One Mother's Story

23 June 2016


I am a new mom to a sweet, bright, and happy eight month old (nursing) baby girl. I remember my husband Justin looking at me after a few months in my new role as a mother and asking, "How does it feel to have sustained the life of our daughter for three months with only nursing her?” Without hesitation I said, "Tired." I'm certain that for those three months of nursing I never got any deep sleep. It started feeling like I was dreaming of dreaming. Struggling to stay awake, I bought myself a fancy new espresso machine and began making drinks full of sugary syrups and caffeine on the daily just to keep my energy up. To top it off, I'd take a lap through the drive thru at least once a day, sometimes twice. I just didn't want to cook (mainly because I just could not fathom expending any more energy to clean the mess that follows). I was simply getting by. I needed a change. I was just unclear of what the catalyst for that change would be.

Then, I went shopping for my first post-baby bathing suit, alone.

I was determined to get a one piece this year. I tried on about ten bathing suits looking for a cute style and pattern... something that said “Paige” without saying “is a mom”. Then I caught myself- what does my style have to do with me being a mom, and what is so wrong about it if it did scream “Paige is a mom”? I was stuck between the pride I felt being a new mom to a beautiful baby girl and what it “means” in our society to be a 25 year old female shopping for a bathing suit. The “mirror of truth” is a hard thing to face, especially after having a child. I had never cared before about what my body looked like or what people thought about me. All I cared about is that I felt good. I searched all day for something that made me feel the same confidence I had felt all those times before when I would search for a new bathing suit, but that same feeling was hard to find. I realized I was searching for something that would make me feel physically good when really what I needed was something that made me feel mentally good. I felt the way I did all those other times because mentally I was ready for anything. I had a sense of self that nothing could shake, not even how I looked in a bathing suit. I had spent countless hours keeping my infant alive and stimulated- afraid of her getting too much sun, worried about her getting sick, nervous that someone else couldn't be trusted with her- the reasons why I was not taking care of myself go on and on. I needed to improve the quality of my life, for my family.

I wanted sunshine. I needed help with Amelia. I love fitness and physical challenges. I had been searching for a pool. I needed a sense of community. I knew exactly what I needed.
Enter the Y. I had heard from my friends for months that the Y was a positive and life changing place. I had asked questions periodically about the tangible benefits of Y membership- the unlimited group fitness classes, the fact that I could go to any Y I wanted, the pools, the free babysitting! They sold me; I had just not sold myself.

The day after my bathing suit epiphany, I walked into the Blocker Family YMCA, joined, and checked Amelia into childcare.

What I got next is the break I had been waiting for- two hours of freedom, for myself and Amelia. I got 120 minutes of uninterrupted “me time” and Amelia got to hear new voices and see new faces. At that point it didn't matter what I was doing. I could have sat in the lobby and found peace and joy in that. But I worked out. And it felt great to have sweat dripping down my face and it not being from the steam from my espresso machine. I was getting my well-being back. When I had enough, I took my time in the locker room. I was thrilled to shower in peace with no pressure to get back to Amelia, or to have to vigilantly watch her in her jumper from the shower while trying not to get soap in my eyes. She was being taken care of by trained and thoughtful staff. Isn't it funny how quickly the little things add up and help us realize what we really need? It was fantastic. I was in the best mood. Some time for me. I was raving over the phone to my husband and he was elated to hear how happy I was.

The next day, Amelia and I spent five hours at the Great Bridge/Hickory location doing any and everything I could think to do. The day after that, we checked out the Mt. Trashmore location. The day after that The Y on Granby was on our agenda. Hopping around and experiencing all of the equipment and staff members at the different locations is a much needed change of pace for me and my daughter. Visions of Yoga classes with my husband, pool time with my little, and feeling mentally stronger because of the “me time” and physical activity I get at the Y has left me feeling thankful and relieved.

My days have shifted from sitting around my house in a daze, running to the drive thru, wishing I had something to do and somewhere to be, to organizing my day around a trip to the Y- or maybe two trips! I'm grateful for the fun and safe environment that I find at every location. I feel fantastic, my family is healthier, and overall we are continuously positively impacted by the programs and people that make up the Y. This is where I needed to be all along.