The baby and I went for a walk last night.
I strapped her to my chest in the Snugli front carrier my in-laws bought at a children’s consignment sale back home, and we walked.
We’d gone to the gym, to the city’s rec center, because even though I’m home from work by 5:30 p.m., it’s cold and dark and I’m not a fan of either.
We were going to walk a mile, I’d decided, and I was nervous about how she’d do. 14 laps on the suspended track = 1 mile. That’s a lot of curves. A lot of clockwise curves that, yes, OK, I get that it’s been a long time since I ran track, but are still not the way my body prefers to move around a circle. The baby kept her eyes open for about four of those curves. Two laps in, she was out for the count.
So I went for it. I walked fast. I tried to see how fast I could walk before it became a run – or a weird hips flying to the side sort of thing (think of any footage of a speed walker you’ve ever seen. I didn’t want to be that). And I kept one hand on the baby’s head at all times, to minimize bouncing. Never shake a baby.
We did one mile and then another. Two miles, I thought – not bad!
The baby still asleep, I lifted some light weights (bicep curls) next and did some wide-legged squats.
Then I walked another mile, at a slower pace.
Afterward, I felt really good about moving my body for close to an hour. I managed to push about 75 percent of the self-deprecating thoughts away – the internal voice that reminded me I used to run three miles several times a week, that the three-mile days were easy days, that two years ago I ran my third half-marathon. And now I was walking?
The icing on the cake is that today I’m sore. My leg muscles are sore. From walking.
I’ve reasoned: Though I dislike much of my current post-baby body, I am trying to remember to respect it for growing a human being. Three human beings. My body grew people. Basically on its own. That’s pretty remarkable.
And, of course, I’m hoping that the more walks the baby and I take, the greater my chances of someday again running comfortably.
We’ll see. For now, I’m choosing to be grateful for the ability to walk, for the opportunity to be a mother (x three), for the capacity to nurture my babies (big and small) and for the means to even belong to the city’s rec center.
Among everything else (our health, a warm home, food to eat, Christmas presents next month under the tree …), maybe that should be enough.