It’s amazing how the birth of a child will change your priorities. For 10 years I had been living in denial–refusing to embrace my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Even though each and every day was filled with challenges and physical limitations, I hid from the truth, and in turn robbed myself from the opportunity of a “normal” life.
The day my son was born, something awoke inside of me. I found an inner strength–an instinctual desire to protect and provide for my son. It was clear that I had to face my demons, and accept my diagnosis. It was time to stop focusing on “why me” and “this isn’t fair”, and start to accept the fact that my body is not like everyone else’s. This body is mine, these challenges are mine, and the path I have to walk in order to overcome will have to be mine too.
Now I know, that only I have the power to overcome the obstacles that MS has laid out for my life. It’s not a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of sheer will. It doesn’t matter how easy it is for other people to exercise, to balance on one foot, or even walk in high heels. This body that I have is mine, and if I want to take back control of my life, then I have to run harder and further than “normal” in order to simply walk straight, I have to do ten times the normal amount of calf raises in order to stand on my tippy toes, and I have to build up 100 times the normal endurance in order to stay strong enough to go through the motions of a regular motherhood–which I have desired more than anything.
It’s hard to do this on your own. I tried DVD’s at home, memberships at the local fitness center, and running down the greenbelt with my son in the stroller. But I’m just not good at doing this on my own, and the routine would never last more than a couple weeks. I just needed more than the exercise, I needed accountability and support. If raising a child takes a village, then supporting a mother must take a tribe.
So, I found Stroller Strides. What an amazing group of women. It’s more than just a workout. I have found a level of support that I never thought possible. The instructors work around my physical limitations, and help me creatively approach exercises that I could never follow with the DVDs. To top it all off, the accountability from other moms and the relationships created within my tribe give me a reason to wake up every morning and continue to show up.
Since joining Stroller Strides, I simply feel better. It’s easy to take for granted the simple things in life. Most women don’t think twice about throwing on a pair of heels and going about the day. It’s easy to take balance for granted, but imagine the impact in daily life for those without balance. Let me tell you that being able to stand on my tippy toes, for the first time in 10 years, and reach something from the top shelf in the kitchen is a major milestone in my battle with MS. This type of improvement has a direct impact on my quality of life. Accomplishing these milestones is a way of showing MS that this body is mine, I own it, and I have the strength to overcome limitations if I’m willing to work hard enough.
Thanks to Stroller Strides, even my neurologist is blown away by the improvements in my MRI scans, my physical strength, and most of all my balance. But it doesn’t stop there. Stroller Strides is a means to so much more than just physical health. It’s a brand new lifestyle. I am truly happier–with my body, my quality of life, and at home with the family.
Stroller Strides has opened the door to the motherhood I have always wanted. I never thought that my body would allow me to keep up with a wild 2 year old, yet I’m by his side through whatever adventure the day might bring. I never thought I could lift a 35 lb kid without losing my balance and hurting both of us, but I’m actually able to hold and hug my son. I never thought that I could commit to a regular workout routine, but the amazing women of Stroller Strides have the most powerful encouragement. I never thought I could fight through the fatigue of my condition, but I am now capable of keeping up with a 2 year old… and I’m pretty sure that’s an accomplishment for any mom. This body is mine, this journey is mine, and Stroller Strides is now the foundation of my healthy lifestyle.
Join Meghan and her family, friends and FIT4MOM tribe, for the MS Walk on May 5 in City Park. Click here to donate or join her team!