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Runner's Bump series: Learning to let go

Posted by Lara Salahi  January 15, 2014 12:57 PM

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Caitlin Hurley of Bedford, Mass., has two children ages 5 and 8 and is pregnant with her third. She ran until 7 1/2 months into her pregnancy with her first two children and is planning on doing the same with her third, depending on how she feels.She ran the 2013 Boston Marathon in 2:58, and her next finish line will be delivering her baby late July 2014.  Each week she'll document her progress on Ultra Sound Pregnancy.

The Runner's Bump series documents one woman's pregnancy journey and her commitment to maintaining and healthy and responsible level of fitness with clearance from her physician. The views expressed are not meant to offer medical advice. Pregnant women should consult their own physician about appropriate physical activities based on their pregnancy status. 

My husband recently left for a week to Rome and I sent him, a notorious light packer (he's been known to travel internationally with nothing but a change of underwear and a toothbrush), with a suitcase full of clothes in anticipation of our move to Italy in August that I deemed "unable to wear until after the baby is born and then knows who long?" It was an oddly difficult process, going through my clothes and imagining what will fit me in a few months time. Skinny jeans, dresses, form fitting tops and most of my shorts were neatly folded and packed with sad finality. It seems silly but it felt in a strange way like saying goodbye to old, trusted friends. Running clothes weren't much easier, but it is clear that my already tight running tanks and teeny Athleta running shorts aren't going to work for me for a long time.  I kept a few items that most likely won't fit but somehow I couldn't let them go. I rationalized that a pair of jean shorts that have always hung low may possibly fit below my belly. I kept a couple of cute tank tops that I imagined wearing postpartum, when the reality is we'll only be here three weeks before moving to Rome and there is no way I'll be able to fit into those tanks so soon after having the baby. Get over it, I told myself. But they are still hanging in my closet, waiting to be worn.

A big part of pregnancy is letting go, not only of our favorite clothes (for a little while at least), but of our bodies, our expectations for ourselves and who we are as women. It helps put all that in perspective.  As a runner I am used to having a lot of control over my body, and a certain amount of self identity is wrapped up in that image of myself as a strong, lean runner. Packing my clothes was difficult not so much because I can't live without them, but because it was a symbolic act of releasing myself as an individual and acknowledging that my body is going to change dramatically for the next several months. While of course I knew that on an intellectual level, the act of sorting through clothing made it more present and real than it had been when all of my clothes were at my disposal in my drawers and closets.  And those jean shorts and tanks, sure there is no way I'll be wearing them anytime soon, but they are a piece of my former (and future) self that I just had to hold on to. 

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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