A few weeks ago I needed a bit of a confidence boost, so I posted a photo of myself with the following caption on my social media accounts:
Just finished my first 5k post-baby – and it was haaaaaard! I stopped running a year ago because of significant morning sickness; I left work at 34 weeks pregnant because I couldn’t breathe. My body is unfamiliar, but I’m finding my feet again and it feels fantastic. But every step is a challenge.
I stand by these words. My journey to motherhood challenged my body – I started my pregnancy running 5 kilometers several times a week. But once the morning sickness showed up, running was over. And I hated giving up my favourite stress reliever.
So here I was after a stationary year – babe in arms – feeling like a soft mess of a new mom. I had no idea how my first run would go, but I was terrified that I would collapse in a heap, unable to breathe because of my forever squashed lungs. Seriously… sometimes I can be so dramatic.
Our bodies are truly amazing. And I really shouldn’t have worried so much.
I had been given the go-ahead to exercise at 6 weeks, but waited several more before I felt confident enough to test out my legs. So, at two and a half months postpartum, I laced up my sneakers and left the baby with her Dad for my first run.
I ran for… 20 minutes? Two and a half kilometers maybe? The distance and time really didn’t matter – it was the fact that I actually RAN that counted. My legs moved under me with ease, my heart beating just slightly faster as I maintained a gentle pace. My greatest concern, my lungs, seemed to keep up – or at least they were no worse off than any other time that I’d started a new running routine after a months of rest.
There was hope!
I ran a couple times a week for about a month, earning a little more confidence with each stride. And at 3 months postpartum I decided that I needed to run a 5k; I needed to give my body a chance to impress me.
As I mentioned, the 5k was HARD. Each stride was one of accomplishment, rather than one of enjoyment. But I achieved my goal; I ran that five kilometer race against myself – and I won. My body was OK. My confidence was being rebuilt.
I tell this story as I do because I know it’s how most women feel postpartum. Our bodies are unfamiliar and need to be tested. Confidence is built; endurance is tested. Our babies aren’t the only ones finding their place in this world – we’re searching for our place because we’ve changed.
If your a new mom seeking motivation, please don’t let your exercise fears hold you back! Get out there – take it easy – and know that every single Mom has been in your place. Your body is truly amazing, so give it a chance.
And if you need a little boost, post something about your experience on social media. Honestly, I can’t believe the positive response that I received from friends and family . It warmed my heart; I feel like I have a whole team cheering me on.