Over dinner last night, Geof was recounting an interview he heard on NPR with Bradley Cooper, from American Sniper. Cooper talked about how he completely transformed his body in order to become the roll and how strange it was for him. At the end of the day, he couldn't go home and take off his 'suit' and relax. His 'work clothes' were now a part of him; he was living in someone else's body, within his own body.
What a strange experience to have. And yet, in my mind I immediately compared it to being pregnant. I am wearing another body atop my own. Even though it's all me, it's this transformed version of me that I walk around in. I can still see the remnants of my previous self: my runners' legs that are surprisingly still very runner-ish, gangly arms that are slightly less gangly, the uppermost portion of my rectus abdominis is still very much ab-like when I flex, and my feet remain tendinous and flexy. That's not a word, but it is right now.
Early on, this was a difficult reality...so much change and more to come, 'how will I ever get my running body back?', everyday something new and totally unpredictable.
But, thankfully, that phase passed very quickly. I feel extremely fortunate because I LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF THIS. I wake up each day excited to see if my belly has expanded further or to see if my clothes fit a little tighter. I admire my new shape constantly...borderline obsessively? :) While there is a little extra cushion appearing in a few key places, enough to ban me from certain pre-pregnancy jeans at this point, 23 1/2 weeks in, I hardly notice these things. It's the belly I marvel at. And what a marvelous thing it is! When is it ever exciting to hear your husband proclaim, 'You're huge!' or 'You're really pregnant!'
Those words are music to my ears. I smile every time he remarks on my bump :)
Once the belly really began to pop, the excitement compounded. It's such an amazing thing. We're growing a human in here! And when the kicks began to occur consistently and predictably, that took things up a notch. This is one heck of an active baby. Being able to not only feel but also see their antics from the outside is pretty amazing. I love it so much. I laid on the couch for an hour yesterday and just watched my abdomen bounce about, smiling and laughing like a nutcase. Cadence even walked over at one point to see what all the fuss was. She didn't quite get it and went back to her bed.
While I still step into my running shoes daily, I have downgraded the pace a bit...from a runners' pace to that of a walker's. And while that was difficult at first, I feel like I've really grown into my new mode of exercise. I like to do at least 2 miles a day, and my bladder won't let me go much beyond 4-5 miles. I log my walks, just as I did when I was running. That small act makes me feel surprisingly happy. I heart my log. And I live vicariously through Geof's running. I feel really good. It's going to be hard to ease back into running after the baby arrives, but such is life. It will be good to get back to it, but I'm in no rush. I'm working on something a lot more important right now :)
*Insert Awkward Segue*
With all the academic excitement of late...graduating, sitting for my boards, passing said boards, acquiring three job offers in the span of one week, receiving my license to practice...there were some brief periods of quiet contemplation.
There's a blog that I've followed for a number of years now, titled It's Not the Destination, It's the Journey. I've always loved the name of it. But, I never really thought much about why I love the name.
We recently spent a long weekend in Santa Barbara and on a long walk with Cadence up the canyon it suddenly came to me. My most recent extended journey being school and becoming a PTA, I was thinking in terms of this, but it applies to becoming a parent as well.
A goal is set, the groundwork is laid, you take the steps to begin, and then you're off. It's hard; it's exciting; it's pure joy; it's intense, however short-lived, let downs; roller coaster ride after roller coaster ride. But the end goal is always in sight. You never lose sight of that. Keeping your eyes on the prize. Each day is another day closer to achieving that goal. The goal is concrete, tangible, definite; just enough out of reach that you need to work for it. You're becoming stronger and stronger with each passing day, slowly morphing into this new version of you. And then one day, on a set date that you knew was coming all along, it happens. You achieve your goal. You have reached your destination. You did the work, you survived the gauntlet, and now you emerge victorious. And holy moly, what a victory it is!
It's not to say that the destination was a letdown. It was anything but that. I am now a PTA! I get to do the thing I've been dreaming about doing for more than seven years now. I freaking did it! It's a strange thing to workandworkandwork towards something for so darn long and then suddenly it all happens, exactly as you imagined it. But is that the end of the line?
No, it's just the beginning.
I reminded myself not to look at the destination I had reached. Instead I reflected on the journey I took to get there. It was an incredible journey, people! I marvel at it. I marvel at myself, at my fellow classmates (my second family, really). Every single day was worth it. It's a badge of honor having survived everything we did in order to be where we are now. I am thankful for the journey I had. Reaching this destination is merely one stopover in the longer journey. And now I stand on the cusp looking ahead and I get goosebumps considering all the possibilities.
Goals are good. They're great. Destinations are necessary. They get us on the road; they get us to begin and sustain the journey, even when it sucks at times. Especially when it sucks. And then one day we get to look back and marvel, then look ahead and get goosebump-y with excitement. Can you imagine setting out on a course having no idea what the end goal is, what you're heading towards? A destination allows for primitive structure, and that structure grows and morphs as you pick your way along the course. It's sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure book :)
So I guess I'm just writing all of this as a reminder to never forget where you've come from. Appreciate the journey and look forward to the next.
Parenthood is going to be one heck of a journey. Pregnancy has been a journey already! It's terrifying, exhilarating, and I have no idea what to expect. And I couldn't imagine it being any other way, or experiencing it with anyone else. Geof is going to be an amazing dad. People happily share their experiences, but let's be real here. Those are their journeys, not ours. I don't want to internalize others' journeys. I want to live and experience ours. Whatever it may be.
A 21 week beach bum-p
I'm now realizing the irony of this post. I set out composing it having no idea what my destination was. And, yet, I managed to arrive at one :)