When I was pregnant I started going to a pregnant-lady water aerobics class. I went almost every day and, believe me, I'm not exactly exercisey. But I am a sucker for hysterical giggling and, honestly, I don't think I have ever laughed as hard or as much as I did when I was bobbing around in that pool full of women at various stages of ripeness. I don't know, maybe it was the hormones, but we were crazy-jolly, and I loved it!
Although it started out as a physical health routine, it ended up being more of a mental health routine. It grew so naturally. First, we were on neutral ground ... er ... in neutral water. Second, pregnancy is a pretty vulnerable state of existence. I would say that none of us were what you would call "intimidating" or "unapproachable" at that point.
But most importantly, any coolness I or my classmates may have been clinging to was pretty much (totally) washed away once we waddled out of the public pool changing-room dressed in maternity swimsuits (where are you, "Project Runway"?) with our giant bellies leading the way to the stairs at the shallow end. Personally, I was just feeling real friendly toward anyone who could make me feel like less of a nerd ... or at least like part of a nerd herd.
Now I am not saying that pregnant women aren't awesomely beautiful fertility goddesses. It's just that sometimes they might feel a wee bit awkward, a tad self-conscious and just a ton out-of-step with the non-pregnant world. That bun-in-the-oven sisterhood became our safe place to share and to laugh uncontrollably about all the funky parts of pregnancy that most non-preggers don't want to hear about.
That was 11 years ago, and since then, I must tell you, a LOT of the best chats, heart-to-hearts, gripe-fests and laugh-ins I have are still with my fellow moms. I love that we can count on one another to say "me, too" and "my kid does that, too" and "I'm sick of that, too" and "I love that, too" and to lean back and to cackle loud and long (like a bad mommy would).