I joined a gym this week. My morning walks around my mother-in-law's neighborhood were great, but last week, after running into a snake and a neighbor's unleashed doberman who gave me a little nip (among other terrifying wildlife), I was done.
I went in really just to a get a few days of working out for free. I didn't expect to love it. But surprise: I loved it. I dropped Henrietta off at the gym daycare, got on the treadmill, rocked out to my music, watched the news on closed caption, and started a couch-to-5k program using an app. Endorphins flooded me. I forgot how much I love those endorphins.
And this morning I went to my first water aerobics class. I'm not yet brave enough to try the other classes, though I will get brave enough soon, and this was the perfect reintroduction. Water aerobics is ideal for a post-pregnancy body. Really, I think water aerobics is just ideal.
There aren't any mirrors! No one was competing! Someone told me my swimsuit was gorgeous! All of this was precisely what I needed.
My post-pregnancy body is such a disappointment, still. My hips are hippier and my belly is loose and my breasts are heavy with milk. I'm working on it, but gently, gently, and slowly, slowly. I refuse to beat myself into a smaller form. But in the water, it doesn't matter at all. All you can see is my head, and I'm okay with my head. I love my head.
All of us had beautiful heads. There was a woman with a gorgeous afro and another with a stylish grey bob. A few of us wore glasses, speckled with pool water. It was clear our bodies had suffered: we'd born babies and lifted grandchildren and perhaps had a few joints replaced, and we were freckled and wrinkled and sagging.
But our swimsuit cleavage was magnificent, and we swished and splashed. I found myself laughing out loud. It didn't just make me happy; I was outright joyful. I loved myself under the water. I loved all of us, moving our bodies and making waves and churning things up as much as we pleased. Underwater, we were dancers and kickboxers and yogis and cheerleaders and basketball players. Underwater, we were beautiful. Underwater, we ran so fast.