“I want to swim when I’m 24 weeks pregnant,” said no mom-to-be ever.
We started swimming lessons as a family this past weekend. I go in with the sixteen-month-old, and my husband goes in with the almost-three-year-old.
That means that we’re both going into the pool. And gosh swimming can be work when you are a parent. You have to dress everyone to go outside in the cold to the swim facility, to undress them and put them in bathing suits to go into the water, to dress them again after a swim, and undress them straight to bath time when you get home. That’s a lot of clothes on, clothes off. It’s worse than playing with princess Barbie’s with my almost-three-year-old, and that's all we do—clothes on, clothes off.
If you know me, you know my body confidence isn’t always the best even when I’m not six-months pregnant. Like if someone were to ask me “How do you feel about your body?” and if I were going to answer honestly, I wouldn't immediately answer “Great!” with a confident shimmy and a smile. So, when I’m pregnant and feeling like a beluga whale, hopping into the pool isn’t one of my favorite pastimes.
On top of that my sixteen-month-old is terrified of the pool—which makes the experience even more unpleasant. So, the other day I felt like a mama pig forcing her sad baby piglet into the water. She latched on to me and would not let go, fingers digging into my skin. The horror in her eyes. Girl was Grumpy Cat in the face the whole time or as the swim instructor said: "she's not impressed." And oh, she could give gymnast, Mckayla Maroney, a run for her money with her “not impressed face.” It wasn’t the best experience, but it was a start because she has to learn to swim. Without both my husband and me going in, one of my girls would have to sit out.
The bottom line, even though my youngest wasn't a fan, I am glad something like my body image didn't hold me and her back. The ironic thing was years ago when I was at my skinniest, I would never rock a bathing suit. Now, I’m at one of my largest, pregnant, and it doesn’t hold me back. Both my daughter and I were facing our fears.
Body image is how you feel about yourself, and I feel really good about myself and what my body does, as a mother to two beautiful, healthy girls. I don't want to miss a moment, even the ones that aren’t the most ideal. I also don’t want them to associate mommy with not participating in these kinds of moments. I want them to never sit on the sidelines because of fear. So, each week, I will continue to jump into the pool with them, even as my belly gets rounder, my thighs and butt get thicker, and I get more uncomfortable (physically and mentally) in the process.
I refuse to be a part of the epidemic of mommies sitting on the sidelines out of fear or insecurity, while “fun” daddies experience it all.