“Your body isn’t broken. God just needs to show you how it works. His ways are not harsh, sharp or pressing. May God show you the kinder way that leads you to the real and free you.”
– Alisa Keeton
I feel like the title of this post is misleading because my fitness plan for this year has very little to do with what most people consider fitness. By that, I mean that I’m not signing up for a Spartan Race (although that’s on my Fitness Bucket List), vowing to pick up a new fitness related hobby, or even joining my local Y again. Not that there’s anything wrong with these options. They’re just not right for me. At least not right now.
You see, I carried my twin boys to 37 weeks and 1 day. That’s full term for twins. And they could have gone the full 40 weeks if I hadn’t been in such excruciating pain. But I was. So much so that I begged my doctors to take them before 37 weeks to no avail. One doctor told me, “I have three patients under my care. Two of them are content as can be. Healthy and happy. The other is miserable.” Can you guess which one was me?
They broke me. Or at least that’s what it feels like.
I honestly have no idea how my body managed to carry them for 37 weeks. You’d wonder the same if you saw me in person. My frame is tiny and I have a very short torso. I am grateful that my body took such good care of my babies, but whatever it did to accomplish that feat has left me in constant discomfort and pain.
The pain has decreased over the years. I couldn’t sleep the first several weeks after the boys were born. Initially it was because I had no idea how to care for two infants. But even after I got a handle on their sleep schedule, I couldn’t fall asleep because the pain in my hips kept me up in tears. The pain became manageable after several weeks of working with a chiropractor. During one of my visits last year, she explained that due to muscle memory my body was returning right back to how it held itself during pregnancy. I heard this and accepted that my movement would be limited and pain would just be a part of my everyday experience.
Then I went to Arizona in November to complete my Revelation Wellness instructor training and that was no longer enough. God showed me how that settling for a life of pain wasn’t really living. At least not the abundant life He offers.
He spoke healing over me. So healing and restoration is what I’m aiming for this year.
In December I visited a new chiropractor. During the initial visit he said I was a “hot mess”. I smiled, nodded, and said “I know”. But I really had no idea just how much of a hot mess until he went over my X-rays with me a couple of weeks later. I won’t pretend to remember all the medical jargon, but here’s what I do remember = my hips aren’t leveled, and one leg is longer than the other because of it, my head rests almost two inches forward from where it should, and I have 97% less curvature at the top of my spine than I should.
While I found his rehabilitative methods promising, driving to his office twice a week wasn’t realistic for my schedule. But I didn’t give up on healing and found a physical therapy practice closer to me. The therapist who worked with me the second half of my visit asked how I injured myself. I told her that I had twins. She smiled, laughed, and told me that she’s an identical twin . During her evaluation she told me that I was “a train wreck”. I smiled, nodded, and said “I know”. She confirmed everything that both chiropractors had told me, and explained how and why in more detail. She also told me that with work I could restore my body to its pre-pregnancy alignment.
Knowing how messed up I am could be discouraging. But my experience has actually been the opposite. It’s been encouraging and motivating. It means that while I may never “bounce back” to my pre-twins body, I can – and will heal. I may never rock a two piece again, but I will be able to exercise without the fear that I’m making things worse. It’s going to take several weeks of physical therapy, maybe even months, but I will retrain my muscles to hold my body the way they did before I carried the twins.
Healing and restoration are my fitness plan for 2017. Who knows, maybe this time next year I’ll be signing up for a Spartan Race.