Saturday, May 18, 2013

the postpartum body and exercise

Photo by sashamd on flickr

In my mind, this is what it looked like:
My feet pounding the pavement, the wind rushing by me, running as fast as I could possibly go.
Strong.  Free.  Fast.
In reality, this is what it looked like:
My knees horribly aware of the hard pavement, the wind traded in for humidity, bumbling along with a postpartum waddle.
Weak.  Tight.  Slow.
It's amazing what your forget during the whole pregnancy/labor/postpartum period.
The tiredness.  The pain.  The recovery.

Did it feel this way last time?  I found myself -- and find myself -- asking.
But that's really unfair, isn't it?
It doesn't feel like "last time" because it isn't "last time."
It's this time.

I'm two years older.
Elliott's in a more demanding job, which means my job is more demanding.
And, oh yeah, I've already got another kid this time -- one that doesn't sleep through most of the day.

But it's still a difficult reality to swallow.  The weight's coming off slower, my stamina is down, and my body aches in ways I didn't know possible.  It's discouraging, to say the least.  Maybe more like disheartening (which I know is just a synonym, but it seems to fit my mood more aptly, okay?).

Yet when I feel the poisoning whispers enter into my head -- the whispers of, "You can't!  You're weak!  Just give up!"  I fight back.

I am made in the image of God.
I am healthy.
I am strong.
I will overcome.
Image. Of. God.

Because you know what?  It's no small matter that I am able to run -- to use my legs and body in a functioning way.  Not everyone has this privilege and it's one that can be taken away from any one of us in an instant.  

So I choose to accept my postpartum body as is -- weak joints, soft belly, slow run, and all.  I am thankful that I am healthy and strong.  I am thankful that I am made in the image of God, and I choose to use my workouts as a time to rejoice rather than despair.



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