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.