I recently found myself explaining to one of our best friends why it’s important for him to fall off the wagon, so to speak, and gain a bunch of weight in support of his very pregnant wife (incidentally one of my other best friends). While he was “cheating” on his fitness & nutrition regime by having a beer, I mistakenly gave him props and assumed he typically wasn’t drinking because his wife couldn’t. When he explained his commitment to Crossfit and accompanying dietary restrictions, I took heed to how good he looks. Like his gorgeous wife, he’s someone who is typically in shape so I wasn’t taken aback by him looking fit. I decided to take the opportunity to tenderly scold him for not being aware of the “rules”. Maybe it’s just me, but when I was pregnant I made sure Mike clearly understood all of his responsibilities as my supportive partner. These included obvious things like getting me Big Macs in the middle of the night (should the mood strike), telling me I looked beautiful, not questioning my somewhat frequent (hormone-induced) irrationality, and making sure to not make me feel bad by parading around with a 6-pack. I’m talking about the abdominal variety, as well as Heineken (which happened to be my incredibly unfair craving when pregnant with Sam. Thanks for that, Universe). Now before you think less of me by assuming that I’m a bossy, control-freak; it’s important to know that I’m not at all suffocating or oppressive. Though admittedly I am biased in saying this, I’m sure that those who know us well would support me by agreeing that Mike has it pretty good. Regardless of whether it’s because I’m a Libra or maybe it’s just do to the fact that I’m a woman; I like things to be balanced and equal. I also don’t like being told what not to do – which, in terms of the negative aspects, is essentially pregnancy in a nut-shell. So, along with the aforementioned understanding he and I shared, I would not have been in support of him losing the weight I happened to be gaining. It’s important to know that I packed on well over 60 pounds for each pregnancy, and while I did embrace the miracle of life taking place; I also resented the moon-face staring back at me in the mirror. Not so much with Sam as with Isla, but pounds are pounds, and there were days throughout each pregnancy that I felt like an extra pale, beached manatee. A buff husband scampering around the house may have pushed me over the edge.
I’m reminded of a funny story (although not so funny at the time) which took place at one of my midwife appointments. Basically Mike thought it would be a good idea to hop on the scale after my ‘weigh-in’ (the dreaded commencement of each appointment) and declare, surprised, that he’s lost weight. I’m not sure if it was the inevitable aftermath of me sobbing in the elevator that made him clue in, or if it was my cartoon Bambi eyes welling up while trying to book my next appointment, but he knew without being told where he went wrong. I know Mike’s been worried about me blogging this one because it makes him look incredibly insensitive so, in his defence, he really had no idea how stupid this was until after the fact. He apologized profusely and admits wholeheartedly that he was just wasn’t thinking. Now looking back I can’t help but wonder if his immediate realization had something to do with the fact that he was aware of the “you’re not allowed to look amazing while you’re wife is pregnant” rule. I wasn’t completely devastated and the tears were almost entirely a result of those awesome pregnancy hormones I keep mentioning. So it didn’t take long for this to become a funny story which, to Mike’s dismay, would be shared with friends for years to come . The real doozies take a bit longer to evolve into comedic anecdotes and are usually associated with an argument of sorts. Those ones need to cool down for a while before they’re funny (I’m sure anyone in a relationship knows exactly what I’m talking about).
Anyway, back to my friend and his horribly timed pursuit of fitness. His wife is just about the most supportive and loving creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, so it’s not surprising that she hasn’t gone up one side of him and down the other on this issue. That’s where I come in. I took the liberty and explained, with the help of my weigh-in story, why it’s important to be supportive in all ways including getting fat. At least this ensures that the task of getting back into shape is less daunting because you know your partner will be right there beside you; red-faced and dry-heaving at the gym. All things considered, I don’t think this is too much to ask for.
Now before I make it sound like I hated pregnancy, I have to be clear and illustrate that I actually loved having been pregnant. At the risk of sounding like I work for Hallmark, I will treasure the memoires for the rest of my life. Women who are fortunate enough to know what I’m talking about would probably agree, and also wouldn’t trade it for anything. The sense of triumph after giving birth is second to none – especially having done it naturally. Yeah, I’m one of those A-holes who inadvertently make you feel bad about yourself if you’ve had an epidural. Trust me, had it not been for the back pain which resulted from the epidural I had with Isla, I would have had it again. Maybe I would have even asked for seconds, just to be safe. If I recall, during my labour with Isla, the armour-clad anaesthesiologist rode into my delivery room on a white steed. Although, now thinking back, that may have been a pain-induced hallucination. Who knows; who cares? Point is, I got the drugs and I loved them. It was the seven months of spinal pain that deterred me on round two. Having experienced both the natural and “unnatural” I can honestly say it wasn’t so bad dealing with the pain; of course it’s easy to say that now that I'm jacked full of amnesic hormones which apparently are responsible for me wanting to do it all over again.
At least I will always have the fact that I delivered a nearly ten pound baby. Mike loves when I bring it up; which is often. And honestly, even if I had been under general for the birth of my kids, and had never experienced a contraction; I would still find ways to bring up the fact that I carried each of them around for 10 months. Basically no matter how you slice it; mothers are entitled to a lifetime of kudos.