I hear this question a lot.
Like, A LOT.
It’s the one thing so many women are so desperate to achieve once they’ve popped out their most recent bundle of joy.
I get it. I’ve been there. If you look back at my instagram posts after Nugget was born, it’s nothing but ‘look at me, I lost 20lbs the day I delivered!” and side-by-sides of my ‘transformation’ postpartum. I was that woman, too. I totally understand how that feels.
Pregnancy and postpartum change your body in so many ways. You have this big belly that completely alters your centre of gravity, your joints and ligaments get lax and loose, more often than not, you lose a significant amount of muscle mass. You kind of start to feel like you’ve lost yourself.
Not to mention the fact that you’ve just entered motherhood. Holy crap is motherhood a mind-fuck. Your entire world is flipped completely upside down, you’re sleep deprived, anxious beyond belief, and your head is a raging soup of postpartum hormones. You just want some semblance of normalcy back in your life. You want to feel even just a glimmer of the ‘old you’ is still in there, somewhere, hidden under the spit-up & breastmilk stained tshirt with obligatory nursing bra with pads from who knows when still stuck in it. You want to find YOU again.
I get it. We all get it. Every woman who has ever become a mother, understands how you feel. It is 100%, completely and totally normal.
So you think ‘I know, before baby if I was stressed or miserable, I would workout to feel better’. So you give it a shot. And your body feels alien to you. It might ache, or be wobbly, or feel weak, or you might leak a little pee, or a little breastmilk, or both!
And commence hating this foreign body. ‘What the heck is wrong with me?’ you think, ‘I used to be able to run 5 miles without even breaking a sweat, now walking to the end of the block has me huffing, and peeing myself’.
So you consult good old google and are bombarded with an overwhelming flood of conflicting information: “do nothing for 6 weeks”, “only run slowly, just wear a liner”, “don’t lift anything over 5lbs or your give yourself a prolapse”, “just do what you did before you got pregnant”… There’s so much information, so where do you start?
Well first, take a deep breath. It’s all going to be okay. I promise.
Second, find a pelvic floor physiotherapist (check here for one near you). They will be able to assess your body, and give you specific, measurable ways to improve your strength and function that are specific to your body and your needs. The work PFPT’s do is invaluable, and I believe every woman who has had a baby should see one.
Third, take some time to accept yourself as you are, right now. I know, easier said than done, but it will make everything so much easier in the long run. If you take the time to rehab and return to exercise the right way, you will make faster progress and be back to your favorite activities faster than if you jump back into them too quickly and end up injured and then you have to go back even farther and rehab your injury and then rehab you postpartum issues before you can move forward again.
So yes, before baby you were running 10k’s and lifting 200lbs. That’s amazing! You set a great foundation for your body to sustain a pregnancy. But you have to approach birth like an injury or major surgery (which it is for some of us!) and take the time to rehab right. If you broke your leg and it was in a cast for 6 weeks, you wouldn’t go back to running marathons the second you got it off, would you? No. You’d go to physio, and rehab it back appropriately. You have to approach birth the same way.
So if we go back to the question of ‘when will I get my pre-baby body back’ that answer will be different for everyone. Some will never get back to that place, and that’s okay! Our bodies are not meant to stay at 25 years old forever! Imagine if your grandma had the same figure as you… It would be weird right? But, we can do everything we can to regain all of the function you had pre-baby, it just might look a little different than you expect. It might take a little longer or take a different path than you were thinking, but you can get there!
The fact is, your body is fundamentally changed from the act of growing and birthing a human. Some of us will be left with scars & marks that will never go away, and they are badges of honor to be proud of.
If you’re struggling, and living in the Calgary, Alberta area, and looking to work with someone who gets it – go to my Facebook page and contact me, I might be able to help! My flagship class, Mama Strong, is starting up next month, and I’d be so excited if you would join me!