When I found out I was pregnant I was determined to stay in great shape & I was promised I would bounce right back. After all, I was the one who never had to train hard for a marathon. The one who never dieted a day in her life. The one who clearly would be able to do it all, once baby came along. That’s what people told me. I envisioned hikes with my sleeping child in the front carrier in our first weeks post-baby & runs around our favorite jogging paths in Golden Gate Park. Cam would create the perfect athletic trio. I would train for a tri, right before I announced that I was ready for another baby. That’s how I did things – fast & furious.
Well I am here to tell you what didn’t happen. All of the above. Cam sure is fast & furious. The gorgeous bundle of liveliness rocked my world. Happy & healthy is the name of the game, but at 11.6 pounds he came in like a wrecking ball. And wreak havoc he did on my previously tiny body. So when my sister wisely told me that I needed “me time” and that meant hitting the gym, I ran to SoulCycle. My post c-section body looked a little out of place. I was round. Lumpy if you will. And weak.
Cam’s birth left me more vulnerable than I had ever been in my life. Having stopped breathing right after birth, I was constantly on high alert. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be the one who gladly handed him over to a Sensible Sitter and merrily went on my way. Instead, I was petrified that they wouldn’t be able to get him to sleep. That he would get gaggy on the bottle if they didn’t burp him properly. And what if you had a breathing episode, like he had in the hospital. I worried that he would stress the sitters out, and then my fears looped over & over in my head.
When I walked into my first SoulCycle class, it took me a minute to put my fears aside and begin to pick up the pieces to my self confidence. Rapidly, it became my therapy. It was 45 minutes that I could not incessantly text my sitter. If something happened, she had the number to the studio and knew my bike number. Nothing has happened & faith in Cameron grew. All I had to do was take my ride song by song. Slowly but surely, I began to believe in myself again. And every now and again, I would get derailed. I would look at my fourth trimester body, resembling that of a misshapen stuffed animal, and grieve my old body. I would look at other moms breast feeding effortlessly and wonder why we were dealt a hand of cards that didn’t allow for that glorious relationship. And then, I would enter the solace of a SoulCycle class and I would leave it all on the road. Sometime silently and sometimes not. With every pedal stroke I felt a little more like The Little Engine That Could. I think I can. I think I can. I would dig deeper, tapping into the strength & determination one if gifted when you take on the title on “mama”. It’s the down stroke that does it for me on the bike: the momentum you create right before you pull your pedal back up and dig yet again. As I became more willing to listen to each instructor’s message, I was able to apply them to my life. Lindy would encourage me to embrace my weakness’. Heather would tell me to get out of my own way. Ian would leap onto his handlebars like a sprite & lighten my mood. That was enough. And I would leave that much lighter, in spirit.
10 months postpartum, I still have hard days. Yesterday was hard for me. Mid day I received notice that Cam had a breath holding spell & had passed out on our nanny. I made a class. I did for myself, and I did it for my son. He deserves a strong mom, and SoulCycle is helping to build one. So here’s to strong mamas, it’s not for the faint of heart!
And I’m learning, it’s okay to just look like a mama.