Guest Post: Before And After

** This guest post was written by my sweet friend, Mindy.  You can read a little more about her HERE.**

Before I became pregnant with my first child, I was a bit of a fitness nut. I don’t mean to imply I was the fittest woman around (far from it!), just that I was a bit nutty about keeping my runs and workouts near the tippy-top of my priority list. I ran four to five times a week, along with a few days of strength training and yoga, and I ran at least five or six road races a year, anywhere from a 5k to a marathon.  At 34, I was in the grooviest part of my fitness groove.

Before I became pregnant with my first child, I had an idealistic vision of how pregnancy would go for me and my active, staying-fit life. I would basically be my usual self but with a baby in my belly. No other difference at all. I would be strong and active. I would fight urges to slack off just because I had a whole tiny human growing inside of me. And if I felt any of that little thing they call morning sickness, I would sweat it out like I sometimes did for an annoying cold. I’d just get up and move and I’d feel better. Duh. Why didn’t every pregnant woman approach it like this? I also assumed this: Surely the physical and emotional side effects of pregnancy can’t be THAT bad. Dramatic much, All Pregnant Women Before Me?  It’s mind over matter, ladies!

After I became pregnant with my first child: Here is where my present self laughs derisively in the face of my pre-first-time-pregnant self. You silly little thing. You thought you just kneeeeew it all, didn’t you? See, being pregnant didn’t go AT ALL how I planned, fitnessly speaking. To my surprise, I was WIPED OUT. I was totally taken over, like a sleep-walking, nauseous alien had usurped my body. There was no sweating this out. Noooo, sir. I not only felt like I couldn’t get up and run, but I didn’t want to. The horror! “What’s WRONG with me?” I often cried out. I knew I was pregnant, of course, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I might feel this dramatically affected by two cells coming together to hang out in my uterus.

After I became pregnant with my first child and I passed into my second and third trimester of pregnancy, some energy was restored, but I still felt inhabited by an alien, being poked and probed by little limbs inside my huge expanding belly, and being forced to slow…way…down. Gone were the days of running for hours, running speed workouts, running races for PRs (personal records). Pregnant were the days of walking/waddling two miles a day or climbing the stair master on level 2 for exercise. I was doing my best as a pregnant lady, pushing only as hard as I knew I could/should. But driving down the road, as I gazed out the car window,  I was like a puppy, panting and whimpering as I watched other runners get their miles out there.

Before Megan was born, as she grew in my belly, I was downright panicked about being out of fitness. I was scared of the unknown. How hard will it be to get it back? Will I be able to get it back? Will I have time? Will my body ever be able to perform the same? Can I be a mom and a runner? And be acceptably good at both? These questions ran on a treadmill in my mind. I took encouragement from all the moms I knew who were already doing it (seamlessly and exceptionally), and decided I would too. Somehow.

After Megan was born (via c-section, weighing 9 lbs, 9 oz), I was so madly in love with this new little person, I didn’t care if I ever ran again. At one point, I held our newborn miracle in my arms and I whispered to the cosmos, “I’d give up my running legs for her.” I totally meant it. Mama Love swiftly and furiously took over my heart, and it put into perspective the new meaning of my life. Of course, new baby meant new levels of giving of myself and my time, for which I was prepared and willing. However, it also brought to light a whole new importance for running and fitness: Taking Care of Mama. See…

Before Megan was in my life, running was an activity, a hobby, a pursuit of strength and self-competition.

After Megan entered my life, running became a necessity, a place of restoration and self-preservation, a touchstone to sanity!

Before, I could get up and run whenever I wanted to. Early in the morning, during my lunch hour, after work in Central Park, late at night at the gym, etc.

After/Now, well, it takes a little more planning and creativity to get my miles. I have to run before Megan gets up and before my husband leaves for work. Or I have to watch the weather and make sure it’s going to be suitable for a run with the jogger. I have to get clever with my pockets of time. I have to accept a 30-minute run when I’m jonesing for an hour. I have to be efficient with my workouts.

Having a baby wasn’t the end of personal fitness like I might have feared but a new era of personal fitness. I often run with Megan on my mind. I run for her. I want to set an example for her. I want her to love taking care of herself as much as I do.

Now that we’re expecting baby number two, I am, once again, lamenting the loss of non-pregnant fitness that I’m used to, but the difference is, I know what’s on the other side, and I know I’ll be back. That’s my mantra when I’m feeling frustrated about not getting a run or not feeling fit. I’ll be back! I’llbeback.I’llbeback.I’llbeback. But not in the Terminator voice. Please, that would ruin the mantra.

** This guest post was written by my sweet friend, Mindy.  You can read a little more about her HERE.**

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  1. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your amazing blog, Kelly! Love you!!!

  2. I love you Mindy!

  3. She doesn’t know it now, but she will be very thankful her mother is living a healthy lifestyle and setting such a great example :))

  4. What a great piece written by Mindy. All of the pictures of her and Megan look adorable.

  5. Thanks for sharing! Before my twin girls were born a year ago, I was an avid runner myself. Now, i’m struggling to fit the exercise in. Great writing. You are inpsiring!

    • Thank you! Wow, twins! I can only imagine how challenging it is to fit running into the loving work of a mommy of twins. As they get older, I hope it gets easier to fit running back into your schedule. It makes us better mommies when we can take time and take care of ourselves, even if it’s just a 3-miler!

  6. You are a great role model. I believe loving oneself is the first step toward maturity.

  7. Very motivating to read! I’m interested to know how your fitness program will be with two littlies! Time gets even more sparse….sigh

    • Thank you! I’m interested to know the same thing! :-) Mommyhood seems to be a learn-as-you-go job. We’ll figure it out, though, and have a good time doing it. I wonder if there’s some sort of mommy-run exchange out there, where runner mommies exchange with each other running time for child-watching time. Hmmm….

  8. Good luck running, post-baby #2. I am expecting #2 also (in January) and have already promised myself new running shoes in the spring to help get me back in the groove. After my first baby, I did get back into running, but it was not to the same level. I pushed my little man in a jogging stroller more times than not and never ran as far/fast, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. No expectations for running with two little ones, other than to feel good! Take care… thanks for sharing.

    • Ooh, new running swag is a great motivator! Running post-baby #2 will be an adventure. I’m sure it will require twice the planning, twice the organization, twice the creative scheduling, twice the everything! But getting out there to run will be twice as necessary too, I think. Looks like we’ll be on the same road-back-to-running. We can do it! Congrats on baby #2 and good luck!

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