I’ve deliberately NOT entitled this blog piece “bouncing back after baby” because I don’t believe that’s the mentality new mothers need.
We didn’t bounce into childbirth, it took 9 months. It makes sense then that the body would potentially require that time, if not more, to fully recover.
We do ourselves a disservice by thinking we need to “get back to it” so quickly, when we have so much on our plate once our new baby arrives. Simply coping with the challenges of motherhood, whether it’s your first or subsequent baby, is enough to deal with. Your body is at it’s limit as you battle feeding, sleep routines (or lack thereof) and managing constant changes. To then put pressure on ourselves to return to our pre-baby selves is ludicrous.
Newsflash – you’re actually never going to get your complete pre-baby body back. Sorry, but that’s a fact. You may get a version of it, and you might get damn close to the original, but your body has gone through a lot – carrying baby, birthing baby (regardless of what path you took) and sorry to say, its aged. It’s like trying to get back to your 20’s body whilst you’re in your 30’s…sorry babe, you just can’t reverse that natural ageing process.
But, there is something you can do about becoming the most healthy version of you NOW.
So, perhaps this blog should in fact be titled “Moving Forward After Baby”. After all, we’re moving forward with a new version of ourselves…and a wonderful version it is. You’re a mama!
Moving Forward After Baby
First things first, give yourself time to heal. This includes both physically and emotionally. There is no formula for this – every mamas journey will be different.
On a physical level, the first 6-12 weeks is crucial. The most important element is rest and no amount of exercise, yoga or fitness regime is going to compensate for this. In fact, substituting rest for the latter will most probably do your body damage. So put your feet up (literally, that’s the best yoga pose you can do ~ Legs Up The Wall) and enjoy those precious moments when you can.
On a mental and emotional level, allow yourself time to absorb what has occurred. Depending on what your pregnancy and birth was like, this may be the most important step you take in moving forward. Fast tracking this means not dealing with it properly and the fact is at some point you’ll have to deal with it.
When you feel some sense of “normality” returning (I say that loosely…you’ll know when it’s right for you) or you feel more comfortable with your role as a mother and want to get moving then it’s time to move forward.
That is the key. Moving forward.
Don’t think about the past, about what used to be. Don’t drag out bikini pictures of you in your 20’s. Think about you NOW. What do you need, what would make you feel good about yourself both inside and out?
I love this quote from Jennifer Garner, after she found out she was pregnant from a tabloid siting her “baby bump”. She revealed on the Ellen DeGeneres Show that she indeed has a bump..
“I am not pregnant, but I’ve had three kids and there is a ‘bump.’ From now on ladies, I will have a ‘bump’ and it will be my ‘baby bump’ and let’s just all settle in and get used to it, it’s not going anywhere.”
It’s not a case of never being able to be happy with your body again or having to settled for an ‘after-baby’ figure. It’s just altering your view of yourself and your level of expectation.
This is why Kate and I love yoga so much…yes, it always comes back to yoga 😉
Rather than being driven by repetition or using weight and measurements as a motivation, yoga allows you to change the way you feel about yourself. With a regular practice you’ll notice things about your body that you didn’t before, you’ll appreciate movement and how it makes you feel.
In time, rather than hitting a size goal, your body will find its own equilibrium or balance of where it should be. But the best part about it is that you’ll notice the effects not only in your size, fitness, energy & body shape, but through the way you feel mentally, emotionally and in some cases spiritually (again, what this means is different for every individual)
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, there’s no formula. No “21 days to a flat stomach” or “8 weeks to feeling normal” slogans.
All we can say is that you’ll feel benefits immediately and you’ll continue to feel great and progress in your own way the more you practice.