I Am VealMonica Bielanko
My husband mentioned the other day that I’ve been pregnant for two of the last three years. The numbers shocked me. But he’s right. We did it on purpose. Wanted to have kids two years apart. Serge (pronounced Surge) is two years older than his brother and they’re really close. I’m within two years of two of my brothers and although we aren’t best friends, we’re pretty close and can relate to each other specifically because we went to school together and had mutual friends.
I hope my children like each other. You never know, but now I’m digressing when all I’m really laboring to tell you here is that I’ve been pregnant a lot in my thirties. I’m thirty-three. Which means I’ve been pregnant in my thirties more than I haven’t.
I have a girlfriend with a five-year-old daughter. She constantly fielded questions about when she was going to have another baby. She responded that she really wanted to get back in shape before getting pregnant again. At the time it struck me as a waste. I mean, I kind of figured I’d bang out a couple kids and then get back in shape. Why do all the work if you’re only going to blow out your stomach muscles and get fat again? I’ve been subscribing to that theory over these last three years. But guess what? I was wrong.
I weighed 125 (I’m 5’3″) when I got pregnant with Violet. I was down to 132-ish when I got pregnant the second time. Although 132 seems pretty close to my original weight, I was most definitely NOT in shape. I was a skinny, fat girl. What I mean to say is I had zero muscle. My skin just hung loosely on my smallish frame. Any muscle tone I had inadvertently acquired in my twenties by pretending to like hiking in order to snag certain boys had all but disintegrated during pregnancy one. And then I went and got knocked up again and, well, for me, exercising during pregnancy was tantamount to flat ironing my hair before a rainstorm. What’s the point?
Oh my, my, my. How wrong I was.
My 5’3″ frame is now carrying 183 pounds of weight. My puny little legs are buckling beneath the pressure. If I crouch to assist Violet with some toddler-like request (Which is, like, what? Eighty times a day?) I can’t stand back up without maneuvering onto all fours and then pushing myself up with the aid of both arms and legs. I become as winded putting on socks as I used to become after running a mile during gym in high school. Stretching a seat belt across my mass and buckling it inspires a rest of thirty seconds. I am a gelatinous mound of fleshy mush.
I am veal.
I can promise you this. I will be physically fit should we choose to have another child. And not for anything having to do with vanity or how I fit into a pair of jeans. One of the most difficult factors of this second pregnancy, if not THE most difficult, is my utter lack of physical strength. Everything is a marathon. Small tasks have become herculean.
Get in shape before getting knocked up, man. It’s the only way to go. Because this? This is a prison of the flesh. I’m drowning in my own body.