Walking is my exercise of choice. I have finally reached this conclusion after coming to terms with the fact that I can’t afford (and am maybe a little too embarrassed) to figure skate anymore, I’m not a runner (though I once hilariously convinced myself otherwise for the better part of a year), and group classes are just not for me (choreography with strangers – UGH). There is a problem with this, though: I only really like to walk outside. Living in Connecticut, this clearly means that I alternate between being a couch potato and suffering at the gym for many months out of the year. Walkability was actually a big draw for us when we bought our house last spring. We loved the idea of living in a quiet, adorable neighborhood with sidewalks that actually lead to things.
What we didn’t realize is that there is a little bit of quirk in the Norwalk sidewalks. There must be some kind of city ordinance or something because on many of the side streets, they suddenly and inexplicably just end after a couple hundred yards. Even on a dead end street, the sidewalk will run out like 3 houses from the end – it’s the weirdest thing! This was just not working for me when I was pregnant. I was not into taking my big belly into traffic, and so walking outside was no fun for me, making my way maybe the equivalent of a city block down every side street before having to turn around. I use the Map My Run app to track my walks, and my excursions all ended up looking something like a hair comb! It wasn’t good.
It was on one of these frustrating walks that I happened upon a track! It is nothing fancy – gravel, oddly-shaped, and with a baseball field in the middle (nothing like the sound of metal bat on ball to really make a pregnant lady startle). But it is also partially shaded, frequented by families, and just a lovely, calming place to be, and I ended up
waddling walking there most days during my pregnancy. I would throw on my beloved calf-length maternity leggings, throw in my ear buds tuned to my favorite pregnancy podcast, and be off. It was a time I really cherished, to be alone in my thoughts with the full knowledge that my life was about to change in big, amazing, and scary ways. It was my daily time designated solely to thinking about pregnancy and baby, and I think it was really important for me to have that. I always saw myself being back at the track with my baby in a carriage one day, though at the time it was impossible for me to envision what life would be like at that point.
This beautiful weekend I finally made it back to my favorite walking place. The weather and conditions were so similar to the last time I was there in late September that, in a way, it was a little Twilight Zone-ish. I think on my last walk I was on a birth stories kick and was likely listening about someone’s C-section or drug free birth, whereas this time I listened to my 5-month-old talk and coo to herself. But like pretty much everything I have gotten to experience again after baby, it was also really comforting to me to be back there. It’s more evidence that I am now still the same person, getting to do the same things I did before. Walking those same curves, hearing the same crack of metal bats and once again dodging runners and little bikes with training wheels, I realize that my circumstances have changed, but I am still the same, still myself. No longer holding my pregnant belly but instead gripping my jogging stroller, once again alone in my thoughts. I’m not sure why I thought that I wouldn’t be the same, but things just got so turned upside-down for a while that I’m relieved to feel like I’m back again, a member of the human race. Walking this weekend was like therapy. I’m happy to be back to my old routine and am hopeful that I’ll keep it up! I think that will be good for me.