By Catherine Wayland
Alright mamas gather round close, I’ve got some very special news, God willing, we are going to be a family of four this September! Wow! Jax will be two years and three days old when his baby brother or sister is due to be born, and he is going to make one sweet, lovable, smart, role model of a big brother. I always thought John and I shared a love of the December holiday season but this is rather amusing, we’re like the Clauses making elves. We feel so blessed. Our first time around getting pregnant was not easy we were involved with infertility doctors and treatment centers and told we could never have natural children. Countless Frankenstein tests, grueling procedures, and two surgeries later and whooalaa, we are able to reproduce. Thank you God, Amen.
Ok, now that I have written my gratitude and shouted my joy, I still have to get through this pregnancy. This pregnancy, unlike my first, does not feel easy. Somehow with Jax, I felt sick, but never threw up. Somehow with Jax, I ate healthy and didn’t feel like my eating was out of control. Somehow with Jax, I had energy. Three at-bats, three strikes. So, sew buttons. Life for me has mostly been a body of water I have learned to boat upon. Rockier seas, call for different navigational skills and balancing, or just holding on till the wave finishes crashing. These past couple weeks, I have been holding on.
But as best I can, through the haze of sea sickness, I would like to talk to you about prenatal health, beauty, and fitness and help steer you around the waters of “pregnant mama” Manhattan. For example, fitness. I myself, when I feel able, like to continue a workout routine. My usual routine involves stretching and strengthening, cardio and weight lifting. Here in Manhattan, I belong to the Manhattan Plaza Health Club on 43rd and 10th Avenue. I love the facility; it is more of a lifestyle health club with a pool, tennis courts, sun deck, massage rooms, weight training, and classes. Ahhhh! There is no better mama timeout than a little jaunt in the hot tub on a Friday night with People magazine sweating beside me.
For moms who are looking for babysitting and onsite childcare, my gym does not provide this. But I did do some research around Manhattan and some gyms do. It seemed in my research that it was the bigger chains in Manhattan where a few of their locations provided this service. Of the ones I called Crunch, New York Health and Racquet Club, and New York Sports Club provide onsite babysitting. The nice thing about these larger chains is that you can belong to all of their locations by getting a membership. For example, I could belong to the Crunch on 42nd and 11th Avenue and use their 83rd street location for babysitting when John is out of town. Just call up their main sales offices or go online. New York Sports Club has a great online service at http://www.nysc.com that shows all gyms with babysitting by the icon finder of an alphabet block. Fabulous!
So when first embarking on my prenatal fitness routine, I checked in with my ob/gyn. Approved. Next, I went to my gym and worked specifically with prenatal certified physical trainers. They did stretching with me and showed my how to wiggle around on the exercise ball to stretch and strengthen my pelvic area. I had sciatic nerve problems and carpal tunnel syndrome in my pregnancy with Jax, so this exercise ball became my best friend. The trainers then walked me through the machines telling me which ones to use and which ones were not appropriate. They also lowered my weights in half. Then we talked about cardio. I found that my favorite cardio during pregnancy was walking. I love the fresh air when I feel nauseous, and when I get big, it’s a quick waddle but I get there. I walked a half hour to 45 minutes daily until the day I delivered Jax. But I felt good and that is the key. Every mama has their own voice telling them what is ok and what is not. Listen to yours.
A lot of mamas like to do prenatal yoga, so I checked out some of what’s available for you in Manhattan. The best, best bargain in the city is to get yourself the New York Yoga Passbook. Yoga centers can be pricey to say the least, especially if it is a supplement to your health club annual fees. The Yoga Passbook is available in New York at a cost of $69.00 and gives you 250 guest passes (good for once, twice, sometimes an entire week) to the yoga centers in Manhattan. You can get this by calling 212-808-0765 or going online to http://www.health-fitness.org.
Once you have obtained this book, there are many yoga centers with prenatal yoga available. Also available from this organization is a New York Fitness Passbook. Again for this minimal fee, you can get passes to health clubs all over the city and really sample where you would like to eventually get a membership. Fantastic for pregnant mamas in the Fitness Passbook are Maternal Dance, Maternal Fitness, and Aqua Mom.
What is very nice about prenatal yoga and fitness is that you can continue these programs after your child is born. There are available “Mommy and Me” Yoga programs. The Big Apple Parent Magazine has a lot of these type of programs advertised. This magazine is distributed all over Manhattan, especially in health clubs. You can also get it online at http://www.parentsknow.com. For example, Jax and I are going to take a swimming class together this spring. This has been an available class at my club for infants as early as six months. I love being in water when I am pregnant, I feel well, lighter. When you are checking out your prenatal fitness choices, a lot of clubs allow children to participate with their parents free of charge until they are around five or six years old. My club does. These are the questions you want to ask when interviewing salespeople about membership.
Finally, we cannot forget about the creme de la creme of prenatal fitness. The chocolate mousse, the banana brownie pie, the massage. When I was particularly sore, stiff, and yes, grouchy, I gave myself the treat of a prenatal massage. There is nothing that will make you feel so relaxed, so light, so cared for. I go to David Walker at my gym, MPHC, and he does members and non-members. Just call up MPHC at 212-563-7001. David is certified in prenatal massage. I always made sure when I put my very unsure, first pregnant self in anyone’s hands, they had the right training. Now that I am pregnant again, I am less unsure but still consult the experts. David uses tons of pillows and of course I can pick out my favorite music. A half hour or one hour later, I walk away a new mama. And I am sure Jax felt it, too. He just loves getting back rubs in the bath with a Lakon Herbal baby oil, which contains lavender and calendula. You can look up their wonderful products at http://www.lakonherbals.com.
Well, mamas, I cannot end without a story from my attic. When I was trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully, I had an infertility appointment and grabbed a cab to get there. I was sitting in the cab minding my own business when my cab driver garrulously and cheerfully asked me a hundred questions trying to engage me. I was so determined to stay in my self-pity rut. He asked me if I was married and I flatly continued with my one syllable answers, “Yes”. Then, he asked me if I had children. I could not stay flat, my whole person erupted into tears. My cab driver reacted very confidently. He said, “Oh, you just have to find your season.”. I answered weeping incredulously, “What?” And he continued, “Every woman has a season of fertility, children in families are born together in clusters, you just haven’t found your season yet, no worries.” I thought about my sister’s kids being born in October, my cousins all had birthdays in the summer, and so on. My self-pity finally broken by one of God’s wisest, unassuming angels. That night, for the first time in a long time, I laughed and cheerfully repeated the story to my husband, who laughed with me. Confidently I said, “Babe, we just have to find our season.” What medicine that a doctor could not give, and with that I will leave you mamas. Pregnant or otherwise, keep your laughter, and keep our new littlest one in your prayers.