Baby Got Back

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some of the highlights of my mommyhood so far have been the chances I’ve had to take my girls into nature with me. From the beginning I was determined to be the mamma who didn’t let my babies stop me from getting out and doing the things I love. I made a commitment to exercise throughout my pregnancies and was blessed with low risk pregnancies that allowed me to do just that. I know not all mammas have that chance. Once my babies were out I wanted to hit the ground running and pack them everywhere; and I did.

I always like to think of the book “Holes” when Elya was instructed by a fortune teller to carry his piglet up the hill to drink every day. At first it was no big deal to carry a small piglet up the hill but as the pig grew the boy grew stronger as well. By the time the pig was fully grown the boy was strong enough to carry the large pig up the hill to drink. So it has been with my babies, I carried the extra weight for 9 months and made sure to carry them once they came out and as they grew. This made it so easy to take them on my back wherever I go now.

One of my fondest memories is hiking with Tilly when she was tiny and singing the abc’s with her and teaching her the sign language for each letter as we walked. We stopped to listen to the birds, look at the dew on leaves, see the bugs, look for squirrels and deer, jump in the waterfall at our destination, and talk about how God had given us THE MOST beautiful world to enjoy. We did this as we hiked, snow shoed, cross country skied, and went on walks around town.

So the trend continued as Tilly got older and as we welcomed a second baby into our home. Once again I was determined to not let two babies stop me from being in nature and getting exercise when dad was out of town travelling. And just like Elya I began carrying both of them, one on my back and one inside for 9 months and then after she was born, on my front. Could my kids walk? Yeah probably but not for as far as I’d like to go and quite frankly I’m too impatient for wait for them when I’m trying to get a good workout in;) There are plenty of other times when they are free to walk and roam as they like at a leisurely pace.

So now whenever we are out exercising in nature there’s always a baby or toddler on my back. Baby got my back all the time and I love it. I love being blessed with a body to carry my children into this world and through this world. It has created a bond that I cherish and want to soak in and hold on to.

Tilly is starting to outgrow the pack and it is opening a new realm of opportunities for us to explore. Our most recent adventure was skiing together while dad was out of town. Cecily has been begging to go skiing and keeps insisting that she is big enough. So we took a leap of faith and packed her on my back and Tilly and I skied with my brother one night this week. It was amazing! The slopes weren’t packed so we were able to safely navigate the mountain with a baby on my back without worrying about other skiers colliding with us. It was another step into nature that I was able to take with both my girls and my heart sang.

I cant wait to see what the future will bring and what beautiful babes I’ll be blessed to pack around on my back next. Whoever made the stigma that women aren’t strong was clearly blind and I’ll happily prove them wrong with so many examples of women who went before me who taught me that I can do whatever the heck I put my mind to. Being a mother takes a level of strength that so many underestimate and misunderstand. I think motherhood is the most strengthening, challenging, trying experience that produces women full of battle wounds, wisdom, and deep, deep hearts of love.

Packing my babies around is something that makes me feel empowered and I hope you feel confident in doing whatever it is that makes you feel like a strong woman too; physically or otherwise. There is no denying that God put in you capabilities that no man can ever attain and you should be proud of that.

Thank you for letting me share my joys with you! It is probably far more beneficial for me to put my thoughts down than it is for you to read them. But if you are still reading, I want express my gratitude for you! I hope someone finds some sort of strength from hearing how I, and many other women, choose to live our lives.

Love, Katie

 

Advertisements

Why Mommy Goes to the Gym

Every morning at 5:40 am my alarm goes off. As I hurry to turn it off before it wakes my husband I begin the process of rationalizing my “need” to go back to sleep. “You are too tired today,” “Your sleep will make you feel so much better,” “You deserve to stay in bed another hour,” “You can do this tomorrow,” blah, blah, blah. The commitment to wake up an hour or two before my family is not the “fun” choice by any means. So why do I do it? Because Mommy needs to go to the gym.

Now lets stop right there. When I say I “need” to go to the gym it has nothing to do with my physical appearance. If you had asked me in college why I went to the gym my answer probably would have had something to do with my looks. But now, no way. When my 4-year-old is up early and asks me why I have to go to the gym the reason is clear, “So Mommy can be happy today.” And its true. The mental benefits I get from exercising 6 days a week far outrank the affect it has on the outward appearance of my body. Is the body boost a plus? Heck yeah, but it isn’t the priority anymore.

As a mom of one, two, or twelve kids you know that your life focus has shifted to be all about the little ones you are trying to keep alive and your own needs are an afterthought. But whatever your life circumstances, working mom, stay home mom, work at home mom, or maybe you aren’t even a mom yet, you NEED to have something for you. My something is the gym.

The research on the benefits of exercise on our physical and mental health is clear. Whatever your struggle, chances are regular exercise can help it. The type of exercise will obviously need to be personalized but what matters is that you MOVE your body. Nothing in the Universe happens, no progress is made, until something moves. Have you ever felt like you are Ron Burgundy stuck in a glass cage of emotion? I have, and I have a solution for you! Go DO something and move your body…and do it outside if at all possible.

The Mayo Clinic has published research about the benefits exercise has on mental health. 

“Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.”

Other benefits of exercise on depression and anxiety include:

  • Releases feel-good endorphins

  • Takes your mind off worries

  • Helps you gain confidence

  • Allows you an opportunity for more social interaction (with non-children I might add..)

  • Helps you cope in a healthy way (I am an emotional eater…not a healthy coping strategy)

After my first daughter was born I experienced postpartum due to a sudden shift into mommyhood I didn’t quite feel ready for combined with hormone imbalance. Some of the very first things my hormone specialist suggested to me were to get outside, be in the sun, exercise, do yoga, meditate, and take a Vitamin D supplement. Since then I have found that I am my VERY BEST SELF when I incorporate that list of items into my life and stick to my commitment to exercise every morning getting those much needed endorphins. I just love them.

The picture above is of one of my favorite places, My gym. (ok it isn’t mine, I just go there). I have found a community, friendship, motivation, self confidence, and a love of waking up early to start my day off right. More to come on my favorite exercises and what I do to stay “in shape.”

If you are struggling to get out of your own head, experience anxiety or depression, are dealing with physical or emotional challenges, etc, I hope this might be another drop in your bucket to motivate you to move your body and find something active that you can do to take care of you and improve your mental health so you can be the best YOU you can be,

Love, Katie