As much as I can honestly say that I totally love being a Mum there is also a fair whack of challenges that you are hit with right from the get-go, I am the first to admit ‘I had NO idea’ how enormous this journey was and how intense the first 6-8 weeks would be. The emotional, spiritual and physical shift has given me an entirely new perspective on life, on women and what being a mum truly encompasses.
Mostly the whole experience has been completely humbling for me. My pregnancy was easy, my labour had its twists and turns but resulted with an amazing baby girl who I am forever grateful for. However spending time with women post labour both in the hospital and at mothers group, you hear so many individual stories that don’t always go this way. A lot of new mums are left with the intensity of looking after a newborn as well as processing how things went for them in this journey. The experience has left me in awe of what women go through to bring these little spirits to the planet. We really are a race of warriors and I salute all mums out there, especially if you had to navigate a more challenging circumstance.
In amongst the enormity of this life-changing event we are then thrown into sleepless nights, the confusion of unexpected crying (both yourself and the baby) as well as a gamut of physical changes. This of course is all part of the wonder of creating a new life. I have really felt like I have danced between how completely amazing this experience is and how at times I feel myself grabbing my flabby stomach frustrated that my shape has changed so much. So with both extremes floating around, you really need to manage your head.
Being at home alone there is certainly a lot of time to ruminate and think. It is important to focus on the positive even when everything is turned upside down and you are in a little bit of a holding pattern until the dust settles.
When the time is right and you are feeling like there is some kind of semi normal pattern happening, I believe it is very important to start the process of taking back some things that are just for you. I am sure you will relate, but for me this was getting back into exercise and feeling strong again.
We all know that training and movement are always important, through my experience I believe that after labour it is more important than ever. It is crucial to flood your body with happy hormones and to build strength. I underestimated how strong you need to be for breastfeeding, lifting car seats, prams, and babies etc. This is the exact reason why I have written todays post as well as creating some follow up seminars to give support where I can.
The first thing to take into consideration when safely returning to exercise is the effects having a pregnant belly has had on your pelvic floor, core and abs. Postpartum most women have what is known as diastasis recti or otherwise known as abdominal separation (see diagram). Not all women will have ab separation and if you do the size of it will vary depending on your size during pregnancy, strength and the baby’s size. When you strengthen your core this will mostly heal and return to normal but in some cases It may require surgery. It is important to either see a Physio or know how to test this yourself so that you can measure progression.
When getting back into training, depending on how you decide to do it expect that it wont always go to plan. My routine is I feed then drive to the gym and because I keep Ruby with me I settle her to sleep and then train. Sometimes there is resettling, breast feeding and it feels a little stop start but it is what it is. Personally I would rather the stop start than nothing at all but it is going to be all about finding what works for you.
To help new mums find their way back into training we are hosting a free Baby Back workshop on Thursday 29th March at 11am. We are so excited and passionate about putting this together for new Mums because we believe that looking after you is just as important on this journey. So many women either are unsure about how to strengthen post pregnancy or don’t give their core the love it deserves. Click the banner below for full workshop details.
So here’s to loving the journey with your newborn and loving yourself enough to take care of you.
The Queen of Lean