The postpartum depression that I am going through feels like I am grieving for a deceased loved one. I know I will slowly regain parts of my pre-baby life, but right now, I am really sad. I am not sad when I am playing with my baby or making him giggle. To some extent, it isn’t even about him. It is about missing a previous version of myself. I really liked her; she was brave and had great goals. I know I will like this new Lyndy, too, it is just taking some serious growing pains getting used to a new lifestyle.
Parent guilt is paralyzing for me. I feel guilty for wanting to clean my house, when I should only be aware of my baby’s needs. I feel guilty for wanting to go for a run, when I could be taking my baby for a stroller walk. I feel guilty for taking time to stretch after a run, when I could be nursing my son, sooner. I feel guilty for saying “I’m surviving” when someone says, “Isn’t being a mom the best?” I feel guilty for enjoying creative projects at the office, when other women tell me “It must be hard to be away from your baby”. I feel guilty for wanting to have date nights, when my husband wants to bring our son along. I feel guilty for feeling guilty, because I should be thankful for our fertility and to have a healthy baby.
In response to some of the “parent guilt”, I tried to give up running because I thought it would relieve me of the pressure to come-back faster and stronger. Not running sucks. Running less is ok. I would suggest to anyone going through mental health issues to get outside and sweat 1x a day. There is magic and healing powers in being outdoors. Get all the outdoor baby things: baby front packs, baby backpacks, stroller for walks, KidRunner (trailer designed for running parents, it has given me hope again as a runner), tents for baby at the beach. Not having the gear shouldn’t be the excuse – try Craigslist.
I continue to struggle. Asking for help doesn't make me weak, nor does it make me a bad mom. In fact, asking for help is a sign of strength; a good example for your kids. I have learned that fighting for my right to run is a way to protect my mental health. Running with my son is something that makes my personal goals possible. My family is still calibrating to this new lifestyle and it is still uncomfortable at times. It is normal to struggle. What isn't normal is feeling like I have to be silent about post-partum depression and that I have to give up a piece of me (running) to be a "good" parent.
I will be running my first race with my baby boy on July 4th. Quentin will be with me in the KidRunner for the Sauvie Foot Traffic Flat half-marathon in Portland, Oregon. This race is a monumental moment for my son and me. I want to show myself that being a mom has changed me, but only in that my champion's mindset now tackles running and parenting challenges. This race begins a new chapter where I am choosing to bring him into my world of racing.
PS: It is in my blood to set goals. I plan on attempting a world record pace on July 4th. Fastest mom to run a half marathon with their baby? #HeadUpWingsOut