Being in the fitness industry for the past six years, I am constantly asked about fitness tips for new moms. After a woman endures ten months of her body changing, how does she get it back to “normal”?
During my pregnancy, I was confident that I would be back on my yoga mat and in the gym the moment my doctor released me to exercise. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case for me. Yes, I do get the opportunity to do yoga at home and get into about 2 to 3 classes a week, but that is far from my pre-baby workout of daily yoga classes and beach running.
The truth is that working out is no longer my main priority – I work all day and all I want to do is come home and cuddle with my baby Dylan until she goes to bed. Once she goes to bed, I want to hang out with my husband and catch up on text messages from my friends. Exercise has lowered on my priority list, and that’s okay. I still love my body, and might even love it now more than ever. Here are the top four reasons why:
1. I’m stronger than I knew possible.
I gave birth and just five hours later I was walking around taking photos with family and holding my 7 pound baby for hours. I look back and think: holy shit. Why didn’t I need to lay down? Why do I stub my toe and need to rest for 24 hours, but I gave birth and acted like superwoman?! Women are physically made to be strong enough to endure birth and the weeks postpartum, and this makes me so proud of my body. The gym or any exercise class could never make me this strong. I am strong within my body, and that is pretty awesome.
2. Things are bigger in all the right places.
I have always had a very “boy-ish” body – no hips, small boobs and broad shoulders. I wasn’t mad at this, because being petite allowed me to excel in strong-bodied sports like gymnastics, cheerleading and yoga. But, after giving birth and now approaching seven months of breastfeeding, I truly feel like my body is more womanly. My hips have widened, my boobs went from a size A to size D, and I’ve still got that prenatal vitamin glow and long, luscious hair. I am happy that birth allowed me to feel feminine and enjoy the new “larger” areas of my body.
3. Breastfeeding is truly magical.
I eat twice as much, and because of breastfeeding, I still burn more calories a day. And, can we talk about how I make milk that can cure anything? No joke. Anytime Dylan has a rash or inflammation, I can put breastmilk on it and magically it’s gone. Yep, I’m pretty much a holistic healer these days.
4. I grew an organ. How bad ass is that?!
The placenta is an organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy. I will never be able to fathom that I grew an organ, my body made room for this growing thing, and then now it’s gone. The structure provides oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby and removes waste products from your baby’s blood. (I’m sorry, is that not the coolest thing ever?) My body did that! And now that it’s out of me and Dylan is here, I have much more of an appreciation for this process. Anytime I am having a hard day, I remind myself that I grew a baby and an organ at the same time, and that’s cool.
And so, my advice for new moms is: don’t stress out to find your “pre-baby body.” The body that you have right now is way cooler and more useful than it ever has been. Love your postpartum body with all it’s curves, strengths and new things. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, because what it does is the most amazing thing.