Running means and feels different for everyone. I grew up in the foothills of Colorado where I fell in
love with trail running and hiking. I never felt scared being out on the trails by myself with one of my
loyal pups getting in the miles with me. Not every run was easy, but most of the time it was an
opportunity to relieve stress, clear my mind and reconnect with myself.
When I became pregnant, I thought I would be one of those super women running well into the third
trimester, but unfortunately, I had to stop at 16 weeks due to the pressure on my pelvic floor. On my
last run it felt like with each step I was about to pee my pants and that my insides where about to come
Fast forward 24 weeks to April 2020 (yup, one month into the pandemic) my son was born!
Soaking up all the time together at home with my husband, son, two dogs and cat I was so grateful my
husband’s company had no plans of returning to office while I was on my maternity leave. During that
time my postpartum anxiety and depression started to get out of my control. The added stress of the
pandemic didn’t help my situation.
All the isolation and not leaving the house, anxiety to keep my baby safe and postpartum hormones
started to really take a toll on me. I felt like I was spinning out of control.
I ended up having a breakdown.
I didn’t know who I was now that I was a mom. I wasn’t doing any of the things I loved to do. I didn’t feel like myself physically or mentally. Failing was a common feeling I felt during this time. I felt like was failing as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.
After mustering up the courage to tell my husband how I was feeling (please know, he is incredibly
supportive and how I was feeling does not reflect the type of support he gives me) I got professional
help. Being able to express my feelings and the intrusive thoughts I was having to someone in a safe
space and learning I was not the only mother feeling this way was life changing.
During one of the sessions my therapist asked me ‘what was one thing I loved to do for myself?’. This
question caught me off guard as I had spent so much time focusing on what my son needed and that
was the only important thing to me. After a minute I told her I loved to run before having my son. She
asked me why I hadn’t started running again now that I wasn’t pregnant. I told her it was easier for me
not to go, or so I thought. I was convinced it would be easier for me not to go for a 30-minute run
because my baby would need me. Easier for my husband if I don’t leave him alone with the baby. Easier for me not to go because I was terrified something would happen in that short time I was away.
Thankfully my homework after that session was to go for my first run postpartum.
I couldn’t believe it, but I was feeling excited to lace up and hit the road. Little did I know my first run
would only last .75 of a mile because … I DIT IT!
I had actually peed my pants. Haha not what you were expecting, huh?
Yes, you read that right. Thankfully I wore white pants with a pink-confetti looking pattern that hid the
uncontrollable urine going down my legs. As mortified as I am sharing that to complete strangers
reading this article, it is a harsh reality for lots of postpartum mothers. I thought that since I was a
runner pre pregnancy I could just pick it back up after giving birth. I had prepared so much for
pregnancy, I read every book, tracked my baby’s fruit size every week, mentally prepped for delivery but
I did not prepare for postpartum.
Turning to social media I found a handful of pelvic floor accounts that were helpful. I took some time off from running and really educated myself on pelvic floor recovery and the importance of postpartum
recovery. I found the information so valuable and beneficial that I ended up becoming a certified Pre &
Post Natal Performance Training Specialist. One huge reason I felt such a pull to become certified is so I can help other mothers not have to go through what I did, and they can start running or doing what they love earlier in their postpartum journey.
Now that I have strengthened my pelvic floor and recovered from my diastasis recti being able to run
has made me feel like myself again. I wish I had the opportunity earlier in my postpartum journey to
start running because it would have made life so much more enjoyable. Like I mentioned earlier being
on the trails gives me an opportunity to reconnect with myself and I am learning that old Erin is still in
there, but she has grown into so much more which I can now appreciate.
I have always been a solo runner, but I found myself following more women running groups on social
media. Wanting more of a community to be a part of I signed the waiver and joined the Trail Sisters
Golden group. I was so nervous for my first run with the group, insecure that I would be the slowest in the pack, that I wouldn’t have anything in common with any of the other women ended up being such
an incredible experience. I met some wonderful ladies that were so welcoming and just fun to talk to!
If one day you want to become a mom, are currently pregnant or are on your postpartum journey this is
your sign to take time to do something you love and to do for yourself! Make it a priority. Put the work
in so you can do it without pains and injuries or peeing your pants.
This is a great article! Thanks for sharing. As mothers, we generally have to learn to put ourselves first again. My kids are a bit older, but I still have to remind myself of that sometimes.
I am really glad you found your way back into the sport you love with a fun group and the overall mental comfort again. We have to love ourselves to love them, so keep it up!!