There were eight couples, paired off and uncomfortably sitting in hard-backed chairs against the wall with pillows and blankets at their sides. A pile of brightly, colored exercise balls were gathered together in the center of the room, and a slender woman in dark, ankle boots leaned against a table at the front, presumably the Lamaze instructor.
It was a good guess, as she was the only woman in the room who could still see her feet to admire those cool boots. She casually rested there and I couldn’t stop myself from noting the flatness of her stomach. It was a slightly concerning obsession that has worsened over the past few months, categorizing every woman’s stomach into flat, fat, pregnant or other.
On the way to work, I saw a transgendered person and had to stop, not only because of the traffic signal but also the delay in my mental processing, and to think how to classify them into the system. Then the light changed and I sped off, only to remember just now that I never finished that thought.
The woman in the boots was indeed the instructor and she shared that she had several children, naturally no less, in addition to a plethora of other important information about contractions, relaxation and dilation. There was hope to return to normal, I mused in an unfocused type of way. My belly can be flat again, someday, and maybe an active listener, too.
Throughout class, much like pregnancy so far, I had a number of assumptions turned upside down. Exercise balls in this new reality are called “birthing balls” and the he-he, hoo-hoo breathing is to prevent pushing too early rather than as a pain management strategy. Apparently, pain management is left up to having a strong mental reserve and the promise of an epidural should the situation become too unbearable.
There is still so much to do and learn that life feels overwhelming, and at the same time, I am grateful to have a little over three months left to prepare a nursery and practice my breathing exercises, to further perfect my classification system and to generally enjoy this downtime of idle musing before the world flips, yet again.