To All the Mothers that Run
Choosing to be a mother is one of the most selfless acts a person can do. From the moment a child begins to grow in the womb, a mother completely changes. The miracle that occurs as your body changes to support another human being is both wonderful and overwhelming. Pain, joy, tears, and smiles. It’s a physical and emotional rollercoaster.
Mothers who are runners must make many decisions about their children and their running routines. Can I run while I’m pregnant? When can I start running again after my child is born? Is it okay for me to leave my child at the day care while I run? When can I take my kids running with me?
Stephanie Bruce, one of today’s elite female runners, is also a mother of two. She has experienced a professional running career both before and after childbirth. On today’s episode of the Running for Real podcast, she shared her thoughts on balancing a running career with motherhood. Listen or read along to learn more about what it means to be a runner and a mother.
Especially during the first few months of your newborn’s life, you are likely to experience “Mom Guilt.” Mom guilt is the feeling you get anytime you step away from your baby to do something that may seem selfish. Whether it’s getting a pedicure, or having an extended workout session, mom guilt is lurking close by.
“Doing the things that might appear selfish on paper are so important for you to be a better mom and a better wife,” says Steph. Each month she gets together with a group of friends to have a “Bad Moms’ Night Out” just to have time to check in with people and talk about motherhood.
It’s important to remember that when you take care of yourself and your needs, you perform better as a mother. And that doesn’t just mean physically. Taking care of your social and emotional needs are just as important. When you spend time on yourself, the time you spend with your children will be more intentional and loving.
An Acceptable Recovery Period
The most important thought you can have as a newborn mother is that your situation is unique. It’s important to avoid comparing yourself to other runners that aren’t mothers, and it’s equally important not to compare yourself to other mothers. That being said, here are a few things you can expect as you begin to run after giving birth.
6 Weeks Postpartum. You just had your baby, but you may start to feel anxious about getting back out there to run. A good thing to remember at this phase is that you have a lifetime to recover and get back into running, but your baby will only be this old for a short period of time. Try not to miss those beautiful moments.
3-4 Months Postpartum. It’s been a somewhat significant amount of time now. You have probably started running again. Even though you feel like you may be able to get back into a routine at this point, it can be a very difficult period. Babies often have sleep regressions at this time. Avoid dwelling on long-term goals and just focus on one thing at a time. Make one good meal for yourself. Get in one good nap. Have one good run. Baby steps.
6 Months Postpartum. This is a crucial time for you. Your baby can spend longer periods of time on its own or with others. Avoid the comparison trap! You may be able to start training as frequently as you were before your baby, but that doesn’t mean you are the same person.
1 Year Postpartum. A full year. This is a good time for you to reflect on your goals and aspirations while you fully take in what the last year has been for you. Do you still have the same goals? What’s important to you at this stage of your life? If you have the same goals, what are you now willing to sacrifice to accomplish them?
Even after a year, your body may not feel the same as before. Be patient. Dig deep. You can find the grit you need to be what you want.
Being a mother and a runner takes serious grit. There needs to be something that powers you, something that lets you accomplish the daily tasks and pushes you to go even further. Grit is that something. “The whole idea of grit [is that] we can all find our own grit in our lives,” says Stephanie, “Maybe it’s running, maybe it’s a death in the family, maybe it’s getting through a divorce, or getting through depression. Whatever it is, if we can have a word or a meaning to take hold of, I think it can help us get through the very dark times in our lives.”
As you balance your life between motherhood, running, and whatever else it is that you do, look for something that can be your personal grit. Take a hold of it and repeat it to yourself whenever times get tough. You CAN make it through all the tough miles in life.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:
Thank you to Bodyhealth and my book, Overcoming Amenorrhea: Get Your Period Back. Get Your Life Back for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.
Now I am back to training, guess what was the first thing I did to start making sure I recover quicker (as coming back to fitness really beats your body up!), yep, you guessed it, BodyHealth Perfect Amino! Get 10% off at Bodyhealth.com using coupon code TINA10
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My second sponsor is ME! My book,
Overcoming Amenorrhea: Get Your Period Back. Get Your Life Back.
It’s coming out on January 21st 2019 and available for pre-order on January 1st 2019. I can remind you when it is available if you sign up here Running4Real Newsletter. Thank you SO much for all of the support my friends!!
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Thank you to Steph, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.