I got into swimming during pregnancy rather late, it was only at about the middle of the sixth month or so, when the weather started to turn warm, that I finally got around to registering for an aquagym pour futures mamans class. I don’t really know why I waited so long, I joined a prenatal yoga class around month four, but swimming just took a lot longer. I think one of the problems is that the pool I have been going to for five years, practically next door, decided that THIS YEAR should be the year that they would be closed from January to September, a fact I found out on a cold January Sunday standing in front of the locked door with coconut oil slicked through my hair that was stuffed into a beanie on top of my head.
I had been looking forward to swimming during pregnancy, and specifically at this pool seeing as like I said it was right next door, and it felt like an ironic joke had been played on me to have closed just the year that I was pregnant. (In fact, this turned out to be a blessing in disguide, as during the summer after you were born I discovered an even better pool, but more on that in a minute).
So in April or so I joined this prenatal class that was at a smaller pool just over on the border of Clichy, not too terribly far. By this time, I was getting pretty hefty and my legs were swollen, and it was heavenly to be able to dip into the pool at the end of the day, with five or six other heavily pregnant ladies. We did little exercises using “frites”, my favorite being the relaxation at the end of the session where one pregnant lady lay back on a frite while another one would pull her around the pool, then we’d switch. The pool had music underwater, which made this an especially fun treat. One of the points of the class was to work on breathing exercises, such as holding our breath and pushing it out underwater, which was in theory supposed to help us during labor, to which I say, HAHAHAHAHA! (More on that soon, I’m still working on your birth story, it’s taking surprisingly long).
What I really loved about the short time I spent underwater during pregnancy was the idea that I was experiencing what you were experiencing, submerged in water in my belly. I felt at one with you when I was floating around, my heavy belly surrounded by water which was supporting you as you were submerged in water, or amniotic fluid. It was a cool feeling.
About three weeks after you were born, once I was feeling up to a bit of exercise, I started taking a Velib bicycle to a much nicer pool about a fifteen minute bike ride away on Sundays, for a few hours. I’ve been doing this all summer, leaving you with a bottle of milk for some alone time with your papa, and taking an hour or two for myself. I’ve really enjoyed the bike ride through the quiet streets of the 17th, as only Paris can be on summer Sundays, and then jumping into the pool feeling the freedom of being weightless in water, rememberin g that that was how you were for so many months, and then lying outside on the grass in the sunshine, staring up at the sky or into the grass, contemplating with amazement how it was that you came to be with me, that I could have created such a perfect little person as you. Then on the way home, stopping at the fruit market for peaches, berries, basil, apricots, and then at the bakery for some bread. These little excursions have been a really nice moment for me over the past three months. And even if it’s good for my head to have a couple of hours alone, I find myself really missing you, and thinking about your sweet face while I’m swimming.
Bébé nageurs starts at six months of age. I am looking forward to taking you to it. I wonder if you will like it or if you will hate it. We will see.