When I gave birth to my son over two years ago, to say that I was out of shape would be an understatement. My pregnancy was full of bed rest, all-you-can-eat ice cream binges, maternity sweat pants, and peanut butter. In my previous life, I was super active. Starting in high school, I was a runner, a competitive horseback rider, snowboarder, a lover of yoga, and a hiker. Fitness was important to me and I never really struggled to achieve physical goals I set for myself. I ran Hood to Coast, a half marathon, and countless 5 and 10ks. I had no idea what being out of shape and having your body practically decimated by a cute, tiny human felt like. My mom-bod needed to go to baby boot camp!
The recovery from my C-section delivery was rough, and I wasn’t up for physical activity until my son was about 3.5 months old. I remember attempting my first run postpartum. I laced up my running shoes for the first time in over a year, strapped my son into the jogger and set off on the trail. A few steps in to the run I could tell I was screwed. My spine felt like a slinky, my scar was burning, and my legs felt like lead weighted noodles. I had never felt so uncoordinated in my life. It was as if my body belonged to someone else and I was operating it from the inside like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Defeated, I went to my new mom’s group, Legacy Meridian Park’s Baby and Me, and lamented my physical demise. One of my friends there told me about a baby boot camp class for moms with new babies that she was trying out. I did a little research when I got home and I learned that there was a Baby Boot Camp chapter less than five minutes from my house. So I emailed the owner and main instructor, Alexa Hasman, and told her how broken I felt. She immediately responded and reassured me that she would take good care of me and that she was super excited to meet me. The next morning, I apprehensively squeezed myself into some running pants and a sports bra, loaded my son up in the car and headed to Gabriel Park in Southwest Portland.
When I got to the park on that hot June morning in 2015, I had no idea what I was in for. I assumed this would be a tame class full of water aerobics activities but on land. You know what I mean? Like we’d lay on our backs and hold our babies over our heads and giggle while doing leg lifts and Kegels, or walk around drinking water or something. Oh, was I wrong! My first class we played this game called monopoly where you roll a giant die and sprint through stations. Each station required basically a million reps of various exercises from burpees to wind sprints. If you landed in jail, you got destroyed. I know because I spent most of my time in jail, and thought I was going to barf. But, when class was over, I was SO hooked.
All the women at baby boot camp were incredibly warm and encouraging and the instant community I felt was exactly what I had been searching for. They praised me for just getting out of the house and putting on a sports bra, which really did feel like a huge accomplishment. Alexa made me feel like I could do anything. She convinced me that I was strong in body and in spirit and with that, it sounds trite, but she changed my life.
Over the past three years, I have made many close friends through this group, and have referred my closest friends to join in on the fun. My kids are growing up with other kids their same ages, and have a blast every time we go to class. It’s like a play date/workout all in one which means everyone wins! Without this incredible community behind me, supporting me, and cheering me on, I’d be so lost on this motherhood journey. Not only did I find myself again through baby boot camp, I found my tribe.