This is me running at 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Well, it’s me taking a breather because I was 39 weeks pregnant. Running. In June. The bump was large and in charge.
That’s the last time I ran during pregnancy. My adorable son was born a week later and my life became twice as wonderful.
It also became twice as hectic. And exhausting. After a week, I was itching to run again. Running is my chance to destress, my therapy. But more than that, it’s just something I love to do. I love running far and running fast (though I can’t do both at once and I couldn’t do either the last few weeks with my baby bump). Many times my daughter joins me in the jogging stroller and we have a great time together.
The first six weeks after my son’s birth went quickly as I got to know my little man and adjusted to life with two children under two. I had no desire to rush those weeks and soaked up that sweet time, but I can’t say I wasn’t looking forward to my return to running. I was so tempted to sneak one in to relieve some stress and feel that head clearing rush. But I waited for the green light, though somewhat impatiently.
The green light came last Wednesday when my OB cleared me to get back out there, but slowly because my body had been away from it for seven weeks. If you recall, Wednesday was a hot and sunny 90-degree day. I didn’t care; I laced up my Mizunos and went anyway. My first postpartum run.
At 6:30 in the evening the sun wasn’t as high in the sky, but it was still hot. The shade and occasional breeze were welcome. I ran slower than before I was pregnant. I took walk breaks. I covered less than three miles. Still, I felt unstoppable. My joy outran all the snags.
I have a long way to go before I reach the paces and distances I ran before I became a mom, but I look forward to the challenge. It’s something that keeps me sane and happy, that keeps me Jesse and not just Mommie. (But please know that I still think Mommie is one of the best things to be!)
I feel like a better person after I run: happier, more energized, more clear-headed. This carries over into the rest of my life. There is a noticeable difference when I come home tired and sweaty, but pumped up and ready to be silly with my family.
I suppose my point in all this, aside from the runner’s high I’m still riding, is that all moms need something that keeps us us. It’s doesn’t have to be running. It can be knitting, reading, yoga, baking, playing an instrument, whatever. How many minutes you give yourself every day or how much time each week can vary; I’m still figuring it out myself.
We all love our children. We all want to spend time with them and be there for them. Maybe we even feel guilty for admitting when we want some time to chase our own dreams. But we shouldn’t. It’s important to keep our identities intact and our passions alive. So go for a run or take a paint class. Follow your bliss and watch that bliss spread into the rest of your life.