The woman running the antenatal class was totally obsessed with pelvic floor exercises. A physiotherapist, she even had an ultrasound machine set up in her home and subjected her teenage daughter to tests to see if she had been doing her exercises.
She told us French and Scandinavian women have the strongest pelvic floor muscles in the world because they are taught to do the exercises from a very young age. Without daily squeezes, our future would be filled with embarrassing moments and early entry into a nursing home, she warned.
She even had an anecdote to go with her message.
“I knew a woman who didn’t do her exercises during two pregnancies – she had two boys. Eventually her urge to wee would be so bad that she couldn’t even wait to unlock the door when she came home. She would wee in the garden. Now, that might be OK when your sons are two and four, but when they’re 16 and 18? No teenage boy wants to see his mother wee in the garden.”
Stony-faced and silent, she gave an ominous look to every single rounded woman sitting in the semi-circle.
I don’t underestimate the importance of pelvic floor muscle exercises. I don’t want to end up in a home, having to endure visits from awful singing schoolchildren. But holy crap, this class was full of doom and gloom. There were warnings of haemorrhoids, weird nipple happenings and, not surprisingly, paranoia. There were charts showing the “ideal stool” and demonstrations of how to sit on the toilet properly. Also, DON’T LIE ON YOUR BACK!
I know there are a lot of women out there who have truly awful pregnancies – that totally sucks – and it made me realise just how lucky I’ve been so far.
It’s something I am most definitely not taking for granted, so herewith a list of positive things about pregnancy.
A list of positive things about pregnancy:
– Strangers are very, very kind. I was warned about wacky strangers who want to touch you, but I haven’t had that happen yet. It’s been all about handsome businessmen giving me their seats on the bus, a lady at the coffee shop telling me “I’m holding well”, a little old lady wishing me the best for my “bambino” and – the greatest – a young guy offering to lend me his umbrella if I left it in a secret place for him to retrieve. “I can’t just let you, like that, walk in this rain, ” he said. I mean, wow.
– Colleagues are very, very kind. I’ve had people buy me sweets, cups of tea, friands and de-caf coffees. One woman bought our baby a pair of hand-knitted booties. The other day I shared a particularly wild taxi ride with a woman I work with, who yelled at the driver to slow down and continually checked on me.
– Neighbours are very, very kind. Our neighbours invited us over for morning tea and gave us enough clothes for our daughter (have I mentioned that? It’s a little lady!) to wear for the rest of her life.
– The nesting instinct is awesome. Suddenly I want to dry the dishes, make the bed hotel-style, bake, de-clutter and just generally outnest Big Bird.
– You crave cinnamon donuts. Your baby wants them, so you dang well eat them.
– Your hair gets shiny and your nails get strong. I’ve also lost my milk moustache! A miracle far greater than any pot of Nad’s could perform.
There are other things I could add, but I need to wee.