For a year now I have been watching a trend emerging from outdoor and adventure media sources, and that is stories that focus on women doing extraordinary things while they are pregnant. I found myself starting to get tired of it, and wanted to pinpoint why.
I know as well as any new mama how it feels when that-friend-who-started-trail-running-a-month-after-delivering-a-baby posts a photo of her latest baby-free jaunt through the woods. I’ll admit I still feel those pangs of jealousy as I think back to my own first month postpartum, to my post-baby body. I still feel them now. On the surface some women make it seem like they just plopped a baby out and then it’s business as usual. (Is this actually ever the case!?) Physically speaking, it seems they heal quickly and their bodies are good to them.
This just wasn’t, isn’t, the case for me. And I discovered that comparing myself to others really is futile because I don’t want others to compare themselves to me. I know that I post a lot of photos of me doing active, outdoorsy things, so I wanted to set the record straight. Since May, I have only been doing those things when I feel good enough to do them. Otherwise, I’ve been coping with health issues that have come as a major surprise to me.
A surprise and a major wake-up call.
There are things I just couldn’t have anticipated in becoming a new parent, or that no one told me could have an impact on my ability to take my baby on little adventures outdoors (let alone clean my kitchen, cut my toenails or get work contracts done).
Once I was through the first week of bliss with my daughter, the realities of my new body sunk in. I had spent a number of days in bed recovering from the birth, and otherwise didn’t venture out of the house until about Day 6. On that day, I walked about a block before pain turned me back. Though I was able to walk farther and faster as each day passed, I was discouraged by my reflection in the mirror and my inability to really move. My daughter brought me so much joy, but I felt that my body had betrayed me. I longed to run, to feel my heart pumping, to feel sweat on my back, and my feet hitting the pavement. I longed to feel lightness again. Instead I felt heavy, swollen and slow.
My discouragement went on for the first month until, funny as it sounds, I remembered I had just had a baby.