[Laps]

Deep breath.

Cold water washes over my lap-swimming bathing suit as I plunge into the pool gym.

This bathing suit used to fit well, but two pregnancy’s in and it’s starting to pull and tug in ways I don’t love.

I’m at the stage of pregnancy when it still looks like I drink too much beer and don’t work out enough, not that I am 17 weeks along.

I do four laps, relishing the feel of the cool water in contrast to the blistering Arizona heat, and pause at the wall, heart pounding and out of breath already.

The swimmer next to me has completed what I can only estimate to be twice as many laps as I have done in the same amount of time, her lean arms cutting through the water with the precision of a long time athlete.

I close my eyes at the onslaught of negative thoughts that begin to press in from all angles. “Why did I come to do the sport that shows my weaknesses the most?” “why does every part of me seem to be growing besides my belly?” “why is it so much harder this time?”.

It is harder-everything about this pregnancy is more difficult, except for the fact that this time I know how the whole process works.

It’s harder on my body; the not getting enough sleep, the chasing after a toddler. It’s harder mentally, knowing that I face each day with less energy than I would like. It’s harder spiritually, to be sacrificial and selfless when I feel like I’m starting out with little left to give.

My heart rate has come down enough for me to take another deep breath and push off from the wall- away from the thoughts that make me want to climb out of this pool.

Stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke breathe.

Comparison is an old enemy, I am more than prepared to take it on.

Stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke breathe.

I think about how I wanted to watch TV today during Seb’s nap, while Eric worked outside, but I knew I would feel better if I came and swam.

I think about all the healthy choices I make for my body and this baby, the good foods and the exercise. And all the times I let myself eat sweets, because I can also be gentle with myself.

I remember how strong I am that I go to work every week for grueling fourteen-hour shifts as a nurse, and don’t complain about picking up extra work.

I remember all the ways Eric helps me to rest, and the ways we give to each other from our depleted stores.

I pause again at the wall to admire the talent of the swimmer next to me, and imagine that she has had to work really hard to get to where she is today. I remember the races I’ve run, the accomplishments I’ve had, and the beautiful life I live.

I swim, and swim, and swim, until the chlorine in my hair and the blood pumping through my heart down to this sweet and small baby inside of me have dissipated the negative.

And all I’m left with is the good.

-Mo

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