We all know that pregnancy alters our bodies quite a bit (and that’s an understatement!).
I mean, we carry and grow a little bean into a bigger bean for 9 months, give birth to it, and stretch our bodies in ways we never knew we could.
I always say that those stretch marks I received in my pregnancies were, ‘earning my stripes’ of motherhood.
And yes, I do believe that they are truly beautiful.
But thankfully, all the extra unattractive weight gain and discomfort that comes along with having a baby doesn’t last forever, even if it feels like it!
A lot of women like myself fall back into a healthy lifestyle and start working out again after their pregnancy, and while this can be a good thing to do, believe it or not, it can also be very bad depending on your timing! And a lot of women, don’t. It just depends on how your life presents itself after delivery.
A close friend of mine who just had a baby is already trying to get herself back in shape after just a few weeks of giving birth, and has started having immense pain. I’ve become very concerned for her, but honestly, I recognize myself and just about every other mom in the world in what she is doing…
Trying to do everything to get that body back, even when it’s not ready.
So for today’s post,
I want to discuss the importance of the oh-so dreaded body patience after having a baby, why you shouldn’t push yourself, and tips and tricks on you can still live a healthy lifestyle while you are recovering from pregnancy.
And Esther from babysandmothers has a great blog post about body hate during and after pregnancy. I totally agree with her that the first step in the whole process is understanding (check out her blog post here). If you come to actually understand the whole process your body has been through to carry and deliver a baby, you will appreciate your body no matter how it looks or feels. Please check out her blog as she has some really amazing blog posts that are uplifting for all mothers!
I share a lot about self care and self love on my blog ThinkBaby.org, but I think this whole subject of body patience after pregnancy is truly one of those areas where all us momma’s really need to slow down and take it easy on, just have a little patience with. Not just physically, but more so mentally. I’ll explain what I mean below..
The Importance of Body Patience After Pregnancy
1 ♥ Your Body Deserves The Rest
Okay, before we talk about how pushing yourself too hard can effect you in negative ways, can we talk about everything that you’ve just gone through?
You’ve spent 9 months growing a child in your belly, you had to go through an extreme amount of pain and stretch of your body to get that baby out, and now, we’re going to apply strain to ourselves yet again?
No, no, honey – these equations don’t add up!
It only makes sense that your body will need this same amount of time it went through to get to this point, if not more in order to recover back to how it used to be!
I know, I know….
I know how tempting it can be to want to slim back down and dive into a full-time gym routine again after having a baby (trust me), but right now more than anything isn’t the time for it! Now is the time that you need to:
- Put your baby first
- Give your body a break
- Put yourself second in regards to the ‘looks’ department. But put yourself first in the ‘self care’ department.
For another healthy perspective on your current fitness mindset, I can’t recommend enough, Shiro’s blog post and her blog here where she talks all about health, fitness, healthy eating, but most importantly, above all – having a healthy mindset.
Example: Just like my friend that I mentioned above, she is the perfect example of how moving too quick with exercising after pregnancy can be very dangerous. She actually ended up going to the doctor in regards to her pain and was told she may need to wait 6-12 months before she can begin her exercise routine again, as even the simplest things right now can be very difficult to do.
I know, this isn’t ideal…
And you feel pressured and anxious to get back in shape, but you need (not want or should – need) to give your body a rest, otherwise you’re going to give yourself nothing but 24/7 discomfort that could turn into something much worse.
You are incredible! You created a life! And brought it into this world.
I think you can give yourself a pass to kick back just this once?
And it’s not just about giving yourself physical rest, mental rest is important aswell. It’s just as important to take away the mental expectations you have and relax for a while. Give yourself time after you have given birth to get yourself healthy again, not just physically but mentally also.
I talk a lot on ThinkBaby about this, but another site that I regularly follow to know that what I’m feeling and going through is normal is Brittany’s blog where she talks all things mommyhood aswell as being upfront and honest about when things go wrong and how momming ain’t easy.
2 ♥ The Pain Of Impatience Is Not Worth It
I want to talk a little bit more about exactly what kind of pain this is?
Okay, I will admit that I was just like my friend once, and was pushing myself way too quickly to do harsh activities after my first pregnancy. I was an avid runner before getting pregnant, and I still thought I could be a champion star just a few days after giving birth.
Do you see my problem?
Immediately following my first exercise (and I was taking it easy!), I had a terrible jarring pain that continued for what felt like days. This pain was so severe that I had to see my doctor immediately, and let me tell you…
That 10 minutes of exercise that I did was not worth this pain!
I took my doctors advice and begun to relax more, and I was doing so very well for a few days, but as soon as I got jobs working from home on the computer, I was sitting literally all day long. This eventually started to cause me pain as well.
I can’t win, right?
And my doctor mentioned that this is another common thing that happens to women after pregnancy.
Apparently, poor posture can cause this, as it puts a lot of pressure on our tissues we just used for giving birth (basically, we’re just a big ole’ hot mess right now). My doctor recommended that I begin stretching and doing light exercises instead. But what I realized throughout my whole journey (now after 3 children) is that pushing yourself physically after pregnancy and childbirth isn’t the way to go.
More so, focusing on eating healthy should be your #1 priority and the way to get your healthy body back. Not only for your body but for your mind aswell. And as a fantastic health and fitness blogger, Denise, that I follow says, if you eat good, you feel good and you look good! You can read more about her, her exercise and nutrition advice here. I can’t recommend her enough.
My doctor also recommended to get active in a pilates course to help exercise my healing tissues and help me get back into my healthy lifestyle.
Which brings me to my next point.
3 ♥ There’s Other Ways To Do It: Pilates
I’ve honestly found that my number one way to compromise my want for my bikini body and the need to take it easy has been pilates. Pilates is lightweight, easy on our bodies, and still helps us get exercise (the healthy way).
I now attend a gym every weekend with my fellow mama’s for an awesome pilates session, and I haven’t felt any sort of strain at all (and another plus – no more bad posture! Woop, woop!).
There are actually certain exercises even specifically created for women who have struggled with this issue, and I have found them to be very effective in my future pregnancies.
Actually, getting into pilates is how I found this website Your Pregnant Core. The beautiful Alison, of Your Pregnant Core has many ways to do pilates for pregnant women, and for women who are pre and postnatal pregnancy based around their specific needs (how awesome is that?). She also talks about the pain that we frequently experience more in depth, and how to cope with it! I was astounded at all of the incredible tips and tricks I found on her page, and I just had to show her some love (thank you so much, girl!).
Like I mentioned above, patience above all must prevail after pregnancy.
Mentally you should be patient with yourself more so than being patient with your body.
Also, learn to be patient with your new life with a newborn and how your life has just drastically changed.
Why should you assume that your body can bounce back so quickly when there is so many changes that are currently going on inside of you?
I often read different blogs for inspiration and came across, Alyson’s blog, girlwithafunnyaccent.com. Her blog focuses and talks about her Apraxia journey, but she also shares insightful info about being a better person in life generally and I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from her blog posts, especially of late and her blog posts about mental health. Some of her advice and words of inspiration are really touching and make you think twice about how important it is to nurture yourself, more so mentally above all else.
Overall, there are many ways to take care of your body and work towards being healthier before pregnancy, during, and after. You just have to be willing to put yourself first, and put ‘time expectations’ aside.
Just remember, if you truly want your body to bounce back into place, you have to be patient with it and nurture it back to health just as we all do with our adorable little babies.