Mozaico-Flamenco-Jaleo-2008-dance

Pregnancy & Flamenco – Part 1

Thoughts from Months #1 to #4
No sweat!

Written by Kasandra La China from Maui, Hawaii
January 9, 2008

At the time of this blog, I am approaching 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the halfway mark to having a baby.  At this point, I’d say that I’m coming out of the closet because about 75% of my flamenco world has no idea, not to mention that it is going to be a hard secret to hide when I get back to teaching on January 21st.  Psychologically I feel ready to talk about it whereas even 2 months ago, I didn’t.

So here’s the chronology of the last 20 weeks so you can get into my psyche.  Hopefully this information will be interesting to “moms to be” or “prospective moms”… maybe even inspiring because so far, pregnancy has been no sweat! 

Month 1: Denial
“No.  Nah, I’m not pregnant.  No way.”

I skimmed through September with no change to my regular life, schedule, health, exercise regime, eating habits or life in general.  There was no morning sickness, changes to my body or any outward clue that a baby was in fact happening.  Since there was no physical evidence, it wasn’t really happening in my mind.  I must say that I was very slow on the uptake.

I danced at exactly one month pregnant at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre Open House in Vancouver on September 15, 2007.  No one had a clue.  Not even me.

Month 2: Cluing In slowly but still in denial
“What’s up with this gas and bloating?”
The first clue that I was pregnant was that there was some physical bloating after eating.   Most of the time I’m in a rush, so I probably don’t chew my food properly but since I’ve done this my whole life, it has never been an issue.  However, gulping down a soft drink is bad news when pregnant.  The result, Major Gas.
By the end of this second month, I was still in denial going, “Hey, this isn’t fitting into my schedule.  I have a major gig to dance in Sechelt in November.  I have no time for doc appointments or these tests.  AND I’m still going to Bikrams Yoga, too bad.”

Later that month, I did see the doc, she did confirm the pregnancy and told me to stop going to Bikrams because the heat would stress the baby, and start swimming.  AAA.  Changes are starting already.

Month 3: Something up, but gonna dance hard anyway.
“Well, I’ve gained 5 lbs and can’t fit into my dress.  Gotta let it out 3/4 of an inch.  Time to make a new wardrobe.  Need fat clothes.”

The most obvious clue was gaining weight and being thicker around the middle.  This simply cannot be helped.  You can try to resist, but nature will take over.  It is inevitable.  Get over it.

The good news is that being in the first trimester does not affect your cardio or flexibility or dancing/performing at all.  You can still dance easily.  The doctor has said to continue all forms of activity as usual (minus hot yoga).  People wonder if flamenco footwork is bad for the baby.  So far I’ve had no trouble even performing flamenco.  The baby is just going to know flamenco compas before it’s born!

The bad news is that the bloating and weight gain is hard to hide form fitting outfits.  Friends close to me were noticing this in Month 2 but no one was brave enough to bring it up just in case I had had a few too many lasagnas.  Generally everybody is extremely polite.  Even if they have their suspicions, no one will actually mention this to you.

I found this VERY funny and just made a game out of it. “Let’s see how long it takes anyone to mention this to me.”   Well, no one brought it up until mid-December but only because I told some people and those people created rumors.

Well, I danced an important show, Feria de la Costa, in Sechelt on November 17, 2007.  Two solos, no problem!  You can definitely continue to dance at a high level in the first trimester.

Month 4: Time to take it easy, license to eat cheesecake.

“Whoo hoo!  License to eat!  I’m gonna eat beef, carbs and cheesecake!”
Month 4 is the start of the second trimester, which is significant because it marks that the baby survived the risky first and that it is going to start growing larger.  A lot larger.  Basically, the aftermath of the Sechelt show was my license to eat and I was craving hamburger, bacon and cheesecake.

Honestly, I have eaten more meat in the last 4 months than the last 4 years.   Non-pregnant me eats mostly vegetarian, but if I deviate, it’s a chicken salad or salmon rice or Chinese food.  I was on the South Beach Diet last summer and it seemed pretty good.  But now?!  That’s all out the door.  I eat anything I want, whenever I want.

Because of all the beef I was consuming, I was convinced I was having a baby boy.  This kid eats like my husband and brother!  I even went to McDonald’s a couple times.  HOWEVER, the tests results came back and it’s a GIRL.  A flamenco-kicking beef-eating GIRL!

Being 36, I was eligible for getting amniocentesis to define chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.  Being cautious, I did want to know these results, and I must tell you that getting this done in week 16 and getting the results 3 weeks later in week 19 is extremely stressful.   All the tests done between week 16 and 20 are really really important as they mark the development of the baby.  BUT all is well, the baby is healthy and we’re going to be parents and at this moment, I am in Maui eating a lot of pineapple.  My baby GIRL is doing flamenco in there because there is feisty kicking activity after every meal and before bed.  She started kicking in week 17 and at that time it was like bubblewrap popping.  Now I would say it’s more equivalent to planta-tacon-tacon.

Month 5: The Future?

By this Saturday, I will be in my fifth month.  This bump is not possible to hide when I get back to Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy.  My students will probably be in shock. The main difference for me now is that my primary focus will be teaching.  I am not currently “working out” or “training” for my own personal solos.  Long escobillas will probably be a lot of stress with the extra pounds.  Teaching it is not nearly as taxing on the body because it’s up to the students to do the work, the teacher must instruct and observe.

Once in a while I get a bit wistful about not performing. Although I realize that this is only temporary for the next few months, it is hard to give up dancing because I feel like I’m falling behind, being too lazy and getting worse.  Alas, this experience will give rise to a “big picture” and I can’t wait to see what that is.  Life is so interesting.

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