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Month of Mama Feature: #MOMBOSS Heather

Motherhood was not easy for me. It began with a lot of hope since my husband had just finished 6 months of chemo after being diagnosed with cancer 7 months into our marriage. We thought we were in the clear and decided we didn't want to wait any longer to start a family. Due to health issues when my husband was younger, and by the grace of God for the foresight of his parents, we knew we had to go the IVF route. We were very fortunate to get pregnant on the first round. But around the end of the first trimester as we were getting excited to start telling family and friends we found out the cancer was back. At 14 weeks we found out we were having a girl. At 20 weeks we found out I had Placenta Previa and that my husband would need a highly controversial surgery only performed by few surgeons in the country. Our world came crashing down and I think from then on is when my fear and anxiety of having to do this whole parenthood thing alone really set in. My pregnancy, for having Placenta Previa, was really very uncomplicated, but spending 2 weeks in a hospital in Philadelphia while my husband recovered from the massive surgery he'd had as well as the hospital acquired pneumonia and sepsis made things very difficult. My last trimester was spent driving all over NOVA to different emergency rooms in the middle of the night trying to get my husband the best care we could get him because he was still having so many issues recovering from his procedure. We finally decided he needed to go back to Philadelphia. So one month before our daughter's due date, we drove up to Philadelphia and spent the weekend there for him to get back on track. I did all of this while trying to work as a full-time PT. I stopped working 2 weeks before my scheduled c-section due to the fear that I would go into labor where I worked and having Placenta Previa just makes everything more complicated (I worked at a hospital in DC and was living in Leesburg at the time). I was upset initially that I had to have a c-section, but it was God's way of making sure we had some normalcy as my husband started his first round of chemo after all the recovery just a week before our daughter was born.

Looking back I definitely had postpartum anxiety and no one could blame me, I know. With the fear of my husband's health issues and doing all this alone, I felt and still feel sometimes great guilt for having thought to myself that I didn't want to pregnant anymore. Once we heard our daughter cry while only her head and shoulders were out of me, our lives changed like soooo many others. It took me a long time, though, to figure out how to weave our daughter into my every day. I decided I would stay home because of so many factors, but I honestly just felt like I couldn't handle work and the family health issues we were dealing with. I wanted to focus and dedicate my life to my family and my home because I had no idea how long I would have it all.

I found FIT4MOM relatively soon after having my daughter and I enjoyed it, but again, it was almost too much for me at the time. I couldn't figure out how to feed her and she stopped napping in the stroller. It was all soooo stressful to me and on top of all that, I didn't feel well and wasn't myself. It wasn't until my daughter dropped to one nap at 13 months that I started coming back regularly and I can honestly say FIT4MOM and all the Stroller Strides moms saved me. I started to feel more like myself again. A year after that is when I became an instructor and I haven't looked back since. FIT4MOM gave me confidence, camaraderie and the hope and the grace I had been needing. I look back and there was and is so much fear that goes into doing something you've never done before and becoming a mom requires soooo much confidence and faith that it's near impossible sometimes. But being a part of such an awesome community within our own huge NOVA community has helped me feel like if ever I have to do this whole parenthood thing alone, I wouldn't ever really be alone because I have my village and with my village I can do anything.