While many mothers love to tell glowing stories of their perfect pregnancies, I'll be the first to admit that carrying my son for nine months was rough.
Even in the womb, I could tell the boy was going to be trouble. He spent most of his final months as a fetus pummeling my insides, stomping on my bladder and gleefully executing backflips at 3 in the morning. It felt like a budding prize fighter laying waste to my insides, and when he finally emerged two weeks before his due date weighing in at more than 10 pounds, I can't say I was surprised.
But if I thought he was hard to handle in the womb, I had no idea what I was in for once he got out. The kid expected me to carry him everywhere, and I had no choice but to comply. So for the last three-and-a-half years, I've endured what feels like the weight of the world — not on my shoulders, but in the crook of my right arm.
At first, it seemed like a logical place for him to ride. But after a few years, I began to realize that carrying my son exclusively on my right side wasn't such a good idea. I began to be plagued by aches and pains, and, at that point, switching him over to my left side was impossible — he was just too heavy.
In search of relief, I visited a massage therapist, and when she began probing the muscles in my shoulders and back, she gasped. "There are so many knots here!" she cried. "Have you ever considered visiting a chiropractor?" Actually, I hadn't. My father is a doctor, and saying the word "chiropractor" in his presence is like saying "snake oil salesman."
On the other hand, I couldn't count the number of people I knew who swore by their chiropractor's abilities to put an end to their suffering. Once I determined that chiropractors were covered by my insurance, I decided I might as well give one a try.
I began my visit with a series of X-rays of my neck and back, and was mortified to see the results. If spines were graded, mine would probably receive a C-minus. It shimmied back and forth a bit before veering sharply to the right when it reached my pelvis.
"That could mean one of your legs is shorter than the other," my chiropractor murmured. My eyes widened in horror. But that wasn't all.
"Has anyone ever told you that your head sits very far forward?" she asked, pulling up my neck X-ray.
"No," I said.
She drew a line on the X-ray with her computer pointer. "Your head is actually two inches forward of where it should be," she said. That's putting a tremendous amount of pressure on your neck."
Oh, this was bad. Very, very bad. I had come into this office feeling relatively normal. Now, I realized, I actually had a neck like a turtle's and a pair of horribly mismatched legs. Did Christian Louboutin make orthopedic platforms? I made a mental note to look into it.
Suddenly, my chiropractor offered a glimmer of hope.
"I can fix this," she announced. Within minutes, I was lying down on a padded table, about to be manipulated.
If you've never been to a chiropractor, this part is tough to explain. Basically, you're twisted into various pretzel-like positions, at which point the chiropractor attempts to quickly and deftly break your back. That's what it felt like, anyway. I can't say it hurt much, because she was so quick, but once or twice, shrieks emerged from my throat, entirely without my permission.
"That's nothing," my chiropractor chuckled. "Some people come in and you wouldn't believe what comes out of their mouths. They're all, 'I'm so sorry. I don't know what got into me.' "
Within minutes, she was done, and I was told I could get up. I fully expected to stand and, like a newborn deer, crumple to the ground. Or perhaps I would find myself paralyzed from the waist down. Remarkably, I felt fine. I went back later that week for another manipulation, and a few days later I realized that the pains that had been plaguing me on my right side had all but disappeared. Even better, my chiropractor checked and determined my legs were in fact the same length. What a relief.
I'm totally self-conscious now about my head, though, which I imagine looks like a periscope jutting out from my neck. I'm trying to reverse the damage by sitting up very straight and pressing my chin deep into my neck. The fact that I look like I'm doing a bad Stan Laurel impression isn't doing me any favors with the the playground mommies, but don't hate, ladies.
I'm chiropractically perfect.
Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.com.
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