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Let's Talk Mothers

The other day my daughter Lisa and I were out shopping for a dress for one of my granddaughters. We accomplished this and then went to lunch. While waiting for our food, I showed her my latest internet pages. One on weight lifting and one on menopause. I had been thinking of doing my next document on backs or sex. After reading my piece on Pumping Iron-You Too,Lisa said "You didn't say anything about mothers. We need to exercise too." I immediately had a knee jerk defensive reaction, pointing out that in fact in my list of who pumps,I had included people who work at physically demanding jobs. The Truth: I had not considered mothers. I still had remnants of past social attitudes toward the mothering set. Once you're a mother you are a non-worker. You are an unconditional lover and nurturer, who disregards self. You are a drudge. You are sexless. You are perhaps a little stupid. As I mulled over my embarrassing neglect of all those people who were busily occupied in the raising the next generation, I decided to put off back and sex talk and talk about mothers and exercise.

Motherhood is a combination of bearing and raising children. Many people enter into the profession of mothering who have not born children themselves. There are adoptive mothers, foster mothers,step-mothers and male mothers as well as female mothers. The people who voluntarily take on mothering make an heroic choice and for the most part are good at their job. Pregnancy whether by choice or not is definitely the onset to motherhood. My daughter Lisa upon viewing a sonogram of her yet to be born baby, commented that she wished she hadn't looked.

I understood what she meant. That flash that lets you know some alien has taken over your body. It definitely produces an inside body experience outside of your control. Your abdomen is being pushed and poked. Your tits are sore. You're nauseous. Your back aches. If you laugh or cough you piss your pants. For most of us the outcome is so anticipated and the love we feel for this growing human is so intense, that it makes the whole process worth our while. After we have given birth, we often forget the discomforts as we enter into the raising of this new life. Often the doctors we go to for our pre-natal care treat pregnancy as if it were a medical problem. Doctors often advise women to deal with these discomforts by staying in bed, staying off y our feet and getting plenty of rest. Doctors have also been known to prescribe medications that in some cases proved harmful to the woman and the growing life inside her . Many women following these doctors orders lose muscle tone, lack energy and lose confidence. The feeling of being a vibrant energetic human dissipates turning into feelings of being helpless and unattractive. There are other alternatives to these "doctors orders".

Today more women are discovering that exercise is a much healthier way to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy. There are exercises that strengthen the abdomen. These can be done without harm to the woman or her child. Easy abdominal crunches, starting with a few repetitions and building to as many as possible will help counteract the stretching and pulling done by the baby. Abdominal exercises will also help keep a strong back. Gentle Back stretches will keep muscles toned and flexible. Machines are available at gyms for doing pull-downs and seated rows. At home one arm rows with dumbbells will work. Use light weights and don't work to exhaustion. Hamstring stret ches will keep legs flexible and relieve back tension. Doing quadricep extensions and hamstring curls with light weights will help develop leg strength. Learning to lift with your legs, instead of your back,will prepare you for the hundreds of repetitions of lifting your child after s/he is born. You will appreciate strong legs for the miles of chasing after your young toddlers. You will enjoy the pleasant walks to the playground if you are stronger. You will also want to maintain arm strength for all the lifting and picking up that is a requirement of motherhood. This can be easily done with a few light weight dumbbells. Arm curls and kickbacks will enhance the looks and strengthen your upper arms. There are some easy neck stretches to relieve tension and help with headaches. Do not do neck rotations! There are several lifting books and stretching books on the market. I recommend a lifting book called Now or Never by Joyce L. Vedral and an excellent stretching book called Stretching by Bob Anderson.

As for those bladder problems,check out Kegel exercises. They are easy and fun. One way to do these exercises is, when taking a leak, stop and start the urine flow. Another way is to contract and release the vaginal muscles around a penis. Your mate or male friend will love this one. You can also use a finger or two. Kegel exercises will also add to your sexual pleasure. Yes, contrary to popular belief we mothers are allowed sexual pleasures.

I have often stated to my friends and family that the work of mothering is the most physically and mentally demanding job I have ever done. I have often been offended at articles that are titled Workers and Mothers. Mothers are workers! The Teamsters have nothing on mothers as far physically demanding jobs and no scientist or mathematician has ever had to use logic, intuition and trial and error experimenting as much as mothers do. Not one product on the market is as precious to our human existence as the child a mother produces and nurtures. So we mothers are not only a part of the job force, we are an essential part of workers of the world. Taking care of our mental and physical health is extremely important. Exercising can help you work away depression and relieve stress. Exercising will clear the cobwebs and help you think clearer. Being strong will give you an overall sense of empowerment. Mothering can be a very isolating occupation. Go out for walks. Meet people. Take a partner to the gym. Put on some music and dance. Oh yes and make love. Take time for yourself. Remember you are doing an important service to society. Being strong and healthy through exercise and diet is better than painkillers, mood elevators and high priced health practitioners.

One more bonus is that your daughters and granddaughters have an example of a woman who can take care of her mind and her body. My granddaughter Gabrielle comes to the gym with me sometimes. She tells me she is strong. She loves telling people that her grandma is a kickboxer and weightlifter and I love setting an example of a strong capable woman.

For further information contact Gypsy via email at:

gypsy@dreamagic.com (Gypsy)(Info)

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