Never in my life have I felt simultaneously so weak and so strong as I do now that I’m a mom. My body, which was once the body of a gymnast, a cheerleader, a dancer, an athlete seemed to melt into jelly when I had my son. Three-pound weights were too heavy for arms that used to throw teenage girls up in the air during football games. Legs that used to balance on a beam were too weak to hold tree pose in yoga class without toppling. At the same time, I carried another human being for 10 months – don’t let anyone tell you pregnancy only lasts nine. I labored for 37 hours without pain medication, spending the majority of that time on my legs, walking, squatting, and bracing my body against the pain. After it was over, I could hold my son for hours but I could barely walk to the bathroom. I was never stronger and I was never weaker.
Society seems to be under the impression that six weeks is all women need to recuperate from childbirth. At six weeks, we should be back to work, exercising, running a household and buttoning our skinny jeans. At six weeks, we should have it all figured out. But, at six weeks, I was just starting to be able to sit without pain. I had begun a slow walking regime but had the energy for little else. It took another six weeks for me to attend an exercise class. I thought I was healed and ready. I was feeling more like myself. Once I started jumping, running, lifting, I realized that “myself” was an entirely different entity. My coordination was no longer intact, my balance was no longer enviable and my strength was laughable. I felt defeated.
Then, I read about FIT4MOM and Stroller Strides – a workout that’s targeted to moms and individualized to particular stages of pregnancy and motherhood, including recovery from childbirth. Stroller Strides trains the muscles moms need every day while allowing them to spend time with their little ones. The program gets new moms out of the house, helps combat postpartum depression and it’s a great way for moms to meet other moms in the same season of life. I was hooked. I wanted to be strong for my son. I didn’t want to be the mom who didn’t leave the house because she could barely lift the car seat.
I decided before attending a class that I wanted to start Stroller Strides in my neighborhood. Then, I attended a class and was blown away by the workout, the community and the encouragement. Stroller Strides moms are strong and supportive of each other and I wanted to be one of them.
So, I started training. I worked out when I was tired. I studied anatomy and physiology. I took a certification class. And, 6 months postpartum, I feel better than I did before I was pregnant. Am I back to my old self? Hell no. Do my skinny jeans fit? Absolutely not. Can I rock a warrior three in yoga class like I used too? Not yet. But I FEEL great. I feel stronger. I can throw my son in the air. I can lift his increasingly heavy car seat. I can play with him on the floor without feeling like an 80-year-old woman when I get up. I credit it all to Stroller Strides and the inspiration it’s provided me.
If you’d like to attend classes, Stroller Strides is opening in the Capitol Hill/Capitol Riverfront/NOMA area starting Saturday, Sunday 19th. For more information, please visit http://www.capitolhill.fit4mom.com/