Princess: Getting a kick out of being pregnant
The Aspen Princess
So, the other day I was sitting at my computer, typing away, when I felt it for the first time — a swift, strong kick.
“Oh my God!” I squealed.
I sat up straight, pressing my hand to my lower abdomen. It kicked again. This time I really felt it, a few more times, in quick succession.
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam!
I jumped out of my chair and stood, letting out a yelp every time I felt the baby kick. Gertie tilted her head from side to side the way pugs often do, a look of total confusion on her flat little face. She couldn’t tell if I was terrified or thrilled, and frankly, neither could I.
I had just returned home from yoga, since I’m trying really hard to maintain my normal fitness routine, and wondered if maybe the baby was active because of it.
Women in Aspen set the bar kind of high when it comes to a fit pregnancy. They continue to work out at the same frenetic pace they always did, their baby bumps protruding only slightly from their muscular, thin bodies before they breeze through childbirth like it’s just another workout, skipping out of the hospital with one of those beefy, million-dollar mountain strollers and dressed in skinny jeans.
I wonder why, then, I am experiencing the chaffing that seems to plague my inner thighs after I hike, leaving big, swollen, red welts like bee stings. I wonder how I can actually feel my butt when I walk, the heaviness of my plump cheeks moving up and down like pistons as I slowly make my way up whatever mountain I’m trying to climb, huffing and puffing alongside my pug, who snorts loudly, the two of us like some kind of comedy show.
“Please excuse the pregnant lady and the pug,” I tell people who wait patiently for us to pass by.
I wonder why people insist you don’t really need maternity clothes and should just go up a size in your Lululemon yoga pants. After a lifetime of suffering from the deep, red marks that are impaled in my skin from too-tight jeans after a big meal, I wish all my jeans had that stretchy, elastic waistband.
I think about the girl who jogged to the hospital to give birth and then posted an appearance at Food & Wine a week later dressed in a clingy wrap dress as if she’d just come off a juice cleanse.
I think about all those stories I’ve heard, about the lady who went into labor during a bike ride up to the Maroon Bells and just rode herself right down to the hospital. Or the professional mountain biker who kept riding up until the end and then did a race a few days after giving birth, standing up the whole time because it was too painful for her to sit in the saddle.
Meanwhile, I finally had to remove my Garmin from my road bike because I couldn’t stand knowing I was only going 3.5 miles an hour and still pretty much dying, pedaling with my knees out to the side so I wouldn’t graze my swollen belly with every stroke.
I think a lot about my yoga teacher, Emily, who maintained her advanced practice throughout two pregnancies. When she was seven months pregnant, she could still do a backbend from a standing position, grab her ankles upside down and then come back up, with a full-on pregnant belly that did not weigh her down one bit.
When I asked her about it, she acted very nonchalant.
“I just wanted to maintain my backbend practice,” she said.
I think about this every time I do a wheel, a simple backbend starting from a prone position on the floor. It takes an extraordinary amount of effort just to heave my six-months-pregnant belly into the air and to hold myself up with trembling arms as my face fills with blood and my wrists feel like they just might break under the extra weight. I try to be as graceful as possible when I do this pose, swallowing my grunts and groans the way you might hold in a fart, trying to relax my face so I’m only grimacing on the inside.
I think about my friend who hiked Highland Bowl five days before giving birth every time I hike up Arbaney Kittle, heaving one foot in front of the other at a painfully glacial pace. I can’t even imagine hiking at an elevation that is more than 3,000 feet higher with skis on my back in the dead of winter, never mind skiing all the way back down to the lift.
When I felt my baby kick, it was after an active morning. I’d biked down the Fryingpan in yoga clothes and flip-flops to pick up Ryan’s truck so I could make it to a noon yoga class. I hadn’t given myself enough time and was running late. I threw my bike into the back of the truck and sped to class, jumping into class without time to do more than chug some water.
The babes was probably giving me a little smackdown, communicating with me in the only way it can: “Hey! Lady! Sit the hell down and stop moving already!”
Feeling the baby kick for the first time was by far one of the most profound moments I have ever experienced in my entire life. It was a moment that was worth everything I’ve been through in order to get to this point. That moment was everything. That moment was enough.
It may have marked the beginning of motherhood, when everything shifts. I don’t need to look at what these other lunatic women are doing. I’m pretty sure everything I need to know, this little being will teach me.
The Princess is going to find out today if she is having a boy or girl! Stay tuned and email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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