Read about fit mom featured blogger, Danielle Knapp, and her journey to wellness after delivering her son. I encourage you to connect with Danielle from Lean Green Mama and visit her blog for more updates.
Hi! I’m Danielle from Lean Green Mama and I’m very happy to be writing a post here! I am a runner and a mom. I am the mom that I am because I run and I started running because I was a mom (gotta love that post baby body).
After I had my son, everything was different. Not only was there this tiny, loud, new person to care for, but I felt different too. I had no idea who I was or what I was doing. All of this on top of the changes in my body left me feeling lost.
Although breastfeeding worked wonders on helping me lose a good chunk of the 65lbs (yikes!) I gained during pregnancy, I knew I needed to start exercising. At almost 9 months postpartum, I decided to start running. I began with couch to 5k. It had been far too long since I had done any sort of real physical activity, so I knew I needed to start slow. At first, I felt lame. “Running” for 60 seconds at a time left me feeling like I was getting no where fast (literally and figuratively), but then I was able to run for 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 20 minutes, and eventually a full 30 minutes!
I felt like a rock star the first time I ran for 30 minutes – there was some full on fist pumping and jumping around when I finished. People probably looked at me as they were driving by like I was some sort of weirdo. I didn’t care because I had just ran the furthest in my life and nothing was chasing me. In that moment, I decided to go big or go home: I signed up for a half marathon. I knew the long runs would be hard, but I wanted the challenge.
With each long run, I started to feel better about myself and about my body again. Did I look how I wanted to? No (heck no), but I could finally start to focus on some of the great things about my body. My legs were strong and carrying me distances I never thought possible. My lungs, although burning at times, were providing me with the oxygen I needed to keep going. Even my brain, which normally never shuts up, gave me mental mantras to keep me moving.
Once I started to appreciate different parts of my body, I started to appreciate and find myself again. I went from pre-baby, working a fast paced job in a suit to wearing yoga pants and caring for a baby. There was no warning how hard it would be to find a balance and to find myself in the transition to parenthood. Exercise, and running in particular, helped me get that.
With the half marathon looming, I felt like I had something all on my own to work towards. Before running all I focused on was my family and my baby, nothing about myself. At first it was hard to take this time out for me. I felt guilty, but I did it anyway because it made me feel good. Eventually, I realized it was making me a better mom and wife. Carving out those little bits of time for myself to clear my mind and let me legs do the work was exactly what I needed. I became happier. Things like my son missing naps, refusing to eat, and teething became easier for me to deal with mentally because I had my outlet in running.
Running helped me to find myself and help to define the new me as a mom. It was hard at times to make the time, but it’s been so worth it.