Welcome to FIT4MOM, Central Leeward Oahu

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rachel's Success Story

I have wanted to write this blog post for a long time, but I have been struggling to find the words and the courage to put it together.  My transformation story isn’t one that involves losing a whole bunch of pounds or dropping several pants sizes.  My transformation story is about what Stroller Strides did for me emotionally.
I started attending Stroller Strides classes in February, when my son, Charlie, was about 10 weeks old.  At the time I was struggling with the idea of being a mother to this tiny human.  I was struggling with the new look and limitations of my body.  I was struggling with the adjustment of going from working full-time in a career that I loved, to being a stay at home mom, which felt very isolating at that time.  What I did not realize (or at least I was unwilling to admit) was that while I was struggling with those things, I was also struggling with post partum depression.  It was never extreme.  I never wanted to hurt my son or myself.  I just was not enjoying my everyday life.  And it was never how I imagined post partum depression would be when I would read about it in those pregnancy books.  I was not sad and crying everyday.  I was simply not happy with my life.  And I was filled with constant anxiety that I could not shake. 
 I was coping with things all right during those first few weeks of Stroller Strides.  I enjoyed being around other moms and starting down the path of fitness, though I knew I had a long way to go.  Then my world got turned even more upside down when my father was very unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  He died 16 days after his diagnosis.  I disappeared from class for most of March while I went home to Indiana to be with my family.  I came back to Stroller Strides and did not tell anyone at class what had been going on, only that I had been at home. 
 My mind was all over the place.  My undiagnosed mild PPD quickly got much, much worse.  I felt like I had no control over anything happening in my life.  I was overwhelmed with the loss of my father, with my child who constantly demanded my attention, and with my daily life that looked nothing like any life I had ever lived.  I kept coming to class though, and at some point I realized that there was one thing I could control- my body. 
 I started attending class as often as I could.  I started to really push myself during the workouts.  I started joining the runners as often as I could.  And slowly but surely, I started to feel better.  The workouts became easier over time.  I felt myself burning fat and building muscle.  I could see the results in the way my clothes fit and the way I looked in the mirror.  And almost without realizing it, bettering myself physically translated into bettering myself mentally and emotionally.  I fully credit my involvement with Stroller Strides with my recovery from post partum depression.  Exercise makes us happy.  We all know that.  But for me, exercise and the support of all of you amazing women, did not just make me happy, it made me better.  I gained confidence.  I let go of my anxiety.  I learned to control the things I can control and to stop worrying so damn much about the things that I cannot.  I still have super stressful days and times when I doubt myself, but because of Stroller Strides and the incredible group of women in the classes, I am now stronger, physically and emotionally, than I have ever been.  Thank you all so much for all that you do, even when you don’t know that you are doing it. 
 And on a serious final note, if you ever feel like you are dealing with depression, post partum or otherwise, talk to someone.  It took me a long time to confide in my husband and my close friends how I was feeling.  And it took me even longer to go talk to my doctor about it.  But keeping it inside will NEVER make it better.  So take that incredibly difficult first step of making yourself better.  You will never regret doing so.