In my pre-pregnancy life, I was an avid Soul Cyclist. I rode at least five times a week- particularly in the year leading up to my pregnancy, during which fertility treatments wreaked havoc on my mind and body.  Riding was my therapy, keeping me strong both mentally and physically for the journey ahead.

It became part of my every day routine, and I had so badly wanted to be one of those little pregnant women that happily pedaled all the way into their third trimester.  So when complications kept me from riding throughout my pregnancy, it was challenging. I was frustrated with my body, now so foreign to me; and struggled to find an alternative outlet to ease my anxieties. I walked and practiced yoga, but it just wasn't the same.

So to say I was excited to get back into that candlelit room would be a wild understatement. It took only a mere ten months, but this weekend I finally got the chance to get back to Soul- to take those few pedal strokes to feeling like my "old self." I was nervous and excited all at once. My anxieties were plenty: Did I get so out of shape over the past ten months that I would feel discouraged and resent my body?  Could I last through those lengthy runs out of the saddle? Would I cry at the fact that I no longer deserved a seat in the front row?  Would I embarrass myself?

Surprisingly, almost a year of near bed rest hadn't left me in such bad shape.  Instead, getting back on the bike was, for lack of better words, just like riding a bike.  No, I couldn't last through the instructor's runs out of the saddle. Yes, I was out of breath; and my heart hurt a little that I wasn't in the front row {I will ride you again, bike 8}.  But I didn't embarrass myself. In fact, after panting and sweating through hills, runs and tap-backs, I found that I excelled in the one part of class where I had previously struggled- weights. 

Turns out, carrying a baby around for seven weeks will keep your arms strong, and maybe even make them a little stronger than before. With each hammer curl, it occurred to me that the little girl who's pregnancy had kept me from the bike was the very reason those weights felt comfortable in my hands. Picking her up, holding her and carrying her has kept me strong, while simultaneously making her feel loved and safe. 

Will I ever sprint front row like I did before? Probably... With time. Will my body be the same as it was before? I don’t know, but I’m not sure it's supposed to be. Will I ever get back to "my old self"? Probably not. But I don't want to. This new chapter seems to call for a new version- purposeful and strong in a different, more important way. And, so far, it feels pretty good to me.