Pregnancy and childbirth are no small tasks for the body. In fact it's for sure one of the most amazing, demanding and miraculous things a body can do. Unfortunately, that miracle takes a toll on the body. Also unfortunately, the body parts that pay the highest price are the exact ones we use most for horseback riding: The Core and um, we'll just say, Between the Legs.
Even after an uncomplicated natural birth like the one I was lucky enough to have, there is a solid six weeks of recovery that has to happen before you feel remotely normal again. After six weeks it's usually safe to start some mild exercise like yoga, walking and swimming. It's different for everyone, but right around eight weeks postpartum was when I finally started to feel like myself again and was ready to get back to riding and exercising regularly. Finding the energy and time for riding is a huge challenge, but it re-charges me to have some time to myself a couple times a week. I always feel revived when I come home from the barn.
I've been back in the saddle now for about a month and it feels so good to be doing what I love. I really missed it. Muddled in with those happy feelings, though, is a shot of anxiety and a sprinkle of self-doubt. I feel a great deal weaker and more uncoordinated than before. I'm tired. I'm distracted and fuzzy-brained. It's pretty easy to get frustrated with myself and feel discouraged, but I'm trying to be patient. I'm doing my best to appreciate what my body just went through and what it's capable of.
Thankfully, I only have my own fitness to worry about and not my horse's. It was so, so nice to not have to stress about Clay at all while I was focusing on having a baby and adjusting to my new life--he was being cared for and ridden by a friend who is a fantastic rider (thank you Brittany!) He is looking and feeling better than ever, and he's being pretty forgiving with me as I get my sea legs back.
We have two or three shows on the docket this summer. They're looming before me and it's daunting to think about all the work that it takes to prepare for, go to, and unpack from a show. But I get so much fulfillment and satisfaction out of competing. I don't want to skip it just because it's a lot of work. So we'll go, and I'll squish myself into my tight white breeches that don't really fit my new body, and we'll do our best out there, and I'm sure we'll make mistakes, and I'll look over at the stands and see my husband and my baby, and it'll be awesome. :)