Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why walking the Camino is like having a baby (sort of)

If you're expecting some great introspection and philosophical musings on parenthood and Caminoing, you need to find another blog (and for that matter, another Brittany--those of you who know me know I ain't that kind of gal). But, it's summer in our house, and I'm having some major deja vu right now. See, last summer was our first as parents, and a great deal of time was spent, on my part, recovering physically from pregnancy and childbirth. Now, post camino, I am making a similar physical recovery and can't help but notice the similarities. What's horrifying is that one month of carrying Kepa on my back did what 7 months of pregnancy did. Shudder. Now, were both worth it? Absolutely. But, I noticed there were not many people in our age group walking, much less women. So, mine is a unique perspective, I think.

So, without further ado, why walking the Camino is like having a baby.

1. Lingering weight gain: Yes, I walked 500 miles and gained weight. Miraculously, it's about the same amount of weight I was left with after Kepa was born (after being pregnant for only 7 months). Back on Weight Watchers I go. However, it's not just the weight gain. My body shape changed from both dramatically. I'm left with a bigger midsection (from the fluid retention carry the pack/baby). Physically, I feel very different, and I'm sure it's going to take some time to get back to my old shape/self. I teach MWF, so that means I only need to fit into three decent looking outfits come August.

2. Foot enlargement: Again, horrifyingly enough, I actually didn't experience this with pregnancy. My shoes still fit (mostly), but my feet have swollen, flattened out, or something. I also have numbness in a few toes. I am hoping time, and some pedicures, will work this out.

3. Hunger + thirst: Yep, your metabolism goes into high gear during Caminos and pregnancy. I had both, and I am still drinking water constantly (and peeing constantly, which I did throughout my pregnancy). I am seeing a 75% success rate and not stealing food off of Kepa's plate. Check back with me.

4. Pregnancy/Camino Brain: I have a lot of stuff to do, school wise and work wise. But, my mind wanders and I come up with lists comparing the Camino de Santiago to Pregnancy, which I MUST blog. I was a babbling idiot toward the end of my pregnancy (waiting for the We are all feeling the mental shift of being off the Camino. No one can seem to focus on anything, and conversations often lead back to Camino (must like the early months of parenthood when you are all-consumed by the baby).

5. Miscellaneous Aches/Pains: Stuff hurts. Not the same stuff hurts all the time. You're asking a lot of your body, and it responds in weird ways. Most mornings was spent on the Camino comparing what hurt and what didn't versus the day before. If you were a student on mine in Spring of 2012, you should remember my complaining to you quite well (sorry about that).

So, there you have it. None of this is to say that these things were not well worth the physical demands, but these demands were surprising (in both cases).

So, just to recap:


is pretty much like doing


The good news is that our little pilgrim is VERY close to walking on his own, thus I will be retiring from being a pilgrim vessel very soon.


  1. So if walking the Camino was like being pregnant again for you, Bri, does that mean that Todd was having sympathy pains again?

    As for weight gain, Laura says that, if you hadn't lost all your baby weight when you started walking, it's possible that it turned to muscle from all the exercise, and you know muscle weighs more than the f-word.

  2. I'll defer to Todd on questions of sympathy pains (pregnancy ones, that is--he actively participated in the morning "What hurts today?" conversation).

    I had no lingering baby weight, and I lost even more when we began training, actually. Makes this particularly deja-vuish (and annoying).

    Alas, chorizo, wine, and bread (the other Spanish holy trinity) are to blame for my weight gain. Nothing more, nothing less. Some of it IS muscle. But, more of it is chorizo. :-( Some of it has also come off already. It was somewhat unavoidable. We were ALL starving pretty much all the time. There were times where it felt like you could feel your body burning the calories like fuel. Early on, we weren't eating enough breakfast and were falling down with hunger by 10 am.

    Todd lost 10lbs. I hate men.