I quit the gym today.
I had planned to go until next Tuesday, when I’d be 36 weeks pregnant and ready to slide blissfully into holiday-related indolence and two different kinds of stuffing, but I knew yesterday that I was done. Or rather, I knew yesterday that today would be my last day, and then back pain kept me awake most of the night so I said NOPE and bailed out.
You know, or you’re told, that your body will tell you when it’s over, and in my case, it definitely did. I was cruising, and then I was not. Things felt heavier, things felt lower, things felt tighter, things were not what they once were.
The third trimester had been pretty good to me, all told, at the gym. I didn’t see a huge drop in my abilities or comfort level from my second trimester, and the irritation I had felt about strength losses passed. I just didn’t care, really. I was happy just to be there, and enjoying how much credit you get from randos for showing up, period, when you’ve officially funhouse-mirrored out. Dudebros who used to withhold their “damn, that girl is DOING IT” head nods for really impressive shit were starting to practically chuck me under the chin for getting a drink of water from the fountain while idly checking my Twitter mentions.
And, for the record, working out hard this pregnancy has been an unqualified win. I am still putting on More Weight Than The Chart Says To, but that’s how it goes for my pregnancies, it’s 43 lbs each time whether I’m kale-and-kettlebells or bon-bons-and-Boogie Nights-on-cable, but my ankles aren’t swollen, my energy is up, and I just…hurt less. I’m really happy I kept going. I’m proud of it. I don’t care if I had to go back to Lady Pushups.
But the not-caring about strength loss has begun to morph into the lol nothing matters I remember from my first pregnancy, when your world can start to diminish around you into clock-watching (see left) and nesting (nesting is a REAL MOTHERFUCKING THING, it is NO JOKE) and just observing as the ratio of your thoughts about having another baby versus your thoughts about literally anything other than having another baby begins to shift.
The nesting is so curious. It can bring out Jolie Kerr in anyone. There’s been a tea stain on the carpet in the nursery for a year, and suddenly THE CARPETS NEEDED TO BE PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED. Nicole Chung is a brave and detail-oriented Bert-type, but I MUST TEACH HER ALL MY WISDOM IMMEDIATELY. The site will be fine without me but ALL FREELANCE POSTS THAT WILL APPEAR DURING MY MATERNITY LEAVE MUST BE LOADED INTO WORDPRESS SO NO ONE WILL NOTICE I LEFT. I’ve sterilized my breastpump parts. I’ve sorted the little clothes. I’ve figured out where to put my nursing chair. My co-sleeper is attached to my bed and has a copy of Texts From Jane Eyre and a bottle of Tums and a handful of plastic horses in it. I have purchased a 31 inch-high stuffed golden retriever toy for my newborn son to “give” my toddler daughter in a vain attempt to curry favour.
I’ll be here with you until Friday, Dec. 19th, or until I go into labour, by the way. And then I’ll miss you, but you’ll be just fine without me. Mallory is going to take over Link Roundups when I’m gone, and Nikki is already crushing it at submissions, and a nice woman gave us $75 in exchange for me promising to write up my birth story for you, so I think everything will go on as it should.
On a final note, back to fitness: literally everything I did slowly got worse over the last eight months, except for toe squats. Toe squats got better, bc my body’s natural impulse to sink backwards was counter-balanced by my belly. Solid as a rock.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.