Week 26: Fun While Pregnant

When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.
— Ernest Hemingway

Thanks Hemingway for the inspirational quote there. While I’m fairly certain Hemingway did not intend for his audience of this piece of wisdom to be a pregnant woman, it holds up.

Our society is becoming more accepting and progressive, perhaps, in some ways. We’re gradually less shocked by the idea of gay marriage in our country, and we elected a black president twice. It probably goes without saying that these tidbits of progress don’t necessarily negate the room we have to grow. Somewhere else we have to grow? Treating pregnant women like fragile collectables on Grandma’s shelf.

I cannot tell you how many times (albeit likely with the best of intentions) close ones to strangers have and continue to treat me like I should be wrapped in bubble wrap any time I move. The more visibly pregnant I get, the more often it happens. On top of that, the list of things I should avoid doing continues to grow along with this belly. I understand where its coming from and the need for caution. I myself am always the first to ask if I can do something during my workouts or yoga if I’m not sure. What all this amounts to, however, is the feeling that pregnancy isn’t meant to be fun and therefore, having fun while pregnant is a little too rich for the veins of a lot of people out there.

This past week was jam packed with excitement for my little family. My husband graduated from college, my sister-in-law and her husband flew out here from Seattle, Alien Covenant came out in theaters, and it was my birthday. In the span of 4 days, we had something or multiple somethings of fun planned each day! Up until this point in the year, our lives have revolved around work, school and baby, so this week felt like the first legitimate time we invested in the act of having fun for fun’s sake.

This week's lesson: Shirk responsibility in the name of fun, like a woman. 

This week's lesson: Shirk responsibility in the name of fun, like a woman. 

Thursday night we went to a midnight showing (actually I think it was a 10 or 11 pm showing but it still felt like a ‘midnight release’) to see Alien Covenant – the act of seeing a movie with a group of people is fun for me…the movie selection was for my husband. Our group, consisting of my husband, and siblings his friend all went out on a work/school night to see a long horror/sci-fi movie and ate junk theater food along the way and it was glorious. It was especially glorious for me to put up my feet, recline and nod in and out of sleep to the sound of space guns.

Friday was graduation day and after sitting through the obligatory but still special graduation ceremony, it was time to party at a local pizza joint/brewery. Being around people drinking and having a nice time didn’t bother me, I enjoyed snacking on pizza and socializing on a crowded patio for hours. Again, carefree and even with the knowing omission of alcohol, without allowing my pregnancy to interfere.

Saturday, we held a joint birthday party (my husband’s is two weeks before mine) at Dave and Busters where a group of 15 of our family and closest friends acted like kids and played videos games late into the night, not leaving until after 1 am. Again, we indulged in junk food and loud noises. Again, my pregnancy did not get in the way.

On Sunday (my birthday!), my husband’s family and I all went to Disneyland to extend the celebration. Anyone who has been to Disneyland within the last few years knows how insanely busy and at times not-fun-at-all Disneyland can be now. Add in being stuck in traffic for hours only minutes away from the park due to some strange overcrowding and/or parking lot issues and we were all fairly grumpy before even entering the park. But ultimately, after getting a ride in and some theme park snacks, the fun commenced! Even with the ride restrictions and big crowds, I managed to have fun walking around the park and feeling pretty damn good for being six months pregnant.

Looking back over it all makes me feel exhausted, but in the moment and as it was all happening, I felt so energized. I was riding high from all the celebratory feelings and being surrounded by our closest people all weekend. In the weeks leading up, I kept going back and forth about how much we/I should really take on, not sure if it would all be too much for me. I’m glad I went for it.

Looking ahead, I’m sure there will be many moments throughout parenthood where I question how much I should take on for myself. I may be hesitant because of how much time parenting will take out of me. I may feel inclined to take more breathers than necessary. But I hope, after this week, I will see how important it also is to push yourself out of the confines of expectations. This isn’t about not listening to yourself. Quite the opposite. It’s about not letting what you hear about what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior dictate what feels right for you. It's about cutting yourself some slack in the name of fun. 

Maybe next week, I’ll be feeling the aftermath of my decision to push myself – to stay out late, to walk around for hours, and eat bad food. Maybe next week’s focus will be exhaustion while pregnant. I’ll worry about that next week. For now, I’m trying to enjoy the moment.

After all, having fun is not just about selfish indulgences. It’s actually good for you