I continue to work on my postnatal body even now – 18 months ongoing. Pilates helped my body phenomenally and now I’m training to teach pilates because I think it is such a safe and effective way of training your body to do what it is supposed to do. My aim at the beginning of my postpartum recovery was to lose some of the weight I gained in the last months of pregnancy in a safe way (hashtag societal pressure). I had to learn a whole new respect for what my body was telling me. I had pains and niggles that I never did before that I need to notice and respond to carefully. When returning to exercise, some days I could attend a circuit class with regressed exercises. Other days, a gentle walk, focussing on my posture and having a long bath to soothe my muscles was enough.
Over the course of time, I have challenged myself. I have added more complex exercises into my workouts at my pace. I couldn’t do a burpee probably for about a year because my hips were so tight I couldn’t put my hands to the floor comfortably. And then came yoga.
Your language around exercise –
Whether you exercised before, during or after giving birth, your language around getting your ‘body back’ is really important.
- You are not getting your body back
- Rehab is crucial in the beginning.
- Building on what you are left with after birth is the focus.
- Losing weight may be a focus for you, but without rehabbing your body, the long term benefits of exercise (improved muscle use, improved bone density, improved joint movement…the list goes on), are missed.
- You are not training for a 100m sprint. You are rehabbing your body to function at its best.
Phrases to tell yourself when fighting the drive to exercise –
- I created a human! My body is incredible! I am a bad ass!
- I want to start exercising, but I need help with that at the moment and will make small goals.
- Exercise for me right now is for mind and body, getting time to exercise on my own or with baby is important for my mental health.
- Moving my body, no matter what it looks like right now is the most important thing.
- I want my baby to understand that moving is important and watching me is the best way to teach this.