In the late 1980s, I discovered Jane Fonda. There she was, dancing on my television, challenging me to join in.
Her first workout tape was pretty difficult.
I’d gone through a life-changing year. I met and fell in love with my husband. I knew from our very first kiss that he was the only man for me.
I was so sure, in fact we were so sure that this was it, that we arranged our wedding quickly.
We married six months to the day after we met and ooh, the scandal, I was already three months pregnant.
So, we moved up to Scotland, so that he could pursue his career and I stayed at home and looked after our daughter.
I wasn’t in good shape though. Something odd had taken over my metabolism in the final three months of pregnancy and I was rapidly putting on weight.
When our daughter was born, after an interminable labour (28 hours) the hospital wondered what had happened, as I had about half the number of red blood corpuscles as a normal woman.
I hadn’t lost that much blood in the delivery, so it was one of those ‘baby vs mother’ wars, which she and I survived.
She was born with a good weight and I post labour, was swelling up with oedema and was dizzy with fatigue due to the anaemia.
The first few weeks were extraordinarily difficult. On our own, with no help, we struggled on and things slowly became easier.
I wasn’t recovering my previous svelte form. Dieting was impossible for the first three months, as it was deemed too risky to give me a blood transfusion (it was 1986) and so I had to eat my way back to health.
Jogging was impossible. Not a great idea when you feel that your internal organs are about exit your body with a terminal ‘splat’.
We hired a video player and I discovered Jane.
I can’t claim that ‘going for the burn’ gave me back my pre-pregnancy figure, but the challenge was irresistible.
I saved my pennies and bought the next level video, breathlessly jogging on the spot and I found my ‘burn’.
We moved house again and I got pregnant, after a pleasant day out, with a lot of alcohol and the temptation of ‘real’ sex. There’s nothing quite so delightfully mind-blowing as two fertile people making love. The fireworks exploded in our brains, the earth moved and our son was conceived.
This time, I took iron tablets, had regular blood tests and kept fit. I grew and grew and grew and really thought I was going to explode.
When my waters broke in my 40th week, we went to the hospital, to discover to our joy, that I was already 5cm dilated. So no unending labour, all would be over by lunchtime.
At about nine pm, our son was excavated by caesarean section and he was a mighty 11 pounds in weight (5.5 kilos). He was a big baby, make no mistake.
At a post-natal check, the nurse told me that she, like me was rhesus negative and that her third pregnancy had been very difficult. We thought that maybe two children would be enough.
My poor husband had a vasectomy. He was unfortunate, in that he encountered the butcher at the local hospital, who didn’t like men who chose local anaesthesia. In order to teach him a lesson (what the fuck? – how many vasectomies does a man need?) he started cutting less than five minutes after the injection.
He wasn’t the only man to undergo this eye-watering torture. We had friends who had encountered the same doctor and who had the same experience. I’d love to find this doctor one day and squeeze testicles until they burst, but I digress.
My recovery from the caesarean section was slow, but as soon as I could I tried to get fit. Something wasn’t right however. Each time I tried to run, my bladder would empty.
A year later, after we’d moved house again, I had a checkup, which revealed that I was about to have a prolapsed uterus. I was told not to lift heavy weights, to lose weight and to be careful.
I rediscovered Jane. No jogging on the spot, or going for the burn, this was low-impact aerobics and I fell in love with Jane Fonda’s Lean Routine.
I did it every day – kept on even though my uterus did actually descend and the only solution was surgery. My prolapse was so bad, that I would need a hysterectomy, but I’d have my bladder fixed and I’d be able to jog again.
I did the Jane Fonda tape every day. I used leg weights and wrist weights to increase the effort and lost all the weight that I needed to, in order to have the operation. The video was a life-saver.
I had been starting serious voice training, but stopped, as I couldn’t support my voice at all. I would get my singing voice back as well.
After the hysterectomy, I went for my first post-operative pee. Oh, the joy of being able to stop peeing mid-stream!
After I healed, I re-started my singing training. I joined a choir, I could run around with my kids and everything looked great.
I looked for an easy exercise video/dvd in 2003, but none were as good as Jane. I bought a video recorder to play the Open University Spanish language videos and I thought, why not find Jane again. I found her on eBay.
She’s just broken down…poor Jane. The tape is chewed and needs some work, so I’m having to work out to a different exercise goddess. She’s not as great as Jane though.
I went looking for another video to replace my chewed tape but have you seen the price of VHS tapes? Oh dear. Jane has become expensive. Well, I’ll keep looking, but if you are reading Jane, please re-release Lean Routine on DVD? You’ll make a slightly wobbly woman with MS, very happy.