When my husband Lewis and I discussed the possibilities of getting pregnant, the things that filled our minds and discussions revolved around finances, sacrifice of our "DINK" lifestyle (double income no kids), nursery layouts, and all stuff baby. Never once did I stop and ponder the changes that a baby would bring to our friend base and identity.
Nine months of pregnancy were filled with the joy of every kick, doctor appointments, saving money, and pure joy. We couldn't WAIT to welcome Bennett into the world. I worried as most do about the kind of Mommy I would be and whether or not to work or stay at home. But otherwise, my eyes were set on the prize and with baby showers and congratulations around every corner; I never once pondered how life as a Mom would be much different other than having Bennett with us.
Shortly before Bennett was born, we made a huge decision. That decision was for me to quit my full-time job in the corporate world and be a stay at home Mom. This was something I had dreamed and prayed for my whole life...and it was finally going to come true at the age of 28. We knew corners would be cut and sacrifices made, but being home raising our little boy made all of that easy.
Once Bennett was born, I was almost immediately thrown into the depths of post-partum depression. I second guessed myself at every moment and truly felt incapable of being a good Mom. Part of my anxiety and depression came from knowing and internalizing that my entire life and my identity since entering the working world was turned upside down. I had very few Mommy friends who stayed home. Days at home were tiring and sad for me without any adult interaction. I missed my work friends and my other friends who worked 9-5.
A few months in, a friend in Atlanta mentioned that I should check out Stroller Strides because one was in my area. I debated being able to work out and be a Mom at the same time. She assured me that some of her best friends, years later, were Moms and babies she met through this outlet. Hesitantly, I went to a class, invited my one Mommy friend, and instantly clicked with Heather (owner/operator). I met lots of Moms who were in the same position I was in. Working women turned stay at home Moms.
A few months in, my depression medications were working. But, it was more than that. I had found a group of Mommies and babies that Bennett and I worked out with twice a week. Beyond that, I had formed so many new friendships and play dates multiple times a week kept all of us sane, feeling a part of something more than just the four walls of our houses, and truly, a community had been made.
Now, 13.5 months after I was questioning if I would ever enjoy staying at home or if I would always be lonely, our lives are filled with laughter, crying, new milestones, and celebrations on a weekly basis. Recently, we celebrated Bennett's first birthday with 61 people. After the party, I realized that everyone at that party was from Stroller Strides other than a handful of people. If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what will.
Thanks to Stroller Strides, Bennett and I have thrived and are loving life with our friends and still go every Tuesday and Thursday to work out and "play out". Without this amazing environment, I am positive we wouldn't have such a fantastic support system. So if you are on the fence about trying out classes free for a week, I would say don't walk but run to the next class! Bennett and I can't wait to meet you and welcome you into our "family"!