Being a new mother with my eight week old son and unhappy with my newly acquired weight, I decided to “woman up” and take responsibility. I’d get back into my pre-child size 10 clothes pronto and regain my fitness by attending an aerobics class, which in 1978 was the current exercise mania. But I had to take Aaron with me because there were no family members who could take care of him while I exercised, or even went to the store for that matter. My younger sister,Barbara, lived close to me but she worked daytimes, and besides for some reason which now escapes me, we had had a falling out, and were not on speaking terms. But that’s another story. In any event, I shlepped Aaron to the class, where people in leotards mainly ignored him. But he looked around and seemed to enjoy the scenery of the group, mainly young women and only a couple of men, swinging their legs into the air, and hopping around the room to the sounds of Staying Alive (U tube), and Fever written and sung by the Bee Gees, from the movie Saturday Night Fever, a huge hit from the previous year, starring John Travolta in his hip-swinging days. The staccato shouts of the nubile instructor clad in tights and a red leotard propelled me into a disco fever. But when she proceeded to instruct us to do knee bends and squats, I proceeded to lose it. My left knee chimed in: you’re going to regret this; it caused me to scream out. My left leg crumbled out from under me and I fell to the floor. The instructor hovered over me, gave me a hand up, but it was my clear my time in the class was over. I could not stand on my lag without wincing in pain. Apparently, my upper leg muscles lacked the strength necessary for squats. So I must have overextended my knee way past my foot resulting in a pulled tendon or something, such that I could hardly walk. Leaning on Aaron’s carriage for support, I limped to my car, put my baby son in the car seat and drove home using my right leg. I remember thinking, is that why God gives us two? Two legs that is, for klutzes like me? The next day the doctor diagnosed a bad strain, handed me crutches, and told me to rest my leg. Duh. What else could I do? But rest was out of the question. Now, I had a baby and crutches. Plus, before i left the class, the aerobics instructor had told me that i should not bring my child to the class in the future, citing insurance reasons or something. Was she just jealous that I had such a lovely son? No more aerobics unless I could get a sitter. Hemmed in, alone and disregarded is how I felt in that moment of my new motherhood. And yet I had given birth to this wonderful child. The world in Northern Virginia, just a stone’s throw from the nation’s Capitol was not set up to accommodate mothers with children who wanted to work out. In 1978 that was still years away. And I began to wonder if my fitness and weight loss would similarly be years away– if not altogether out of reach.
Feeling hemmed in with child