I ran in my 4th marathon this Fall. Coincidentally, that happened shortly after the four year anniversary of my postpartum PTSD, and the phone call that changed the course of my recovery. Four years ago, I was about 13 weeks postpartum from a very high-risk pregnancy and traumatic birth which was filled with uncertainty about the outcome for both my son and me.
At three weeks postpartum I began to have flashbacks, anxiety attacks, and mood swings. I became a shell of myself and I didn’t know what was happening. My husband, at a loss, assisted me in finding help. As I began therapy, my PTSD initially seemed to get worse. Flashbacks were intense; nightmares and cold sweats happened almost every night. I would find myself agitated and angry for no reason, spontaneously crying, or wanting to leave everything behind to find some peace.
That Fateful Call
On a September afternoon, my cell phone rang. I picked up the phone and my sister was on the other end. She was cheerful, and I on the other end, very sad. It was what she asked me in the phone call that prevented me from quitting. Quitting on myself. It kept me from wanting to run away from everything.
She simply asked me to run a half marathon with her in the Spring.
As a former college track and field athlete, running was my passion. It was my outlet. However, the pregnancy, the birth, and the immediate postpartum recovery shattered my confidence in my body. I no longer trusted my body and felt that it had completely failed me. I lost all motivation to move or challenge myself.
But a quiet, tiny voice inside me somehow took over and meekly answered, “Yes.” I do not remember the rest of the call because I immediately began panicking and letting the self-doubt of my new commitment creep in.
Finding the Strength
But the hardest part for me was what came next – starting to train. The first run was the toughest run of my life (mentally). The first step seemed natural, but every step that followed was a struggle. I quit, I cried, and at one point I just sat down to breathe. While I sat on the ground, that teeny tiny voice inside said, “You are worth it.” I stood up and attempted to start again. It wasn’t a pretty run, and many others that followed were slow and painful, but what happened was that my tiny voice inside got stronger.
Kathrine Bright is an entrepreneur whose business empowers moms in all stages of life through fitness and nutrition in Malvern, Pennsylvania. When she is not running or working with clients, she is spending time with her two young sons and husband. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook @katfitstudios.