As I sit here eating peanut butter swirl ice cream out of the container, I have a moment to pontificate on some of the more difficult aspects of post-baby life. For me, one of the most difficult parts of post-baby life has been not being the same physically as I was pre-baby. That’s not getting down on myself for not being back to pre-baby size (minus the occasional ice cream-binge eating, I am pretty much back to normal), it’s just that my body isn’t able to do the same things it was able to do pre-baby. The biggest physical challenge, for me, has been getting back into running shape. The week I found out I was pregnant with Ben, I ran about 30 miles without a problem. Now, I struggle to make sure I get in a good 10-15. It’s SO frustrating for me to not be able to run as fast as I used to. Logically, I know I took a long time off of running (next pregnancy I’ll be WAY better about this) and that there is no way I can be back in that wicked of shape in the time frame I have in my head. Even though I intellectually understand that I’m not going to be at my best, I still feel like I should be. Because of this, a part of me doesn’t like to run with other people because I’m embarrassed about how slow I am these days and that they’ll judge me. Yes, yes, yes. I know. My friends tell me all of the time that it doesn’t matter and that I had a baby. I know this. Intellectually. But, I am a little more than slightly competitive and it’s hard for me to admit when I am not where I want to be physically. It’s just hard.
The easy solution to all of this would be to run more. However, the strangest thing occurred when I had Ben. I wanted to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with him. Before I had Ben, I thought that when my six weeks of recovery were over, I would be able to hop right back in to assisting with the Cross Country Team. I thought I could leave Ben at daycare well into the evening even when he was a little baby while I was out getting my rockin’ body back. No way. Couldn’t do it and still have a hard time doing it. The truth is, no one could have prepared me for the love I feel for Ben. Growing up, I was never the girl who played with dolls or baby sat. The first diaper I ever changed was Ben’s. But, on August 8, 2011, I felt like the Grinch and my heart grew three sizes when I saw him. I love running and feeling good and strong. Loving myself is nothing like the love I feel for those chubby cheeks, those fingers sticky and slimy from mangled puffs, and those smiling blue eyes. Running will always be there, but watching Ben figure out how to clap his hands, how to say “Daddy”, and frustratingly how to crawl…backwards, that won’t always be there. That is one lesson that I have really learned since Ben. My mom and others have always said that no one can prepare you for how much you love your kids. I have really and truly learned that they are soooo right.