|Black is very forgiving|
In the first week I didn't run I really beat myself up over being lazy and not sticking with it. Ridiculous really, my end goal of this pregnancy was always to get to full term fit, healthy and with a vague recollection of what my toes looked like. Being able to run again a few months after the birth with two functioning feet and a healthy core and pelvic floor would be a mark of this. Forcing my body into carrying on running when every muscle and fibre was hurting was not wise, but I still tried a few times. I did feel pressure to be the mum that could carry on running till her due date. But us mums need to be realistic. I have been so lucky to have come out of having two children and be able to run well again. Its NOT easy, you want those abs back, you want to have control of your bodily functions , but man alive do you have to work hard. Losing the baby weight, for me, is the easy bit, its getting the muscles and legs back working again which takes time and patience. No one tells you that or is interested in that though. As long as you are back in your jeans that is all that matters in our society, but that is so just half the story.
The 'Kate' effect has done us Mums no favours..having just packed my hospital bag with my stretchiest tracksuit bottoms, comfiest nursing t shirt, biggest pants and flip flops ready for my 'going home' outfit, knowing no one will give the slightest notice of what I am wearing, no one will care, all anyone will be interested in will be that the baby and I are healthy and safely at home. The pressure that poor girl must have been under to make a glamorous appearance hours after giving birth makes me mad. I wish, wish she had appeared in her slack pants, then I know we would have been friends for life. So the last few weeks I have been asking myself why should I feel guilty for feeling too sore, too heavy, too tired to run when I am just about to give birth? I do though and that is just the madness of the world and the pressure on women right now. We applaud those who win races 3 months post birth, who ping back into shape, who go straight back to work. Just like everything portrayed in social media nowadays no one looks at what is going on behind scenes, just at the glossy images and text that are thrown our way and projected as the 'ideal.' Take a look a little closer and I wonder if Kate cried the minute she got home or the 'mum' who is back running straight away really knows the damage she could be doing to her body?
|Being dropped by the kids|
Heres my technical advice - running and exercise will make you feel better and keep you clinging on to that last scrap of fitness and muscle tone, but it will hurt, you will heavy breathe, you will pee yourself, people will make comments. It wont however stop you getting fat arms, fat legs, a fat bum. There is nothing you can do about that. There is no point fighting nature. It is the only time in life when we really can't do anything about the 'experience' apart from to sit back and enjoy the ride! I am only wishing now I had slightly sat back a little more and given myself a bit more slack for being 'pregnant' not just 'fat and unfit.'
Though I paint rather a gloomy picture of my past 9 months I can guarantee by keeping active it will mean coming back to fitness and strength post baby is easier (in my experience). I am not sure about making the labour any quicker, I am perhaps not the pin up girl of giving birth, neither so far have been my finest hour! But I know the trauma of childbirth and the consequent few days have been greatly helped by my ability to cope with pain, my endurance and determination to get up and moving again and the amazing gift from nature that you forget all the pain and swearing and are willing to do it all again!
So the last few weeks, instead of worrying about my current size or pace I have concentrated on what I can control. Feeding my body well, resting (ha ha!!), enjoying my time with just 2 children, trying to embrace slowing down rather than fighting my way through it (as is my way in most things in life!) , watching my runners and triathletes come into some great shape ready for lots of upcoming races and generally just letting everything 'loosen' up. I know the road back to where I was and beyond will be hard, but I have a great support network in my husband and Team CR. Both I know will be pushing me out the door, but also holding my hand should the journey back prove a little steep and rocky,
So thats my story of this pregnancy; I have run longer than in the previous two, did I enjoy it? Not really, but I hope that by stopping before I have done myself any long term damage I will be good to get back in a bit of shape this year. Has it been hard? Yes, incredibly. More fatigue, more aches, epic sickness, but never ever have I regretted my decision to both keep running and have a third baby. I cannot wait to be a family of 5. I cannot wait to see my children continue to grow, get stronger and develop their love for the outside and running. I cannot wait to get back into my yellow t shirt and smash up those trails with my buddies. I am very very lucky I know that, cankles and all.