Jordan. Welcome to the world, little boy. It seems a while ago since our baby was born, but time has really flown by. I can’t actually believe that Jordy is already three months old. It is pretty amazing looking at him now, watching him develop, and to see changes in him almost every day. Time has suddenly become very precious. One of the biggest changes for me is that I no longer have the same amount of time to myself.
I always used to have to be very structured and organised to be able to get 2 to 3 training sessions in every day. Now it is all about trying to structure my day so I can hopefully still get a 1 to 2-hour slot to myself, in the battle to stay fit and active. I have a new appreciation for just how quickly time passes when I see how much a little baby changes in just a few weeks.
Back to the beginning. Jordan was born on the 21st of December. At 9:21 on that Wednesday morning, our lives changed instantly. We went into the hospital as an independent, active, freedom loving couple, with little idea about how to care for a baby. We came out as parents. Crazy.
I still look in awe at our little boy, and can’t quite believe that he is our son. The words Mum and Dad still sound very foreign and a bit unreal to me. It’s funny, I always used to say to Rob that people with kids somehow looked older or more mature and I am wondering, if the same thing counts for us now as well. Do I look and act different now, from what I looked three months ago? I pretty much still feel the same, with one big difference, that I suddenly have another person on my mind 24 hours a day.
It’s hard to describe, but the second Jordy was born, I became overwhelmed by this feeling of love for this little bundle. You look at the small innocent and dependent baby and all you want to do is care for him and do everything in your ability to protect, love and be there for him. That feeling just strengthens by the day, and I couldn’t imagine a day without him.
It’s funny though, what it does to you. Suddenly, you don’t mind anymore when you get pooped and peed on, or have got dribble and vomit all over you. For some reason, I even cope with the lack of sleep very well. Before, I was a grumpy bugger when I didn’t get the 9 hours of sleep that I felt I needed to function as an athlete. Now, I feel energized and ready for the day, even with only three hour blocks of sleep at a time.
One key reason for why I seem to have coped quite well so far, is that I have kept up a good balance. I make sure that I take at least an hour a day for myself. I am fortunate that I have the support of Rob, as well as family and close friends which enables me to do this.
To be honest, it has been, and still is a big battle for me every time I get out the door and leave Jordy behind. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but leaving him behind, even for an hour while he is asleep, is so hard and makes me feel guilty. The first couple of times I left the house, I called Rob or my mum every ten minutes to make sure he was alright. This was a big shift for me, someone who was accustomed to being out training on my own for six to seven hours at a time. I do know though, when I wouldn’t force myself to take that time out, I wouldn’t be able to cope as well and wouldn’t be able to be the best possible mum for Jordy.
As soon as I get out and do my exercise, it doesn’t matter how hard the day has been and how much Jordy has been crying, I feel the energy coming back. It is amazing what a difference it makes.
For me, this is a really important transition. My job, before I had Jordan, was that of a professional athlete. For me, getting back into training is, in effect, like returning to work. I am only easing back into it but, ultimately this is what I do and this is what I love. The by-product is that I will hopefully be a fit and healthy mum and be able to introduce a little boy into an active and fun lifestyle. Nothing re-energises me more, and prepares me better for any amount of screaming, spewing, pissing and pooing a baby can do, than a 1 hour run in the hills around home.
During my pregnancy, I was lucky to have no complications and was able to work very hard at staying fit and active. I think I am really benefiting from this now. As soon as I had recovered from the birth, I was out there. It was a slow progress at the beginning and I had to be very patient, but eventually my fitness did come back.
I am an athlete by heart and that is what I have been doing for the last twelve years. My goal is to get back into my sport in some way. My first priority is Jordy and I will never compromise that, but I believe I can balance it right and there is a path back into the sport. During my years competing in Ironman, I was lucky to come across some amazing women who managed to return to the sport and be competitive at the highest level after having a baby. Even though, my plans might not be to go back into Long Distance Triathlon, this has given me motivation and belief that it is possible if you really want it.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. I had a little setback a week or so ago with a crash off my mountain bike and some cracked ribs as a result. Before this I was back to running, riding or swimming daily, only for 1-2 hours a day, often running with Jordy in a buggy. It has been amazing to see, how quickly my fitness has come back. I will see, what the next months will bring.
I am open minded and flexible and I believe you have to be as a new mum, but I do have a few ideas and goals in the back of my head. I am definitely looking ahead excited at what the future may bring with our new family, and who knows what kind of adventures I will embark on in the sporting world. There are so many possibilities out there as long as you look at it as what you “can” do with a little baby instead of what you “can’t” do because of a baby.
What is amazing is that the most normal and natural thing in life is also the most unbelievable and amazing experience, capped with emotion at a level that can’t be compared to anything else, at least nothing that I have experienced in life to date. Bringing a child into the world is an incredibly leveling experience. All of a sudden the little things that would have perhaps stressed you previously, now don’t even register. You see your achievements in a different light, gain a new clarity and appreciate them more, maybe because it is part of accepting that they are now cemented into a different phase of life. Not to say that they become insignificant, in fact the opposite.
My number one priority in life is no longer trying to do better times in training, no longer striving for new records, bigger victories, higher rankings. Rather, I feel a measure of contentment and satisfaction in what I have achieved as an athlete. I can see much more clearly some of the mistakes that I made and now the lessons learned from these become even more valuable.
What is clear, is that I still love being an athlete, testing myself, pushing myself, trying to be stronger, faster, better. Whether I actually race again competitively is another question, because as much as I love being an athlete, I also love being a mum.
Thank you very much to all my Sponsors and especially USANA for continuously supporting me to make sure Jordy and I get all the right vitamins and nutrients to be able to keep living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Written by Britta Martin
Team USANA Triathlon athlete