My poor, lazy legs are so tired of carrying around all this extra weight. They don’t want to squat down, pick up the toy and stand back up again, hoisting this growing baby and my top half back into the standing position. Those lazy legs try to trick my back into doing all the hard work.

“Bending over is easier than squatting down,” they casually lie, hoping I won’t notice.

I fall for the trick.

This heavy tummy practically throws me on the ground as I lean forward. Reaching for the toy over my swollen, ripe belly is a waste. I’m stuck down here, lunging for the toy, my awkward body folded in half. The baby is squished, I can’t breathe and the big lego is out of my reach.

With my hinney in the air, I silently pray, “Thank you Jesus that I am alone right now.”

My stretched-out back muscles struggle to return this off-centered body back into an upright position. When you’re almost six foot tall, bending over just doesn’t work at 30+ weeks. Do shorter women have this same trouble? I can’t say.

For me, it’s much better if I slowly, gently squat down to the ground instead of leaning over.

Why do I forget this a dozen times a day? So, I tell myself my third trimester mantra: Squat, don’t bend. Squat, don’t bend.

With great effort from those stubborn, lazy legs (that used to run 800s in the spring and 5Ks on Saturday mornings in the fall) slowly lower us to the ground, I grab the toy and then they lift us upright once again — toy in hand — victorious!

Then, the lazy legs are done with their work. But not my poor, poor back. She still has to keep this top-heavy body upright and balanced for a few more hours of this day. Miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.

If only I can remember, squat – don’t bend!

When I am good, I remember. By noon, she thanks me. My hard-working, 33-week back says, “Keep this up and I can almost make it through the day without that heating pad.”

Then, those lazy legs chime in.

“Not us,” they whine, not about the squatting, but the poor circulation, swelling and my dear Diederich genetics.

“We won’t make it past noon! Sit down, rest, elevate. We ache. How about a 10 AM Tylenol for the pain?”

So, we go through the day slowly, with great effort, and much heavy-breathing from the constricted lung space. Counting down the weeks. Counting down the days – looking always forward to a healthy delivery date, when almost magically, everything returns to normal.

The swelling in the ankles and around the eyes, goes away. The circulation returns to normal. The legs don’t mind standing to wash the dishes. The back can bend to switch the laundry and retrieve strewn toys. The swollen belly shrinks back down (although more slowly than we women would like) and the wedding ring slides back on the finger.

Until then: squat, don’t bend.