I have been a runner much of my adult life. It started in college as a hobby and then grew into a way to keep fit and relieve stress. So when it became time to think about children, it never even crossed my mind that I would stop running. I knew I wanted to have kids, I just didn’t know when. So when I saw the pregnancy test reveal two pink lines, one my first questions was whether I could still tackle all those miles with a baby on board.
I will never forget talking with my friend about my running. “You aren’t planning to run while you’re pregnant, are you?” Without hesitation I said, “Why yes I am”. I couldn’t believe her objection and wondered if I was missing something? So I immediately called my doctor to ensure the safety of my baby. I was a healthy 33-year-old, so why couldn’t I be a runner even while I was pregnant? Doc’s answer was simple: do what you normally do. Don’t push yourself, but keep on running.
So that’s what I did. On an almost daily basis, my son and I would run. It didn’t matter how long; running had been my longtime friend and therapist before baby: and would be my therapy during my pregnancy and after.
Friends with (Unexpected) Benefits
In the early stages of my pregnancy, running began as a way to take my mind off morning sickness. I felt sick until week 14 and found that if I ran in the morning, the feeling would subside for a majority of the day.
Half-way through the pregnancy, it became a way to escape my “pre-baby blues.” I found myself depressed and couldn’t shake it for several weeks. So following a doctors visit and a recommendation from my OB, I continued to hit the pavement.
Then towards the end, well…at that point it was just to prove I could do it. Again, no matter the mileage, I ran…bump and all. And suddenly, March 17th hit. I ran four miles that day and contractions started shortly after.
My son was born a healthy 7 pounds 1 ounce and my labor was great. I credit my running for this. It’s not for everyone-and I’m not saying it should be- but I do feel that all those miles were a large part of my successful pregnancy.
That said, I am not an anomaly. Women across the globe run while pregnant. Shoot, this real life Wonder Woman pumped while running a half-marathon. (That is some crazy hero-like stuff there, ladies!) But, my point is our bodies are amazing, and they don’t have to stop doing the amazing things they did pre-baby.
Throughout my pregnancy, my body would constantly surprise me with what it could do. I never felt like I was one of those amazing women who was thrilled with her ever-changing shape. Yet, when I was running, bump in tow, I never felt more powerful. I wasn’t always happy with my appearance, but running gave me the strength I needed to be proud pregnant woman.
Women can do remarkable things, and we all show it in different ways everyday. Following the birth of my son, I now know that simply being a mom makes all of us super heroes. Moms across America should celebrate that feat. But I am also proud of the miles with my little man in the womb that helped me appreciate my pregnancy that much more. So whether its running, yoga, painting, working or any other goal you set out to achieve, I’m proud of our strength as women. And that alone deserves a round of applause.