Motherhood & Fitness - Expectation vs. Reality
It’s true what they say, once you become a mom your priorities change. Seems obvious right? Well, when it comes to fitness and exercise for many of us this is a nonnegotiable. But the truth behind the mom-life and the fit-life might not be what you were expecting pre-baby. I’ll break it down for you here:
First off – Schedules! I thought I’d have my baby, allow myself time to heal and then getting back into my fitness routine would happen seamlessly. I thought I would plan it in my schedule and it would be my “alone time”. This is partly true. What I have come to realize is this – I no longer call the shots. The baby does. Sticking with a regular exercise program became a challenge. I thought I’d make sure to take the time for myself and get away for an hour to the gym/etc., but it doesn’t always happen that way. You can plan, plan, plan, but sometimes that teeny little human decides they have other plans for you. What has worked well for me is working out at home. There is a reason why all of those online fitness communities and apps exist girls! Because getting out of the house, and having someone else to watch the baby is tougher than you think. Let me add to that, on a REGULAR basis in order to stick to a true workout schedule (since you already have sitter’s booked for events/appointments/date night etc). The trick is to stick to a routine as best you can, but if plans should change then don’t panic just go with the flow. Fit your workout in later, or do something else with baby included (should they decide they don’t want to nap and give you some much needed free time). Stroller walks are great for both mama and baby. But if everything falls to pieces and it just doesn’t happen that day, try again tomorrow! Remember, its baby’s schedule running the day now.
Secondly – Physical capacity. This one was a hard truth for me. The pre-baby body is very different from the postpartum body. Stating the obvious with this I know. And don’t get me wrong, I am not ashamed nor upset over this. Without this major transformation I wouldn’t have my babies! But if it’s so obvious then why was this a tough one? What was really tough to accept or even fathom was the fact that my actual physical capabilities had changed so much. If you’ve ever fallen off of your exercise routine, or been forced to take time off due to injury or for a lengthy vacation…getting back into the swing of things has its challenges but for the most part your body “remembers”. I thought this would be how it all went down. But nope. As we are aware, pregnancy places a mother’s body under a lot of stress. With the increase in weight your centre of gravity shifts, forcing you to move differently. Your body’s ligaments become lax (think of them as more stretchy). There is more pressure on your joints. The pelvis changes in shape and positioning. Your core muscles are stretched and weaken…you get the picture. It took a lot longer than I expected to feel like I had control over my body and how it moved. You’re like Bambi learning how to walk, a little clumsy and unaware of how your body’s position in space. I guess it makes sense because in a way you do have a “new” body. Which listen to me ladies, a new body that you should be proud of and truly LOVE! (See my previous article on “Losing the Baby Weight”- https://www.healthyishott.com/home/2019/3/6/losing-the-baby-weight ). In time you will adapt and learn how to move again, but this whole concept was much better understood after having experienced it. I felt it necessary to share, to save you all the trouble I went through of expecting your workout to just happen the way they used to. So don’t be so hard on yourself okay girl?
Lastly – Patience. This one was definitely the most challenging. I think we can all agree we need to do without the whole “bounce back” idea, and getting your pre-baby body as soon as you leave the hospital. But for even the most level-headed mama out there who understands that it will take time to lose weight and to feel not-pregnant; I know that we still expect it to happen sooner than it really should. As I previously stated in the “Baby Weight” article it takes 9 months to get ready to deliver that baby, so give yourself at least 9 months to deliver your “post-baby body”. And even at that point, remember that your body will never be the way it was pre-baby. That’s not a bad thing either, because a woman’s body is always beautiful no matter what stage of womanhood. Okay I’m going on a tangent here, but my point is that once you’ve had your baby, you must be even more patient than you originally thought necessary. Love yourself and appreciate this “new” body. Because you now have that incredible mom-strength, where you can hold and rock a tiny person for hours with one hand without tiring. You have that mom endurance and can go days/weeks/months without a full night’s sleep, and still care for the life of another (or many). You can do so much for your baby or babies without taking any time for yourself! Just be patient with all of it because your life has drastically changed, and so your fitness “goals” can too.
Listen, sometimes things are different than what you might have expected. I want you to know that whatever your fitness goals are pre-baby or during pregnancy, that it is okay to change your mindset on this. You’re not failing, you’re evolving. Throughout the process you might develop an entirely new goal when it comes to motherhood and fitness. That image of yourself and what your body should “look” like can be even better than you imagined, and different in many ways. The main goal with the fit-mom life should be simply this: to nourish and move your body when you can, however you enjoy to. All that really matters in this stage of life is that you feel well and enjoy your time with baby. Embrace your new body the way you do your baby. Because when you birthed that gorgeous creature, you were born a mother that day too.
Sending love & light as always HIH fam!
Sincerely your chiropractor,