The first 8-10 months after having Abel were the most intense of my whole life. He had a few small medical problems that lead to trouble breastfeeding and eating, and I had a whopping case of postpartum depression and anxiety. Around April 2014, Abel was 11 months old, I was finally off lactation medication and I was pumping less, I was feeling clearer, and I was ready for some fresh air. When my friend Erin invited me to Stroller Strong Moms, I practically jumped on it. I had no idea such a thing existed!
I showed up at class the next morning and promptly fell on my face. Yes, literally fell on my face. I was running a relay with weights and my old new balances from college with the soles peeling off, and right there in front of God and 20 moms I’d never met, I got a good bit of gravel on my chin, nose, and forehead. Oh, geez, what could I do except come back the next day?
That first year was hard work, but I loved being outside, bringing Abel with me, and finally finding a way to be active that didn’t depend on my athletic ability. All through school, if given the choice, I chose music, art, or theatre, and I wasn’t good at most organized sports. I swam all through middle school and hated the competitive pressure of swim meets. I’m laughing – I hated the pressure of a middle school swim meet! So clearly, competition wasn’t my thing. I never found a sport that allowed me to compete against myself, and I’m not sure I knew that existed. Stroller Strong Moms introduced me to cross training and running – two sports that allow for infinite personal improvement that can be measured easily! The potential to improve myself made me excited and totally got me hooked. When you start on your face, there are so many rungs to climb! By the time my first year with Stroller Strong Moms ended, I’d gone from walking and modifying to running and loving it, and I trained for and ran a ½ marathon with my two Stroller Mom besties. I am grateful to have discovered a way to stay fit that resonates with me in a sport-centric culture, and I hope I can give my kids a running start if they end up feeling like their mom as they grow up.My second year with Stroller Strong Moms taught me some valuable lessons about understanding your body and listening to the way it works. I found out my endocrine system had a couple hiccups, and the change I felt in my body after getting treatment was huge. I finally started losing weight I’d gained during pregnancy, and while I would usually not mention weight because we all know that’s not everything, there is a noticeable change in your ability when you lose weight. From pushups to run time, it changes your body, and it matters. It’s also one more way to measure personal progress, and just like shaving time off your 5K, it’s a boost! I am thankful to Stroller Strong Moms for shifting my dialog about weight to focus on fitness, what my body can accomplish, and health instead of number sizes, cultural ideals and attractiveness.
I’ve just begun my third summer with Stroller Strong Moms, and the theme of this year is our village. The camaraderie and friendship found within our village is essential and the very core of Stroller Strong Moms. There is no judgment here. There’s no exclusiveness to being a mother taking care of herself and her family – that’s all of us. If we’re all experiencing the same basic things, there’s no reason why we can’t do it together. In fact, we have more success together – more encouragement, support, and understanding – no matter the differences in the details. My love for our village is only compounded by my gratefulness for what it has taught me about myself, my body, and my role as a mother in this community. I never want to stop growing & participating in this kind of village – S.L.A.M for life!