When I first found out I was pregnant with my son Carter I was ready to give into
any craving I had and willingly give up exercise. Until I found out that you don’t
really have to do either of those things. When my doctor told me it was okay to
continue doing any form of exercise you had been doing previously it was almost
upsetting. I really wanted to give myself a “guilt free” break from my workout
regime essentially. If the doc told me I had to stop running my mind wouldn’t tell
me otherwise, but that was not the case. So I continued running 5-6 days a week
and when my tummy started to grow we purchased an elliptical as I thought this
would be more comfortable. I was happy with that. I would do a combination of
walking on an incline and elliptical workouts for 8 months and I was proud of
myself for sticking it out. Now the cravings, to be honest I don’t think I ever once
had a legitimate “pregnancy induced craving” I know that whenever I thought I
needed something deep-fried or an extra piece of dessert it was just my mind
speaking not my stomach, and it begun to show on the scale at my weekly
doctors appointments. My OB never said that I was gaining too much or that I
should be careful so my weight gain was not a concern to her but to me it was
alarming. When I became pregnant I was probably hovering around 135-140
pounds. Average weight for 5’6” female. Nearing the end of my pregnancy I was
a donut away from 200 pounds. I tried not to think too much of it as I had
achieved something my mother and her mother never would have because I
worked out for the majority of my pregnancy. I also had my own mom, who I love
dearly :), telling me that I was eating for two and I needed to keep her grandson
healthy in there. I kept consuming guilt free with that little “eating for two” voice
convincing me that it was okay to eat larger portions and indulge in desert on the
regular. Our family ended up being blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy
weighing 8 pounds 9oz. From what I can remember I lost about 20 pounds or so
by the time we arrived home two days later. 20 down 20 to go. I gave myself the
6 weeks off waiting to get the OK from my doctor at the postpartum checkup
which was a success. When I stepped back on the treadmill it was awful, my
joints in the knees and hips hurt and I was not able to run for more than 5
minutes without being winded. I had and still have serious bladder issues and
with each step I felt like I was going to wet myself I found it very distracting and
difficult to focus on my run. I couldn’t believe my body gave up on my so quickly,
it was only approximately 2 months since my last workout. I kept at it, baby steps.
I would run 5 minutes on and walk 5. I eventually built up to running 10 minutes
and so on. Was it the progress I made each time that kept me going, or was it my
internal drive to be better than the last? I think it was a combination of both and
without reflecting on it as I am now I would have never been able to point out
these details but as I write I see how much my success as an athlete comes from
within. Outside sources are available, and they make great tools but I have
realized I am the only one responsible for my success. I cannot remember
exactly when I got back to where I was fitness wise pre pregnancy, but I believe it
was around 8 or 9 months after Carter was born. The process definitely felt like a
struggle but, I knew I had to respect my body. I would try to remind myself that I

had just created life and that requires some recovery physically and mentally.
I breastfed Carter for 11 months and I wouldn’t change a thing, I loved
breastfeeding and it made me proud, even though I can honestly say it was the
most difficult thing I have ever learned how to do in my life. For some people
breastfeeding comes easily, for me it did not and this made running physically
and mentally more difficult. The runs though tricky at times were still giving me
something back. Running was keeping me sane, running was keeping my stress
levels low, and running was still an important part of my identity.