I’m writing this to you because we’ve been at odds in the last year or so, and I’m hoping this note might clear the air and help us get along better.
Now I know you have produced for us two beautiful children. And for that I will be eternally grateful. You’ve also not (touch wood) failed me in terms of serious illness or back problems, or the like. You’re generally a reliable model, in part due to genes and due to me taking care of you. You don’t present me with much difficulty, except perhaps the monthly hormonal rollercoaster you seem to still thrust upon me without fail.
But in the last year, coincidentally after the birth of my second child (funny that), externally you’ve been struggling to snap back into place, haven’t you. Haven’t you? Yes, you know it’s true. It seems when I turned 34, things suddenly got a lot harder between us.
I’ve heard many times that everyone has “an age” when all of a sudden, to get their body to remain in good shape externally, it suddenly becomes hard work. For some, it happens at 30, 35, 40. Well, it’s clear that 34 is my magic number. Yes, sadly, our number is up.
No body, I am not talking about being skinny. No no no. You can be skinny and untoned. You can be skinny and look quite unhealthy. And anyhow, you’ve never been one of those bodies without hips and a bum. Let’s not kid ourselves here!!
I’m talking about muscle tone. The kind of tone that generally starts dissipating following pregnancy, along with age.
Need some reminding? Here you and I are together, aged 27.
As you can see, you were never model-skinny. That’s OK. You’ve always been built strong – broad shoulders and hips, with curves. But at 27, you were serving me quite well. You let me eat whatever I wanted and generally laze about, with the exception of a couple of half hour gym visits a week. (You also let me drink like a fish until 1am and wake up bouncing out of bed to start work at 7:30am the next day. Remember? Remember?!!)
I’m a little angry at your timing on that. Why didn’t you make me work hard back then and let me laze about now, when I have two kids to look after? But yes I know…that’s how you work. Ageing, and all that.
And in all honesty, I owe you an apology. Back before getting pregnant, I spent far too long nitpicking you.
Ah, for the gift of hindsight. If only I knew back then that your stomach would, in a few years’ time, bear a 20cm scar running vertically down it due to childbirth. If only I knew what breastfeeding would do to your breasts. If only I could’ve foreseen just how much weight you’d gain during pregnancy, I wouldn’t have stressed over 1 or 2kg fluctuations back then, and put you on silly diets.
If I’d have known all that, I would never have criticised you like I did. I’d have dismissed a not-perfectly-flat stomach and not wasted money on creams that didn’t work, at the first sign of a bit of cellulite. For that I am sorry.
But let’s move onto when there was some genuine strain placed on our relationship. After you produced baby number 1, you were heavier than you’d ever been. That wasn’t your fault, I’ll admit – that was mine, because the baby craved Lindt balls the entire 9 months. (Actually, so technically it was the baby’s fault).
Anyhow, when I decided to do something about it, I took you off to the gym and worked you hard. I made you lift heavy weights over and over. I fed you with a lot of egg whites, chicken, green veges and protein shakes. Within four months, you weighed less than you did before the baby, and were fitter than you’d ever been. You had lots of muscle and I was very, very happy.
Then you produced baby number 2.
And even though I was smart enough second time around to resist the Lindt balls, we turned 34.
Instead of a walk, or a gentle jog as its been of late, I decided not to muck around and took you out for a good hard run today. Because you and I both know, that at 34, running is the really the only effective way to stay toned. And was the run enjoyable for you? It wasn’t particularly fun for me. For the most part, it felt like bloody hard work.
I know there’s going to be no such thing as a walk in the park anymore (pardon the pun) when it comes to maintaining you. You and I have had it pretty easy up until now. Yes, from now on, it’s going to be tough and it’s going to hurt. But unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. Especially it seems, after baby number 2.
So, are you with me on this? Are you willing to endure greater pain than I put you through after baby number 1? To still reach bench pressing 60kg and flys with 12kg dumbells in each hand?
All rhetorical questions of course, dearest 34 year old body…
Because if my mind says yes, you’ll just have to follow.