Back in my early twenties, I thought the most difficult physical, mental, and spiritual feat was to complete a marathon. Then, after completing a marathon, I thought the single most difficult feat would be to run a personal best time of three hours and ten minutes. Then, after completing that, I thought it would be a hundred mile bike ride. Then, after completing that, I thought it would be a 2.4-mile swim. Then, after completing that, I thought it would be completing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile distance run back-to back-to-back in an Ironman Triathlon.
After that … well, you can about imagine.
What I didn’t know, however, was the single most difficult thing that would not only change my physical shape, challenge my mental state, and broaden my spiritual stamina would have nothing to do with swimming, biking, or running.
“Surely,” you are saying, “you jest!”
Nope. Not at all.
I have a confession to make. I, a two-time Ironman Triathlete, now yawn at the idea of completing another Ironman or another marathon. I have found a new challenge that wipes the slate clean of all other challenges I have embarked upon and I am still in the midst of it.
This challenge, this confession, this newfound love/obsession in my life that has consumed my mind and heart and soul each and every day for the past several months is named Henry.
Henry is this little person that invaded my body just over six months ago. He has been making his home in my tummy and growing there ever since.
And my mind/body/spirit will never be the same.
In the mind department, he has adequately helped my mind transcend and alter itself nearly every week in newfound discoveries regarding fears I never knew I had, inadequacies and doubts about myself and my abilities I would have never dreamed of out on the running trails, where I was invincible and powerful.
Will I be a good mom? Why did I have that bad dream last night, the one that still causes me to sleep with the light on? Will he turn out okay? Why do women have to go through this? (In fact, truth be told, Henry has traveled with me to see my own psychotherapist a few times, just to make sure I don’t lose my mind!)
He has aided in my hormonal “shift” that has caused emotions ranging from tears to anger to anxiety—all in the matter of minutes. I believe my husband has reached sainthood by now. (I love you, honey!)
Physically, I have never been more lacking in exercise in my entire life. Due to nausea, nightly vomiting (I still argue that they don’t need to call it morning sickness anymore), fatigue, indigestion and all that goes with it, I have been completely zapped of even my own Ironman’s motivation. My favorite quote from William Shakespeare used to be, “Bid me run and I will strive with things impossible.” Now I want to share one with William: “Bid me pregnant and nothing will be impossible”.
Spiritually, Henry has brought me closer to women than ever before. I did not know of the “club” that moms have silently created and want to thank many of the moms that have been a huge help to me in this journey. I’ve also grown closer to God than ever before. God and I have had talks—mostly me talking, He listening. At first they were a little heated on my end. However, I have given up the “why” questions and just moved onto the “wow,” your creation is amazing and I will never understand how it all works. I just know that each and every day I understand more and more the purpose and meaning of life as I prepare my heart to become a mom.
It has been a humbling journey to say the least.
No longer will I think of myself as an Ironman, a runner, a writer, a coach, a speaker, a teacher. Right now I am living in the moment as a pregnant lady and mom-to-be who, just like you and everyone else in this world, admittedly has fears and doubts about herself more than ever in this lifetime. Now I really do find new meaning in that saying, “The older I get, the more I realize that there is more that I don’t know.”
Confessing these doubts and fears today is meant to encourage and inspire you, that no matter where you are on your own journey of life (pregnant or not, men included), it is okay to have those fears and doubts. Yet it is more important to reach out and realize that you are not alone and there are so many people in the world just waiting to help and journey with you.
Here’s to your own journey of mind/body/spirit! Wherever it may lead you, know that it will be an exciting adventure with many surprises along the way. Some moments not so fun and others so much fun you will never want to forget, and you won’t.
Henry and I wish you the best!