The first time I was pregnant I really pushed myself to stay in shape. I ate healthy, I kept up my workout routine exactly as it had been before my pregnancy, and naturally I was excited to “have my body back” after pregnancy. But as soon as the baby came out quelle horreur I still looked about 5 months pregnant. I tried to ignore my body and focus on my baby since it takes time for your uterus to shrink back down and for all the extra fluids to leave your body, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
By the time I was a week postpartum I was feeling pretty good about the way I looked but then I was hit by another blow– the girdle I bought to help shrink my belly wouldn’t even fasten. After struggling with it, I started to sob. I wondered if I would ever “have my body back.” To add insult to injury, all the ab work I had done during pregnancy resulted in diastasis rectii (a separation of my ab muscles) and an umbilical hernia ( my former innie became an outie). Still, by focusing on my nutrition and easing back into exercise I was able to not only get back in great shape, but also to place in the top 3 at every local bikini competition I entered.
This time around I was a lot more laid back. I still ate healthy and exercised regularly, but I listened to my body a lot more, which means I took more time off from the gym and spent more time walking or swimming. When I felt good, I lifted heavy. I started with a greater base of strength this time around, so I was able to do more strength training. I also avoided direct ab work since I did not want to make my diastasis worse.
I did not worry so much about getting back to my pre-pregnancy state because I knew that with consistent exercise and healthy eating, I could achieve a fit body.
So here I am 1 week postpartum and am I back to my pre-pregnancy body? No. I don’t have a scale so I am not even sure how much of the weight I gained has been lost. But am I happy with where I am? Absolutely! I managed to keep my body healthy and give birth to a beautiful healthy 7lb 6oz baby boy. I had a successful VBAC and feel a million times better than when I had my c-section.
Have I been exercising? Not in the traditional sense. I have been walking, and taking care of my kids and home (that kind of counts right???). I have also been using the breathing and pelvic floor techniques I learned from the Fit for Birth pre and post natal corrective exercise course, which I reviewed in a previous post. These are easy to do anywhere and help strengthen stretched out pelvic floor muscles and transverse abs.
If you are a new mom or currently pregnant, take the pressure off yourself. Do your best to be healthy both during pregnancy and after because that will not only increase your quality of life, but research has shown that it affects your baby’s health and wellness too. Its not about “snapping back” to your old self after pregnancy, its about celebrating the miracle that is giving birth and treasuring the time you spend with your little one.
If you have kids did you feel pressure to get back to your old body?