So I am in full out nesting and baby-prep mode. Last night after teaching I came home and took the girls on a walk. During the walk I was so uncomfortable. I was having a lot of cramping, stomach discomfort and nausea. I ended up cutting our walk short and headed home to take a hot shower. It lit the fire under me to finally get my hospital bag packed…which has spiraled into all sorts of shopping and projects today.
Clearly, I did not go into labor last night but all that cramping really freaked me out. I saw my doctor this morning for my weekly appointment and he said that the cramping is a great sign that things are progressing. He checked me and I’m still at 80% effaced but not dilated so he told me to stay active, keep walking and get this baby moving. 🙂
I spent a solid hour at Target this morning buying more loose and loungy clothes for after delivery, diapers, pads for me, baby clothes, baby hats, baby socks, baby body wash, lamps for the den and nursery and more. I will totally admit that I had tears in my eyes while I was in the diaper aisle. All the feels, all the hormones. It’s all SO real at this point.
This afternoon I have straightened the house, put together furniture for the nursery, ordered things like changing pad covers and baby thermometers from Amazon and more. The burst of nesting energy is for real! I’m even tempted to bathe the dogs!
I know I promised that this wouldn’t become a baby blog, and I still hold to that, but pardon me at this juncture because it’s all I can think about right now!
Since we’re talking baby again today, I wanted to spend some time talking about my postpartum fitness plan.
MY POSTPARTUM FITNESS PLAN
(All photos in this post Scott Broome Photography)
It might come as a surprise to some of you for me to share that the overall theme to my return to fitness after the baby is going to be graceful, gentle and slow.
Most of you know that I took a prenatal yoga teacher training course last summer and it totally changed my perspective on so many things when it comes to honoring my body as a woman.
In regards to recovering from childbirth, it really shifted me into a place of wanting to make my primary emphasis resting, recovering, bonding with the baby and getting a strong breastfeeding relationship established.
In those first weeks home from the hospital I want to spend as much time as I can resting with baby and doing skin-to-skin as we try to get to know each other and figure out this whole feeding thing and doing life together. My prenatal teacher training lead encouraged us to spend as much time as possible in bed with baby in that first week home from the hospital to truly let our bodies heal and to soak up baby. I will be totally okay with living in PJs for a week or two! 🙂
I think the thing that “woke me up” the most in regards to postnatal fitness was seeing a graphic of how much space baby takes up in the womb and how much all of your internal organs move, shift and get smushed to accommodate the baby. Thinking that your body wouldn’t need a lot of time to recover from this seemed completely crazy to me….even just from a perspective of things getting settled back in their right places.
I admit that my idea of postnatal fitness prior to this training was, “why not get back to it after 4-6 weeks if your doctor says it’s fine?” I believe that the fitness industry as well as social media puts a lot of emphasis on getting back to high-intensity workouts, long runs and pre-baby bodies on a timeline that is not realistic or healthy for most women.
That said, I did work with quite a few postnatal clients when I was personal training (both c-section and vaginal deliveries) and learned so much from them. It was interesting to see how different everyone’s return to fitness was, even when they all worked out with me and had similar activity levels leading up to delivery. I believe that every woman’s postpartum recovery is different and there can’t be a prescribed time on when to start doing what.
While some women might be able to run with no problems at 4-6 weeks postpartum, others might need 3-6 months! What feels good for one woman might feel absolutely wrong for another. Just like pregnancy fitness, I think post-pregnancy fitness is all about LISTENING to your body and what it’s telling you about what you are and are not ready for.
I will never forget one of my friends sharing the following with me after her first hot yoga class back after the birth of her son.
“I cried. Man that first call was hard. And I don’t like complaining but I don’t know why I was thinking that I was going to come back and press up to handstand, I really was!!! Ha! I was feeling really strong, but nope. My arms and legs were shaky. I was tired and the shit I was saying to myself during class…It wasn’t until the very end when the teacher said ‘be grateful for your strong and healthy body’ that I stopped and thought it was okay to feel like a beginner again.”
I LOVE THIS. It resonated SO MUCH with me! It is TOTALLY okay to take steps back in your fitness journey and even to feel like a beginner again. Growing a human life in your body for 40 (or more!) weeks and the experience of childbirth is a FREAKING MIRACLE! We need to give ourselves, our bodies and our emotions so much credit for this.
I am not going to say “I’m going to take X amount of time off” because I don’t know what it’s going to look like or what I’ll feel up to. I will definitely take a minimum of six weeks to recover followed by a very slow and intentional return back. I will most definitely be visiting a PT that specializes in pelvic floor work and adhere to the overall mindset of building things back from the ground up. I want to stay safe, healthy and injury-free.
It’s no secret that exercise and moving my body is one of the ways I best deal with stress and anxiety so I hope to walk a good bit with the girls and baby boy after the first couple of weeks. I’ve also been working to spend time in the mornings sitting in meditation, practicing breath work and reading daily meditation books to help me with grounding and balancing in a way that isn’t so physical.
And finally, I want to talk about body changes. I have been working to set very realistic expectations about what my body will look like and feel like after childbirth. I know that things will be different, and some might never be 100% the same, but I’m also shifting into a whole new stage of life that I know will shift my perspective in so many ways. Again, I plan to give myself grace when it comes to the physical appearance of my body and not to set any specific goals or expectations around any sort of “pre-baby body.” Will it be mentally challenging at times? Yes, I’m sure it will be. But I also know that this little guy is going to be MORE than worth it. <3
My primary focus postpartum will be on being this baby boy’s mom, getting to know him, being present for him and prioritizing breastfeeding. I have all the time in the world to get back to fitness.
Wow, I just wrote a lot more than I intended but it’s a subject that I feel really passionately about.
APRIL WORKOUT PLAYLIST
One more thing…I did put together an April Workout Playlist for you guys on Spotify! So for those of you who are hitting the gym or lacing up your running shoes, here’s a fun playlist to sweat to.
Here’s the link to the playlist on Spotify.
What did your return to fitness look like after having babies?
What was the most challenging part of postpartum fitness when you did return? Was it feeling like you were “starting over?” Finding time? Pain or injuries? Etc?
How did you deal with postpartum body changes? How long did it take for you to feel like “you” again?