As you can see from the title there’s a new baby in the mix. I’ve been away for some time because, well, I had the absolute worst pregnancy (more on that later) which left me depressed, bed bound and zero desire to write about health and wellness — because my personal experience was anything but. Now that my daughter is here and I’m feeling a bit more like myself, I’m excited to jump back in and explore health and wellness postpartum (because I’m living it and it’s wild).
Weight Gain and Fitness Postpartum
Shortly after my daughter Sydney was born, I found myself sleep deprived, anxious, and most surprisingly, up 60 pounds! Like all new moms, I did not recognize myself in the mirror. When I first found out I was pregnant, I envisioned a healthy, active and easy pregnancy — you know, I assumed I’d be one of those women who effortlessly trains throughout her pregnancy. But the day after my 20 week medical appointment, I found myself recovering from emergency surgery on my cervix and on strict bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy — I even lived in the hospital for a month. For someone as active as me, the whole ordeal felt like a bad, torturous joke.
After Sydney arrived and I got the go-ahead from my doctor to workout again, I remember how excited I was! After struggling through the first workout though, it became very apparent that getting my body back after baby was going to be much more challenging than I originally expected. 3 months of pregnancy bed rest resulted in muscle atrophy. Then there was the copious amount of medication I took daily for months and the obvious strain that pregnancy puts on the body; it felt like I was recovering from an accident of sorts. Basic movements or anything that required balance such as a lunge sent me toppling over. Just walking around the block for more than 10 minutes caused my hips to lock up.
It took a few months of consistently — and gently — moving my body each day for any resemblance of coordination to come back to me. I’m now working out 5-6x a week and down 45 lbs. My workouts have become easier but when it comes to strength and coordination, I’m nowhere near where I once was.
Postpartum Exercise: Finding the Time
After our family left and my husband went back to work, the next challenge facing me was the logistics of working out with a newborn at home. The trick, which I discovered through trial and error, is to squeeze it in whenever and wherever you can. I now live in my workout clothes and wait for that golden moment when I’m able to put my daughter down for a nap. I always have my iPad, wireless earbuds (so not to disturb her) and weights within arms reach. There are days when she wakes up and I have pause my workouts many times to attend to her or shorten my workouts all together. Gone are the days of having the luxury to workout whenever I feel up to it (news flash: new moms never feel up to it).
When I was pregnant I would daydream about working out and getting back into shape. It actually lit me up to think about taking on the challenge. But once I was able to do so, I quickly realized that it was just as mentally exhausting as it was physically challenging. Early on I recognized that how I spent my time, however hectic and frazzled it felt, needed to be aligned with my goals. Finding balance to work out and get your body back to the condition that you want it to be after child birth can be difficult but it absolutely can be done — it just takes a lot of patience and prioritization.
I’m looking forward to sharing with you my learnings, struggles and goals over the next few months as I settle into my new role of motherhood. Follow moms, do you have any tips that you think might make this process easier or enjoyable? Go on and share with me below.