Category Archives: My Fitness Journey in Motherhood

How my fitness life transformed during pregnancy and after.

Healing, Progress, and Thankfulness…an update on my personal journey (8)

It has been awhile since I have updated my blog about my personal journey with fitness. My son is now 12.5 months old. If you have been following my blog you know that after I had my son I suffered from constant pain in my hips and pelvis. I underwent several doctor visits, months of physical therapy, x-ray and MRI exams, a cortisone shot in my pelvis, and still suffered from pain at 9 months postpartum. It was at this time that I was referred (by a friend) to another physical therapist who specializes in pelvic issues. She was amazing! She read my charts and was able to find the root of a lot of my pains caused by certain injuries during my labor as well as put into practice techniques to ease those pains. We focused on specialized strengthening exercises using biofeedback equipment, along with massage and education on biomechanics to protect my injury as it healed. I found so much relief in one month of being her patient that I wish I had found her earlier. During this time I found out that the root of my problem was more internal than I realized (deep pelvic floor issues/damage) and I needed special help with that. With her guidance I was able to not only find relief and healing from pain, I also was able to very slowly ease back into jogging! That was something I had almost given up on completely.

My “jogging plan” started out with brisk walking (wearing an SI stabilizing belt to help stabilize my hypermobile hips). Then I started jogging for a minute each walk. I have increased that amount VERY slowly…taking as much time as my body needs. My goal is to build up the right muscles to keep good form and biomechanics as I run (as well as strengthen my pelvic muscles to endure the impact). I don’t have any desire for long distance runs, knowing how that would affect my injuries, but I do hope to run a 5k this summer. Right now I am completing 2.5 miles of walking and jogging intervals. I can run 3 minutes at a time before I take a walking break. If I run more than that (right now) certain pains come back that tell me my body is not ready to support that much work yet. I am still learning to be patient and more importantly, put my long term health before my own ego of wanting to be a marathoner again. I simply jog for the health benefits and the way it makes me feel. I love being outside in the morning before everyone wakes up. I only jog a couple times a week. The rest of my week is full of cross training, strength training, yoga, and dynamic workouts. I find the variety in my workouts keeps me from getting bored and helps me to have a well-rounded routine in which I am training all my major body parts. This training routine also strengthens my body for my daily jobs as a mother and trainer as well.

I am also falling more in love with personal training. I love supporting and helping other women reach their physical goals! Having a physical therapist who supported me physically and emotionally, who helped me learn more about my body and how to take care of it, and who helped me reach goals to be able to be a healthy, active mama has been such a joy and blessing in my life. I hope to be that to other women as well!

During this season of my journey as a mom, trainer, and active woman I have learned some key lessons. One, having professionals who take the time to address EVERY concern you have physically and prepare themselves by reading your files is so valuable and important to diagnosing the correct problems as well as finding solutions. It is worth it to look around for such a person instead of settling for anyone with the qualifications on paper. Two, healing (and every physical journey for that matter) takes time. Get ready for the long road…quick fixes rarely help long term. It’s good to find ways to encourage yourself during the long journey. Just like the saying, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” There is a deeper transformation going on in your person during hard times and trials that molds you into the person you become for yourself and others. Embrace this change and don’t fight it. Be real in it (with yourself and others) and be patient with the amount of time it takes to “reach the other side”. Three, listen to your intuition and body. I knew that there was still something wrong with my pelvis after seeing a physical therapist for 6 months. I am familiar with pain and discomfort from being a long distance runner, however, I also recognized there was something not “quite right” about the pain I was still experiencing. I continued to search for answers despite advice I got from several people that pain was “normal” after giving birth. My condition wasn’t normal, and waiting just delayed relief and healing that I needed to get better again. Four, be ok with the new you. When you do “reach the other side” of a trial you won’t be the same person. I am different, even physically after my injuries and giving birth. I am learning to embrace the new me and not even waste time wishing I was who I use to be. Because the reality is, it takes more courage and strength to be where I am now than it did to run my marathons. Five, when things don’t turn out the way you envisioned, look for the new blessings in where you are at. No, I won’t be the buff mama who pushes her kid in a stroller across the finish line of a long race. But there are many other things he and I will do together. I am blessed with a healthy body and I intend to not waste any time before using it to fully enjoy time with my family! Taking walks to the park and being able to stand and swing my son is a HUGE gift I hope I never forget about!

lucas and mom, october 2014

That is the update on my journey. I am in a better place now than I was last time I posted. I am so happy and so thankful for the healing and revelation that has happened in the last six months! I will keep you posted as I continue to strengthen my body and grow as a Strong Mama!

If you are struggling with pain or complications from an injury or labor, feel free to message me! I would love to be a voice of encouragement and sympathy during this trying time!

Seasons (7)

What is it about the end of summer that feels a little sad and at the same time exciting and refreshing as the autumn begins? This entry is very fitting with this time of year because I am learning about changing seasons in my own life as well. I am not just talking about becoming a mom, although that is the biggest change and the central reason for all the other changes in my life right now. I am talking in a more general sense, the change of life activity, my abilities, and ultimately my identity.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I am currently not running due to “injury” from labor with my six-month-old son. I am still in the midst of finding out exactly what my pain is due to. I have had some tests done and am awaiting more follow-up with doctors. In the midst of all the unknowns and waiting, I realized that my main hope was that I would “make it through” this time soon so I could get back to doing what I use to do and being who I use to be. However, as the months were passing and my pain was not decreasing or changing I started get discouraged and very frustrated and this was darkening my joy in life. One recent evening, after a particularly painful week and weekend I was feeling pretty angry. I went out to my beautiful, quiet backyard and sat down in surrender. I engaged with a deeper attitude in my heart. The real thought behind “holding on till something changes”. This thought that was poisoning my joy and peace was, “I will not learn contentment in this situation. I will not be ok with this reality. I will fight until I have what I gave up and I will wait until who I use to be is me again.”
I don’t know where you are spiritually, but in this anticlimactic moment in my simple backyard I met God and His grace and love for me in my situation. It was a small moment, but an important one. I finally told Him EXACTLY how I felt. No fluff, just how it was in that dark, angry heart. I cried a little. Then I just sat silently and prayed in my heart for Him to heal me. Not just heal my physical condition (although that was definitely part of it) but that He would mostly just heal my heart. That He would bring joy, peace, hope to me, in that moment, in that place in my life.
Like I mentioned, I am learning about seasons. I am learning that life is made up of many big and small seasons in our lives. Each season has it’s own unique qualities, some that are hard for us and some that we love easily and enjoy. But in order to embrace our season we have to embrace who we are in that season. For me right now, I am not a runner, I am not super active (like I love to be), I am not physically as strong as I once was. It feels like I am not able to do as much as I use to be able to do. This is what I was getting angry about. But God is showing me the different way to see this season. I am not a runner…I AM a mother. I am not super active and fast…I take my time on my walks and through my moments of my days, I enjoy them more fully now too. I am not as physically strong…but I am spiritually getting stronger, mentally strong (constant pain does that to you), and I am dependent on God. I may not be able to do what I use to do, or be exactly who I use to be but I am becoming a new version of myself. I am learning in this process to let God mold and shape my heart to match this time and be the best me for this season. In all this, I am FINDING joy in new things. I have peace and hope in the new challenges of this time. I also have new confidence and excitement for the new identity that is created here.
One of my favorite “sayings” is in a Psalm in the Bible. Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” …Note, this does not say “I will have” or “I did have”, just “I have”. As I set my heart on what is most important and I open myself up to the new adventure in this new time, I find this saying very true of how I feel about where I am at. This season I am in, this person I am and am becoming is…BEAUTIFUL.

Silently Suffering (6)

My son is now 4 and a half months old. I am running marathons and climbing mountains! Weren’t you at 17 weeks post-partum?! No? Me either! Actually I am far from it. I am not even jogging, not even using the elliptical…5 minutes of pilates makes me cry in pain! Don’t worry, this isn’t the usual for new moms.
I mentioned earlier that I am healing slowly and that my hips are misaligned. It seems my hip and pelvic ligaments like to move and shift causing sharp pain and strain on my leg and core muscles. My abdominals are also slowly growing back together and without their strong support to keep everything more in place my pelvis is not very stable. I have been seeing a physical therapist for 2 and a half months now. I am faithful to do my at-home exercises and stretches (most weeks) and I walk more often than not for exercise. My walking is slow and many times I have to revert back to wearing a belt of sorts that helps support and keep everything in place. About every week I get pulled on, poked with needles, and readjusted. At first I was very optimistic and excited to bounce back. After two set-backs of being back to the same amount of pain, if not more, my optimism wavered a little. The last month has been full of prayers that I would not be in too much pain during the day so I can rock my baby to sleep or that I wouldn’t aggravate something during the day and have to go to bed early and miss opportunity to catch up with my husband.
“It’s only been 4 months!” I kept hearing from well-meaning friends and family. But my mom reacted differently. When I went to stay with her for a couple days, a while ago, she watched silently as I eased myself in and out of chairs, sat down promptly in the evenings to avoid standing too much, and limped in the late night trying to rock my over-tired baby to sleep while wincing in very bad pain. She watched, but trying to be respectful, didn’t say anything for a few days. One morning I was very short and rude with her, as I fought to not cry from pain. Later in the day when we were together she quietly, politely mentioned that maybe I needed to look deeper into why I am in pain. The more we talked the more she expressed she was worried about me. As much as I tried to commit her comment to being an “overreaction that is common with moms” a small thread of new thoughts started to creep into my mind. This woman had been the main drive and motivator behind the discovery of my gluten intolerance. With price no objective, she prodded and pleaded for me to “check things out” and not just suffer with unbearable stomach pains every week. So when she spoke up, I started to listen. I also started to realize maybe there is something more to this. Maybe I am not suppose to be just trying to make it through each day, each week? Often thinking to myself, “maybe when Lucas is 5 months, 6 months I’ll be ‘normal’ again”.
When I went home I started to research myself, as much as I could, what the symptoms I had could be attributed to. You know what I discovered?…Forum after forum of women who were asking the public the same questions I had, “was this normal? Is something more serious going on? Should I be suffering every day?” The thing that shocked me the most was that some of these women had been living this way for more months than me, for years even! Some women had been caring for multiple children, working, trying to be attentive to their houses and husbands in a lot of pain! Day in and day out for a long time, they were “getting through” each activity that made them wince and think, “oh no, tonight will be a bad night”.
I felt for these women. I felt deep concern and sadness for not only their pain, but their aloneness. That night I went in my room and cried myself to sleep. I cried for my own silent, suffering days, when I tried to put on a face, be thankful for everything else, deny how much it hurt, and above all else NOT SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE AS LONG AS YOU CAN STAND. After all, who needs to hear you moan and whine when there are orphans with no food and people with cancer. Now those are the people with REAL problems, right? I cried for those women who felt the same way I did. The ones that struggled with the same pain and the same mental battles over that pain. Trying to care for someone else when all you want to do is go back to bed and try not to think about how much you hurt.
Now, to some people I may seem dramatic here. Especially when (and I am very aware of this) there are much harder pains and problems people are walking through right now. My goal is not to make you feel bad for me or even to make you think I am some “tough woman” to live in pain (because I definitely am everything but strong right now). My goal is to encourage those of you that are suffering alone. Especially you women! No, you are not weak and being a baby and emotional. Whether it is physical pain, emotional pain, or relational pain…YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ALONE! Do you cry yourself to sleep sometimes too? Why?
Here is the hopeful part of this excerpt…I finally spoke up more. I talked to my husband. I started telling him exactly how I felt and what things made it worse. I would text him at work and ask him to pray for me on hard days. He would jump in and try to help how he could to lessen the physical load on days when the pain was really bad. I texted close friends and asked them to pray for me too. I eventually told my bible study and asked them to pray for healing (something I have trouble believing in at the moment). I have found a lot of support from people who love me. A really good friend told me, “when you are injured, you think ‘this will never end’ and it feels like this is your new normal. But it’s not. And you will get better eventually”. I really needed to hear that. And I realized that that is true about many “valleys” we go through. Like after my dad passed away and I struggled not feeling depressed for a long time. In the moment that valley seemed like it would never end. But slowly, eventually things got better. The pain eased just a little, and hope and joy took that place of bitter mourning.
If you are someone who is walking through something really hard right now, please PLEASE don’t keep it to yourself. Please find someone you can confide in and share it. Share ALL of it. Share the struggle, the doubt, the pain and you will be amazed at the weight you feel lift off of your shoulders. That person may not be able to solve that problem you are having and trust me, that may hurt them or drive them crazy (which is why you didn’t want to tell them in the first place). But that is part of sharing your load with them. In a way you are allowing them “in” and there is a reward and gift in being able to be that person to help with that load.
If you are a person that someone is confiding in about something hard in their life…stop trying to fix it. There is a time for advice and help, and don’t stop that when needed. But if you can’t take their pain away, don’t try. Just BE. BE THERE. BE THERE WITH THEM. Be in the yuck, and the pain, and the hard nights and days of doubt. Just be you, with them, caring, hurting yourself in sympathy, and in some strange way you are making it ok until it gets better!
Well, back to my “story”…it is not finished. I am still hurting, still going to physical therapy, still getting adjusted. I have a doctor appointment in a couple weeks (unless the pain gets too bad, then I will try to go sooner). I am hoping my doctor can at least let me know if I just need to be patient with the healing or if I need to get tests done to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on. I am learning a lot about myself in this time. No, I am not “joyfully jogging”…but, like I have written in earlier posts, running is always painful. There is a gift and a growth in the pain that does not go to waste. Physically, I am weaker and less active than I like, but mentally and emotionally and spiritually I am growing! And I AM happy! I am thankful (really, really thankful) and even, sometimes, hopeful 
So here’s to a “silver lining” and to not going through valleys alone!

If you are someone who is silently hurting and DON’T have someone to confide in, or if your story is similar to mine and you could use a friend to walk through this with, feel free to message me on this site! I want to hear from you! I truly do care!