Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baby and Body

Speaking of things I'm impatient for (the release of The Hobbit in cinemas, meeting my gorgeous baby, having my momma come visit...), I'm impatient to have my pre-baby body back. Yes, I know, this is where I roll my eyes and assert that I have - in fact - heard everyone say that you never get back to exactly the way you were before a baby. Things change. I get that. But that doesn't mean I'm not desperate to get back to longer and more intense sweat-sessions at the gym.

I dread the idea of being forced to stay home and not go running or do the elliptical. I hate thinking of the weeks I might be require to lay off the squat machine or the free weights. And, let me say, I miss the gruelling abs workouts I used to do. I miss my (mostly) flat tummy and my ability to do tons of crunches and then do 30-second planks minute after minute in rapid succession.

Why is that? It's not that I'm a body-hating Nazi. I'm impressed that my body can do what it's doing and grow a brand new human being! I'm even more impressed that it's done it with only the addition of a few tiny stretch marks to my hips (which will soon fade into obscurity). But I also derive a very real pleasure out of being able to squat 220 lbs. on the free-weight inclined squat machine, or ramping the weight on the back machine at the gym up to 110 lbs. When I lived in central London, I'd run up through Regent's Park most days, and even when I wasn't at my slimmest (which I haven't been since just after I graduated from Wake), there was definitely a strong neurological reward from checking myself out in the shop windows on my way back from a run in the park. It didn't matter in those few seconds past the bistro windows that I still had a bit of flab on my tummy, or that my arms weren't very toned, or that my calves have always been pretty tiny and not at all muscular-looking. What mattered was that seeing myself mid-stride, pounding the pavement to my favourite music...I looked good. No: I looked damn good. And it wasn't just because I happen to love the sizeable boobs and pert bum that come courtesy of my hourglass figure (though I do love to 'shake what my momma gave me'!) was because I knew I was taking care of myself. I was doing something constructive with my body: making it work more efficiently, feel more powerful and healthy, and yes - making it look better, too.

So while I appreciate the uncomfortable, unglamorous miracle of baby-growing, I do yearn for the time when I can once again run 5 miles a day in my Under Armor shorts and a form-fitting self-wicking top. I want to lift weights and climb stairs until my sweat evaporates and leaves those creepy salt deposits behind. I want those things because I know that I can do those things. I've done it before. And it's just part of who I am that I take pride in proving what my body can do. Just like I'm proud of the ways in which I've honed my intellect, or become an emotionally-functional adult, or developed my musical talents - I'm also someone who invests a lot in improving my physical prowess as well. Don't get me wrong: looking smoking hot in a brand new Little Black Dress is definitely part of the appeal of losing the baby weight to embrace life after pregnancy. But for me, looking good isn't that fun unless I feel good and feel fit, as well. And part of being able to feel as fit as I can be - for me - is being able to feel like I can give 100% in my workouts. To feel like I can kick my own ass and walk out of a gym feeling sore and sweaty and tired, and amazing. Yeah, physically, your muscles may be worn out for a little bit, but I always feel energized after a good workout, not enervated.

So yeah, I'm going to sit out the remaining weeks of pregnancy with a bit of impatience and ill-grace. I want a healthy baby, and the risks of premature birth are in no way an acceptable trade for getting my body back a bit earlier than anticipated, but don't think I won't be chomping at the proverbial bit waiting for the green light to get my sweat on.

oh my I miss you...

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