These days on Tuesday evenings around 17.45. I usually find myself pacing the hallway, my shoes and jacket already on, ready to leave on a moment’s notice. Sometime between 17.45. and 17.50. hubby walks through the apartment door, I kiss him a quick hello and swiftly disappear down the stairs. Birdy is left playing in the living room by herself, oblivious to the sudden change of parent in charge.
Where am I off to, you may wonder?
I am taking part in the very German post-pregnancy activity of a “rückbildung” (involution) course. It is a sort of a post-pregnancy fitness class that is offered by midwives and should be started eight to ten weeks after the birth of the baby. The idea of these classes is to strengthen the core muscles, in particular those of the pelvic floor, and to stretch all those stiff muscles that result from carrying around baby.
It is all for a good cause but Germans seem to be a bit obsessed about rückbildung. The day after Birdy’s birth I was visited by two bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students of physiotherapy who made me start doing some easy exercises. They dropped by every day during my hospital stay and gave me a leaflet describing some more exercises for doing at home as a parting gift.
A week later a similar leaflet was given to me by my visiting midwife who, when Birdy was a month old, also urged me to finally start looking for a course as they book out fast. My first reaction was: oh please, I have barely gotten a hang of this baby thing and now I have to do what?! Even my health insurance chipped in. A few days after we had added the little one to our family insurance I received a nice letter that said something along the lines of: congratulations on your new baby! Don’t you start lazing around now, here’s a DVD, do some exercises for getting back to that pre-pregnancy shape.
As I had even less wish to start bending and stretching in front of my TV screen when all I wanted to do was curl up and get some more sleep, I finally started looking for a course. I quickly dismissed the “with baby” options as I had the feeling that I would spend more time breastfeeding than exercising. With all the upcoming classes booked out and school holidays approaching fast, my best option remained starting in the second half of August.
Well, it was not ideal as I would be starting three months later than recommended. Then again three months also makes a huge difference in baby-time so it meant that hubby will have a much easier time with the little one.
On my first class I quickly discovered that most of the ladies in my class had their babies around May. This means that they either applied for the course before their baby was born or pretty much the next day after it arrived. There’s German efficiency and planning for you! I would be the most experienced mommy in the room if not for the other Ausländerin there who, just like me, had her baby in early spring.
Long story short, on Tuesday evenings I have some mommy me-time with elements of bending, stretching, and muscle strengthening, while Birdy and her daddy are having a fun playtime. By the time I get home two hours later I usually find them exhausted but happy.