Before the baby you used to…
- Run and workout for sometimes hours.
- Have a positive and healthy body self-image.
- Have energy like a superhero.
- Be fearless.
- Plan when and where you’d be racing throughout the year.
Now that the baby is here you no longer…
- Run or workout at all.
- See your body in a positive light.
- Have an ounce of energy left.
- Are Fearless.
- Plan when and where you will be racing, because you don’t race anymore.
What happens to many new moms – their bodies change after childbirth in ways they didn’t really know or imagine they could. Their hormones are all over the place and they don’t know why. They at times become unsure of themselves about any number of things, when before giving birth they were steadfast in their beliefs and confident in who they were as women. They don’t feel like their ol’ pre-pregnancy self anymore and it is bothering them to no end, but are not quite sure how to get out of this emotional and physical quagmire. So, understand, while this may not be what you thought this motherhood deal was going to be like, you have not turned into some sort of mutant-mom-zombie-alien being overnight; even though at times you may feel that way.
Baby jogger to the rescue
Now, remember you used to be a runner before the baby. And while you may not feel much like an athlete at this particular juncture, I promise you the best thing to kick-start your running again is to get a baby jogger and to start using it.
While you may not have the same level of fitness you had before giving birth, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You’re body has been through a lot recently (an understatement, if ever there was one), and so you can’t just expect to be back to your normal running pace or weekly mileage all of a sudden. It’s going to take time, so use the baby jogger to get you there. Start ramping up your running slowly (and don’t you dare feel pathetic or ashamed at how “slow” you have become or if you have gained weight!).
Get outside with your little one and take in the fresh air while getting a run in the process. Your body will remember how to run again, just give it time. Plus, you’ll start seeing the world through your child’s eyes, which is always a wonder to behold, trust me.
When I started running with my son years ago (a link to that story is at the end of this post), when he was a baby, we started having a routine he loved deeply. He enjoyed waking up early and getting into the baby jogger for our morning run. He smiled as the sun kissed his face and laughed while the wind whipped through his few strands of hair (he was a pretty bald infant). He would nap on long runs and always wanted to stop and see the horses at a stable we’d run by often. He would point out birds or planes in the air and be a bit cautious when dogs would come by. It will be a time I will never forget and will always treasure.
Getting back in a rhythm
Don’t worry so much about getting back into your former running shape right away. First, get back into your running rhythm, now with a new cool partner to push! And while it will be physically more challenging to push your child and learn how to run with one arm on the stroller and the other swinging away, the benefits both physically and mentally are well worth it. After a while, you won’t even know how to run without pushing the baby jogger; and when you do get the odd chance to run without pushing your baby, you may be surprised what sort of pace you will be running.
And while you are going through this new transition from womanhood to motherhood, don’t forget about the runner you were, who you loved, before the baby. She’s still in there. And while I believe you can get back to your former running glory, I think what’s truly important is that you allow this wonderful new little person in your life to share in something, which you do not love as dearly as this “precious cargo”, but which is still a very big part of you.
You are a mom – be proud of that! We all love our moms; and we all want our moms to be happy…and if running makes you happy, then get back out there on the roads, just now with the cutest side-kick there ever was, and enjoy this new journey you are now a part of, one stride at a time.
Author’s Note: While I’m not a woman, obviously, here’s my experience on how the baby jogger got me back on track with my running and so much more.