“It will give you an answer for the question, ‘What have you been up to?’.” That’s true, it does. Only I am not sure it is an answer anyone expects to come out of my mouth. My all-star athlete running coach assures me that I am a runner. So I tried it. “Oh, did a half marathon in April, three races in June and a Dog Day Run this month.” Nope, doesn’t feel natural, almost like I am lying. Perhaps with each lap, each mile, I can run away from certain truths.
I am not an athlete. This is true. As a little girl I was more ballerina than ball player. During my very short softball career I would practice my plies’ while buried deep out in center field so that my athletic awkwardness did not get in the way of the play at hand. Once I grew out of dance class, I found a place in fitness. I actually like to exercise, but I enjoy it most when the instructor, routine, and music all work together to help my body move. Step class grew into sculpting and then into yoga. Before children, a good Saturday morning would consist of an hour of kick boxing followed by an hour of yoga, all while nursing a hangover. Nothing cured my overconsumption of Long Island Iced Teas like sweating for two hours. I felt like no matter how I was feeling, I could make my body do this, especially when I knew it could not do the one thing I wanted it to do, no matter how hard I wished, prayed or practiced.
“So you are here for infertility treatment.”
I could not answer the question because I had yet to accept the fact that I was infertile, even though I was standing in the Reproduction Science Center of New Jersey. As a step toward truth I can say that four years and one IVF treatment later and I still don’t think I can answer it.
“Well, I think, um I am here for some testing, but uh, I…”
“Have a seat please.”
I turned to face a room of women just like me, well dressed, between the ages of 30 and 35, spaced throughout the waiting room in such a way that there was no way that a spontaneous conversation could start. Each woman, head buried deep in a magazine, blackberry, or briefcase, avoided eye contact with one another, as if it may cause us to be more infertile then we already were. Shame is contagious that way.
Many drugs and much drama later (that story for another day) I was sitting at a local coffee shop with an old friend and my then five month old boy/girl twins. I was lumpy all over, my body showing the signs of bed rest, bitterness and betrayal. The proprietor of the cafe, a congenial man who also dabbles in green products for the home and family, came over to talk. “There’s a Mom’s fitness group meeting in the back,” he said. “Let me introduce you to them.” He led me to the rear of the café to a group of women who screamed fitness and health. I was overwhelmed by their glow.
That’s when the running began. Mommy-Moves, led by the fearlessly fit Lori Sawyer, helped me get back into physical shape and made me believe I could be, I am, a runner. I lost the baby bulge and a little bit of baggage. However, their latest motivating mantra, “If you think you can’t run, stop thinking,” is a little ironic for me. Nothing makes me ponder like pounding the pavement.
The ultimate invention for me would be a device that could record my thoughts while I am running. I am sure that all of my insecurities, shame and sins could be fixed if only I could remember what I tell myself while I am running. For now, I will try to remember at least one: I could not make my body do the one thing that I wanted it to do, but I can make it do this. So with each step, each mile, I try to run towards truth instead of away from it.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by Amy Griffiths, a New Jersey mom.
Photo credit given to The Daily Cookie.