Note: You can find the column I wrote about this post, one year later, here

Dear Body,
What an incredible year it’s been! Last year at this time, you were growing a tiny person inside of you. I hope you’ll never forget the feeling of little feet pressing up against your belly, the sensation of never being alone—even at your quietest moments, or the experience of emerging from a swimming pool and suddenly feeling like a beached whale. 🙂

Body, you were a rockstar during labor and delivery. I trusted you to handle the pain of a natural childbirth, since you’d been there once before, but you totally impressed me by your strength the second time around. The next time you think you can’t do something or any time you second-guess yourself, I hope you’ll remember 11:11 am on June 16. That was all you!

During those first few months of Mateusz’s life, you were a workhorse. There were days, I’m sure, when you felt more like an animal than a person. You conquered sleep-deprived nights, an awful bout with mastitis and some yucky stuff I won’t describe in detail. At times, I wanted to trade you in for a less rundown, less squishy model (one that could take me on a run or look sexy in a tank top), but you were exactly what I needed at that time.

Then you got the green light to start moving again. I figured that since you had no problems after Dariusz was born, you’d be up for anything. I learned pretty quickly, however, that things weren’t quite the same. Somehow your abs didn’t have the umph that they once had.  Running was interesting. For the first time, you found out what a sports bra is for. And God forbid, something make me sneeze—what the heck? You made me realize that I needed to adjust my “plans” and that in fact, my plans might not be entirely up to me. I had to leave my ego behind me and get back to the basics with working out.

I struggled with my expectations of returning you to your pre-pregnancy shape.  I was annoyed that you couldn’t move the way I wanted to move, but also that you needed to eat SO much. But every time I considered cutting calories, you reminded me that you still have a HUGE job. I’d look at my happy, healthy, squishy baby and we’d be back on good terms.

We’re still kind of going through this, aren’t we? I’ll push a little too hard, and you’ll come back and teach me a lesson. Lately I’m listening to you sooner and it seems to be working out.

I’m learning to accept and embrace a new version of you, rather than comparing you to the body you were two years ago or anytime before that. So much has changed about both of us over the years. You’ve been with me since I was a chubby baby; a skinny and uncoordinated pre-teen; a pudgy product of the college bar scene; an injury-ridden runner; a woman on a mission to get strong; and of course, now a mom of two beautiful boys.

Someday, I might spoil you with daily strength-training sessions or weekly long runs—and you might respond with a half-marathon PR or rock-solid abs.  And someday, we’ll be doing Silver Sneakers workouts at a community center, and I’ll just be grateful you can still squat.

Dear body, you’ve brought me this far, here’s to the long haul!