In a lot of ways, turning 26 feels a lot like surviving 25. For the most part, I was a new Mom and as simple as it sounds, it was not. There were so many firsts for Marin, but also for me and they weren’t all pretty and glamorous. I watched my body make a baby, birth a baby, and then feed that baby with my body exclusively for 6 months and on. It was all tremendous and much more than I could have fathomed, but the physical toll of it all is why I’m writing this post.
There’s something I never really thought about when entering my first pregnancy (besides doing some pregnancy yoga DVDs casually) – strength. At 35 weeks pregnant, I was really kicking myself for not being 1) mindful of what I was doing and 2) not strengthening my body more. After losing about 30 pounds before becoming pregnant, and for the most part, eating healthy during pregnancy, I didn’t really think there was much more I *should* do. I was terribly naive, however, and lifted a heavy grocery cart. In a milisecond, I went from being the annoyingly-bubbly pregnant lady to I-can’t-walk-further-than-the-bus-stop pregnant lady. I still *loved* being pregnant (and was probably still bubbly!), I just didn’t love moving much anymore.
It was honestly terrifying. I knew I was coming upon an incredibly physically intense marathon of an experience, and I didn’t know if I would physically be able to do it. I saw a chiropractor weekly until Marin was born, and I crossed my fingers that the pain would subside once she arrived. For a little bit, the relief of not constantly carrying a baby on my pelvis and hip, masked the residual damage I still had. I went back to the chiropractor weekly and my symptoms would dissolve only to return on my walk home. I connected with Somerville Moms (the greatest mom network *ever*) and reached out to them to see if anyone had experienced a similar pregnancy injury. Luckily, someone had and she linked me with a physical therapist who specialized in pelvic floors. That’s not where I felt discomfort, but I was desperate to find some answers. Thank you Jesus for Meghan Markowski-Cucchiara, PT because she was an incredible help on this journey. From April till August this year, she faithfully helped me get to where I am today (about 95% better).
I’m still not 100%, but I feel *so* much better and wiser. I feel like I look at my body with an incredible respect that was never there. I’ve seen personally how much I took my good health and wellness for granted, and I’ve challenged myself to not let that happen again this year. I want 26 to be better than any year past, and it’s not going to happen all by itself. It’s going to take a lot more work and energy and *strength*. It’s going to take clean eating and passing on the chocolate-covered doughnut I’ve literally been craving all day or that stupid chocolate chip cookie staring me in the face at Panera Bread. And it may sound stupid, but those passes hurt SO BAD. I’ve started doing a Beachbody program and joined a Challenge Group because without them, I have a self control level of ZERO.
And the best part of it all is that I’m happier and better for it. I’m happier when I’m a Mom and a wife and a human being that takes care of herself. That feels better in her own skin physically. That’s not a blob that’s *constantly* tired and never at her maximum capacity, but *knows* she could be. If I could go back in time, I would have focused more energy on my physical strength than tipping the scale. But I can’t do that. All I can do is focus on 26 and the goals I have before me because this isn’t a year I’m going to waste or slack off or wish I had done differently. For me, 25 felt like a year of survival between new motherhood and physical pains. My goal for 26 is to thrive like never before.