Facing the Reality

So here we are 12 weeks down the line post the birth of our sweetest little girl. We wont go into the gory details, but the birth was, as is my forte, pretty horrendous (why do I keep doing this?!). The consultant sat by my bed after Evie had been safely delivered and made me promise not to have any more babies….though we didn’t plan to have anymore I am kind of sad that there is a finality of this new born stage, every day my little baby gets a bit bigger and thats it then, no more newborns in our house. But there is so much to look forward to as they get older and I am loving the boys as they get wilder, chattier and really are becoming their own little people (or he – devils as I call them post 5pm).

Due to the blood loss I experienced and the fact the baby tried to break through my womb I was really battered after the birth. For the first 3-4 weeks I felt absolutely exhausted, weak, emotional and just like an enormous lumbering cow. Coping with the boys and feeding the baby took all my mental and physical strength and trying to find the energy to get through the day took every ounce of my mental fortitude and courage. But day by day it has got easier. My body has and is recovering. We are now getting into a routine as school and pre school has started and this gives me 2-3hrs every morning with just the baby and a little head space to work with my clients and get a bit of light training in round feeds and house wifely chores. I will never regret having baby no 3, but I wouldn’t do it again, 3 babies in 4 years has put a strain on both my body and also my poor husband who has to deal with a sleep deprived wife every evening!

I started back running about 4-6 weeks post baby. I worked up to walking 10km most days tying it in with dogs walks and the nursery run and then one day i just decided to try a little jog….i managed about 50m before having to walk. The next day I tried again and this time managed about a 1km and a few days later did a 2 mile run/jog. It wasn’t easy, but it didn’t hurt, just felt really strange, like I had lost all my coordination and the effort it took to move my legs forward and get them up hills was huge. Slowly, slowly, like anything thats really worth having it has got easier. So much so that I haven’t even really noticed that 2 miles run have become 3 then 4 and now 5 has become my daily run.  The hills I had to walk I can run, the loops that took me 30 mins now take me 20 mins. Sometimes I would come home and lie on the floor, weeping, ‘its just too hard’ ‘ i have such a long way to go till Im back to fitness’ and a little voice in my head said ‘it would be so much easier to just stay at home,’  ‘this is too hard, ‘ ‘ you can’t do it,.’ Looking in the mirror in my sports bra and shorts I would be appalled by what I saw, my body really just a wrinkly shell of what is was this time last year. I preach and preach strength and core work to clients and I felt like a fraud as I could hardly hold a plank for 10 secs. You have just had a baby my husband kept saying to me, but I want my body back now, dreading the hours and hours of strength work it was going to take to get back to fighting form. It all just seemed too much of an enormous task, not to mention that it all had to be fitted between feeds and looking after the boys. Patience is not a virtue I possess, but this post natal period has shown me I do possess it. I have been forced to accept reality, this is your body now, this is your fitness, work with what you have, stop comparing yourself to your previous self. That self is gone. Time to rebuild a new Eddie. One who has three children, one who shows clients that you can fit, strong and manage a family and work.

People have kept asking me, when are you racing again, what have you entered? You must be desperate to be racing again to show clients you still go it! Initially I had hopes of a winter ultra or marathon this year, but thats not going to happen. Not because I can’t, but because I realise have nothing to prove to anyone by turning up at a race and running on pure base fitness and brute force. My current clients respect me for the coach I am and I think will be much more impressed if I can come back next year with a strong body and mind and show the world what you can do postnatal if you follow a sensible and progressive programme. I like to think that people will be more inspired by the way I juggle my day to day life and fit running into our family schedule rather than how quickly I can get back to racing post baby. I want to be in this running game for the rest of my days now not just the next few months.

Facing reality I am. I HATE the way the media and society expect women as soon as they have had their babies to banish all evidence of it from their bodies. Dare it take you a few extra months or even years to get back into shape or perhaps you never will, but somehow I feel ashamed that three months down the line I’m still not sporting a six pack. But I know if I was it wouldn’t be made out of happiness and strength, but rather heavy dieting and strict control. There is a time and a place for dedication and I don’t believe that having just had a baby you should force your body into doing anything, but rather coax it back into your way of thinking! Remind it daily of what it used to do, nurture it and I do believe it will respond and work with you rather than against you. Our bodies were made to be used not to be preserved, but quick fixes and intensive programmes without a proper build up and base are a disaster waiting to happen.  So, no I am not racing yet, I’m catching my breath, Im making myself strong so firstly I can cope with the daily demands I place on my body and slowly slowly I’m adding to my mileage and increasing the speeds of my twice weekly interval sessions. As a result  my body is beginning to look strong again; I am truly happy and content with a wonderful family and learning how to fit training in with three kids, a busy husband, a dog and school life.

Whether I’ll ever be the same runner again we will have to see, but I will be giving it my absolute best shot, facing the reality that is given to me, letting my running come back to me rather than forcing it and whatever happens and whenever that next finish line is I know I will  have 4 of the best friends cheering me on a girl could ever have. Thank you Bryn for the last three months, I hope to make you and the family proud in 2016 x