Tag Archives: Health

Take My Maternity Photo, It’ll Last Longer (Part IV-Yoga)

Continued from Take My Maternity Photo, It’ll Last Longer (Part III Sweet vs Sexy)...

Healthy Yoga Girl

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Women love yoga. Especially pregnant ones. There is no other exercise that speaks to their cycles and need for new age music while breaking a sweat. It also provides just enough sweat to receive praise for taking care of themselves and their precious babies.

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You don’t even have to do yoga to say you practice it. Just take your maternity photos outside in yoga pants and a tank top to bask in maternal strength and beauty. See the power in the woman below?

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Sure you do. That’s because yoga connects pregnant women with nature. You can tell by how well they suddenly blend into their surroundings when meditating.

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So put together your best mix of Indonesian chimes, grab that yoga ball, and breathe–soon you’ll be in labor and looking just as radiant as your healthy yoga maternity photos.

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Why Being Pregnant Is Worth It

This past week has been a real testament to the superhuman strength that is Mommy-To-Be Willpower. At almost six months I desperately wanted to give in to everything that’s bad for my baby and I: splurging on an obscene amount of cookies, donuts, poached eggs; getting drunk on fresh fruit cocktails made with fancy ice and hard,  I mean HARD liquor; skipping the gym or that stupid walk that’s oh so good for me; indulging on a whole night of  sleeping on my back and procrastinating on every incomplete chore I had successfully put aside for nearly 5 years. I just wanted to be a little punk, even if only for a week! Then in the midst of my pregnant tantrum, a friend of mine at the gym asked me from out of the blue and in a very serious hushed tone, “So is it worth it?” What is? “Being pregnant?”

After the week I had had, I should have replied by going into everything I couldn’t stand about pregnancy and everything I missed about not being pregnant. But instead I found myself answering with an emphatic, “Yes!” For a moment I thought my brain had been taken over by some secret society to make women procreate, but as I heard myself gushing about all of the wonderfully sweet experiences pregnancy has given me, I couldn’t help but agree with myself. It was then that I realized I’ve only been writing about the negatives of being a baby carrier instead of the positives. So today for a change of pace I bring you everything that makes pregnancy worth it.

1. BOOBS–For those of you who already had them, congratulations, you have been enjoying dangly bits for quite some time. As for my smaller sisters, it’s very cool to finally go through the exciting part of puberty we missed out on. I now know what boobs feel like, and have enjoyed taking them out on short strolls in push-up bras just to experience that bouncing motion on my chest.

2. TOILETS–The bump is a VIP pass to every “Employee Only” toilet in the city.

3. CARGO PANTS–For three years I couldn’t find a pair of relaxed fit non-skinny cargo pants to replace my last pair. Turns out that maternity shops are mini cargo lands.

4. ICE-BREAKER–You think having a dog helps you meet people; try getting pregnant.

5. I WON’T GAIN WEIGHT?! — I learned that I can actually eat more and not gain as much when I’m pregnant than B.P. (Before Pregnancy). There have been weeks where I ate enough sandwiches and pizza to have warranted a gain of 3-5 lbs, but since being pregnant, my body is using so much energy that I burn through most of it and gain no more than a pound. NOTE: This perk only applies if you’re pregnancy has allowed you to keep your old workout schedule.

6. SOMETHING NEW TO CRY ABOUT–I was already a sucker for lovers dying in each others arms and old people eating Campbell’s soup, but now I can add men being sweet to their wives and women giving birth as reasons to get emotional!

7. GREAT HORROR FILMS–Birthing classes bring you the classics! Tons of bloody umbilical cords, alien-like creatures, scary masked doctors and creepy scratchy films depicting women giving birth in military bases from the 50’s.

8. BREAKFAST–My husband now makes me breakfast in the morning.

And last but not least…

9. MORE LOVE THAN YOU KNEW YOU COULD EXPERIENCE.

This last reason is my number one for refraining from eating poached eggs on grits. I have been lucky in that my pregnancy has brought my husband and I even closer than before.  B.P. I had already been loving my man more and more every day since I’ve known him, but as my belly has grown so has the love between my husband and I. Not in the usual way though; it’s not just more love but a new kind of love. Best way to describe it is this: before, the love I felt for my husband was growing like a skyscraper in perpetual construction heading towards the skies, but since my pregnancy, I looked down and found a whole new town of love surrounding it and filling the picture with trees, homes, shops, streets, parks and life that I had never seen before or knew was there. Does that make any sense? I know to some of you it may sound a little hoaky, but another awesome part of being pregnant I forgot to mention, is that it also makes you not give a damn.

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Pregnant Lady Gut

Last week I brought up two things that our culture asks pregnant women to change: their tendency to talk about their feelings and their views on their bodies. After enough talk on talk, this week let us discuss, Le Gut.

Along with Le Thighs and Le Ass, Le Gut has never been a friend of mine or of any woman’s. Yes it is so sensual, so laissez-faire as it rides over low-rise jeans after a filling holiday meal, but like  dealing with a French man on your first visit to Europe, you are constantly reminded to keep it at bay with rigorous all-American exercise and strict pilgrim-like puritanical abstinence. From a young age we are prepared for the battle with our guts through instructions on sit-ups, crunches and Shape magazine articles with year-round ten new tips to bikini abs. And so we work-out, cut ourselves off from lady friends who lunch on guilty caloric pleasures, sacrifice Doritos for baby carrots and then we get pregnant and we’re told, “Forget all the work you’ve done, love that big belly of yours!” What? Does being a baby incubator make me no longer a woman? Don’t I still want to look good? Oh but you will. Once a woman gets preggers you see, we are all re-brainwashed to now believe that everyone finds nothing more attractive than a pregnant gut. To say otherwise is a horrible faux-pas that shows you to be unenlightened to the ways of womanhood and could get you banned from any upcoming baby showers (that last part I know is not much of a deterrent, but still, just in case). So agree with it, pregnant bellies are so beautiful, so natural. Yes, and so was my non-pregnant belly gut, but no one said how beautiful or sexy it was when it squeezed on out my ironic baby T’s back in the 90’s!

As someone who used to be at one time forty pounds heavier (on my frame = 6 dress sizes larger) without a baby inside, this whole, “Miracle of life makes my gut okay,” is hard to accept. Maybe getting fat is an exciting new adventure for skinny ladies who have never struggled with their weight, but for those of us who have worked hard to trim down and undo years of bad eating habits and lifestyle choices, the idea of purposefully putting on pounds is not cool. It’s like asking a recovering alcoholic to suddenly stop their sober lifestyle and start drinking a glass of booze a day. Hey but in 9 months, no worries, you’ll be back to normal!  Oh really?

Now I understand that expecting mothers are not asked to get fat for fat sake, it’s just enough weight to help feed the baby and your new babymaking machine of a body. But still, part of you is gonna get larger than usual. Your arms, your legs. Madonna got fat arms. Hilary Duff got fat legs. I even had a friend who got a fat nose!  Of course I’ll do what I have to do to make sure our baby is healthy and out of me, but please, oh please don’t tell me not to worry and just let my body do its thing. And definitely don’t ask me to suddenly find the larger me gorgeous. Isn’t that sort of a stretch? No pun intended. I see these women who get obsessed with this new weird shape they take on and even go so far to try and make it sexy. Why? Is it really? Or is it because as women we always have to feel that we are in a state of sexy at all times. What if we’re not sexy when we get knocked up, or beautiful–would that be so awful? I do acknowledge that there are some women who look absolutely precious with their big alien-like extended bellies. Although I think that has something more to do with those sweet goofy smiles they get when they talk about being pregnant than the belly itself. Oh wait…no it is the belly. ‘Cause it’s pretty funny to see a good friend with a big ol’ Buddha belly walking around. So cute. But beautiful? Sexy?

I’d rather not try to make it something it’s not. How about instead of fetishizing it with sexy belly shots, just look at it for what it is–a part of life and our bodies. Ears for instance are not that exciting to look at and not all that particularly beautiful, but I don’t go out and prove otherwise by taking a sexy or sweet photo of my ears. No I’ll stick to knowing that what I have to look forward to is nothing more than the perfect extended tight gut needed for that beer-drinking trucker costume I’ve always wanted to pull off at Halloween. When the time comes, I hope to neither love Le Gut, nor hate it, but just let it be. And instead of fretting over making it out to be more than it is, I say as the French would say, “C’est la vie.”

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Shut-up I’m Pregnant!

I’ve been learning over the course of the last few months that once you get knocked up the general female neuroses are expected to get knocked out of our lives momentarily. I’m a woman as many of you know, so that means I’m always worried about my weight and I love talking about my feelings–two nearly destructive obsessions that have taken me years to develop with the help of family, friends, dating and the beauty industry. But since entering this bizarre pregnant world of THE BUMP and never-ending doctor appointments, I have found two things to be true:

1. Pregnant women must restrain themselves from announcing their pregnancy until after the first trimester.

2. Pregnant women are supposed to love their big gut.

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So I found out I was preggers about 2 months ago and my husband and I thought we should tell our family right away. Then I remembered some weird thing I had heard–don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until after the first trimester to make sure the baby’s in there. So at the most womanly time in a woman’s life, going through something only a woman can go through, I’m being advised to completely abstain from my womanhood and not tell everyone everything going on with me? Sorry, I am not that kind of woman. In fact I don’t know many women who are.

Is there anything more unnatural for a woman than to not express the good or the bad in her life? In general we women like to talk–A LOT. If we stopped doing so half of the male stand-up comics wouldn’t have an act. So it throws me for a loop to know that women are made to feel scared and superstitious over wanting to announce their pregnancy as soon as they find out. We don’t wait to announce when we’ve been accepted to a college of our dreams even though something tragic could happen that could prevent us from going. When we get engaged we’re expected to run around and show off the ring seconds after it gets put on our finger, even though there’s still time for things to go sour during the engagement. So why is it that with something even more life-altering, out of your control, and just plan crazy are we told to keep mum?

Well you could have  a miscarriage.

Oh happy day, sunshine. Yes, and if you did wouldn’t you want people to know about it so you can have some shoulders to cry on? For those who are terrified of saying anything in case something bad happens, I understand. Fear is a powerful motivator. But why do we allow it to grip us when it comes to having a baby? Aren’t negative thoughts also bad for your kid? Besides, in all honesty something bad can happen with the baby at any point in the pregnancy, so why do we have to focus on the one period of it when you still don’t look pregnant and people are going to want to know why you’re suddenly on a health kick of not drinking coffee, not drinking booze and staying in on Saturday nights. “I’m just taking a break,” only works as an excuse for so long.

I think we’re getting into the habit of not announcing the big news more for the sake of others than for ourselves. As if we need to add anymore anxiety to our lives by making sure our pregnancy is a good-time gig with only good news for others. But how does that make sense? The people around you are not the ones going through this momentous time, you the woman are. And so what if a miscarriage happens? That’s a part of life that people should be aware of and be comfortable in accepting. It’s like growing a plant from seed. Some of them don’t make it, some of them do. You never know, but you don’t not show off your seedling just because it might not take. I say us ladies take back this major event in our lives, stop being scared and tell the world the minute we find out… if we feel like it. Of course there are other things to keep us from telling the world: work, not ready to be besties with other mommies and not wanting the pregnancy to be the central point of conversation with friends so early on. I’m still not ready for any of it, but I figure besides our family and some close friends (who we enjoyed telling after the official test at the doctor’s office week 6), it’s about time everybody knew why I won’t toast with a proper cocktail, why I can’t step into that jacuzzi and why I so desperately want to go to a dance club while I can still dance.

Next up…THE GUT. 

To be continued.

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