready for a new chapter in your life where you’ll have to relinquish your freedom? And my biggest issue—have you achieved everything you’ve ever wanted to in your career so you can happily turn your life over to this newborn child? I guess I always saw the babymaking phase in life sort of like retirement. Wait until you’re successful in your career and settled in your life then have a baby. Like in this interview with Beyoncé for Harper’s Bazaar:

“Like everything that Beyoncé undertakes… this next step into motherhood has been deliberately thought out. “It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship, and my self-worth, before I became a mother,” she says. “Now God has blessed us with the ultimate.”

Well good for you B! But what about the rest of us?! Should we feel obligated to wait until we’ve built our empires or are we stuck taking the plunge to have a kid ready or not? Does it pay to be excessively prepared, or is it like those overly researched vacations that are never as fun as the unplanned ones because your preparations inevitably  demand to be in proportion to your expectations wrongly built off the advice of Trip Advisors with awful taste in hotels? FYI–Never trust a Trip Advisor. Maybe it’s time to stop hating sperm and just take a lesson from the little buggers. Start focusing that mind to one track and just go for it.

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