Early postpartum period can be glorious, and also completely mess with your mind. I personally had my own ups and downs when it comes to self confidence, especially in the early days after having the baby. Fitness has always been a priority for me and that definitely did not change after each pregnancy. However, my perspective on what was realistic in those early days has changed, whether the variable be time, my own energy, my sleep the night before, or the baby's temperament, I realized that I needed to be prepared for whatever may show up that day, which meant that my own workouts had to adjust for the season. So, I thought I would share some lessons and tips that have helped me in the early postpartum days.
Show Yourself Some Grace
I definitely believe in goal setting and setting intentions for what I am looking to achieve, but in my experience, being fluid with such goals is the key to sanity with the postpartum body. Just like every pregnancy is not the same, recovering from labor and delivery is also a unique journey. Personally, I am not a proponent for the "bounce back" after baby mentality when it comes to women and their bodies. Pregnancy is something special; the body achieved something unlike anything else in one's lifetime, so expecting the body to go back exactly as it was just is not realistic. How could it? And this does not have to be a negative thing by any means! I see it as you may have retired certain parts of you in a previous season, you have grown stronger in other areas. I know that I have. So giving myself grace to grow into my new strengths and talents and even my new body has really been my saving grace.
Be Prepared and Flexible
I remember back in college when I would put my workouts at the campus wellness center into my highlighter color coded planner (before digital ones) and be able to make it to such planned workouts on time. I also remember long luxurious runs on Sundays, followed by Pilates and brunch. No rush or anywhere to be. Now I might plan a workout in my head that I'm prepared to execute at SOME point in the day whenever time permits. This may be 6am, 1pm or 9pm. I've learned that workouts may not go exactly as planned, but that's okay. They are cumulative. Sometimes it may be five minutes here, five minutes there. Or if I'm lucky, I can get 30 minutes in while a baby naps. Regardless, I get a chance to move and improve my own personal wellness even if it doesn't look exactly as I used to. Being
Having weights, bands and a mat in one place where I can easily access them should I get the time has been key; no need to search around.
Also keeping a playlist with workout routines of various lengths on my phone ready to go so I can jump straight into action has helped (even as a fitness pro, I don't always want to think about my own workout!)
Having different formats available to match my mood and energy level that day has helped. Some days a quick intense boot camp style routine for a quick sweat works, while other days a stretchy slow flow routine is a must. Having them readily on hand has helped me feel prepared when my sleep deprived brain doesn't want to make choices.
Celebrate Your Body and Your Wins
When looking for physical changes in your body, such as weight loss or improved muscle tone or if you fit into some old jeans, can often leave you frustrated. There may be other things to celebrate. Consider improved endurance during a long walk, or lifting that heavy car seat with less pain, or even feeling less wobbly in your gait and your strides. These are all great wins to celebrate. A woman's body is this miraculous creation that should be celebrated, so don't forget to praise all that it can do and all that you've been through during pregnancy to create that little person. Just as you may have celebrated each month with a baby bump photo progression, or laughing at a change like your busty boobs or growing hips...be sure to celebrate all the changes and adjustments that happen in the now. Post delivery you are different, but still just as beautiful. I am different than I was, but still just beautiful. So let's put that on repeat for each other. And I'll keep reminding myself, too.