Why You Shouldn’t Bounce Back After Pregnancy
It’s completely okay to want to be the healthiest and fittest mama you can be, but women have been talking about “bouncing back after pregnancy” or losing their “baby weight” for decades. Is that the right way to go about postpartum fitness? Why is it the social norm for moms to try so hard to “get their bodies back” as fast as they can? Pregnancy is an AMAZING thing and women were given the gift to reproduce, so instead of focusing on bouncing back, let’s focus on embracing the amazing process our bodies just went through.
Embrace the process
With the physical discomfort, as well as the CRAZY exhaustion that comes along with being a mother means that we really have to let the body heal properly with time and lots of rest. Carrying a child for nine months in your belly is such a beautiful thing, and we have to realize that and everything it has gone through. It took nine months to do what your body just did. It will take longer than a few months to get it back to where it was pre-pregnancy, or to wherever your goals may be.
After I had our sweet Sammie, I tried so hard to embrace being a new mama for as long as I could. I tried to remember what my body had just gone through, and that it needed the proper amount of time to heal – especially after having a C-section. Easier said than done though, right? It is so hard to always think about yourself and your body in a positive way and it’s even more-so after having a baby. I do want you to know that you are not alone if you feel negatively towards yourself and towards your post baby body.
It’s time to change the way we think bouncing back after pregnancy
I really want you to take a second and think about how you TALK about yourself. What is it that you are saying? Is it positive or is it negative? When we attack our bodies and talk negatively towards ourselves, that is a dangerous place to be. After having a baby, we tend to think the most negative about ourselves because of our stretched-out tummy, or the extra weight we may have gained during our pregnancy. It’s time to change the way we think about our post pregnancy bodies. You grew that sweet little babe and gave him or her a nice cozy home to thrive and grow.
Yes, it is okay to be healthy and to be the fittest mom you can be, but we need to do it in a self-loving way and LOVE our bodies for where they are and for what they have done. We need to remember that we are beautiful at every stage, whether that be pre-pregnancy, pregnant or post-pregnancy. It is ALL beautiful.
The Problem with Shame
We need to embrace the process and take this time to not only heal physically, but mentally as well. After our routines have been turned upside down and our bodies have changed dramatically, we may start to feel bad about ourselves, or even start to feel shame. So, let’s talk about shame for a minute. Shame is that negative voice in your head that is maybe telling you things like, “you aren’t beautiful enough” or “you don’t deserve to rest.” You can’t shame yourself into getting fit after pregnancy, or shame yourself into this lifestyle of sustainable fitness. You need to take the time to find that self-love within yourself, and heal mentally as well.
I want Sammie to watch me take care of myself. Having a six pack is fun, yes, but if you have no self-love, then what’s the point? Your new baby will be far more impacted by a mom who loves herself – so much more so than a mom who has a six pack, but no self-love. We should love our bodies and ourselves at ANY stage. We are beautiful whether we are at the start of our fitness journey or in the middle of it, pregnant or not. For an even deeper understanding of how shame affects our lives, watch the video below.
Be patient with yourself
When women say, “I’m getting my body back,” what does that even mean? Do our bodies go somewhere that I don’t know about? I cringe when people say that because not only did it not go anywhere, it created a beautiful little life.
Taking time after baby to heal and rest is SO important. We don’t want to rush into our past fitness routines too quickly and risk injuring ourselves. When we are creating a baby, our bodies expand and our organs move to make room for baby. It needs time after child birth to put everything back into place and heal. Not to mention your pelvic floor is weak, and it needs that extra time to strengthen itself back up. You’ll also want to wait before jumping into your fitness routine because of the hormones that are in your body from pregnancy. These hormones affect your joints, causing them to relax during pregnancy and delivery. They can last in a woman’s body for up to SIX months after pregnancy, and make you feel pretty wobbly. You really want to make sure you feel stable again before you start lifting any weights!
Replace the negative with a positive
When you start to hear that negative chatterbox inside you telling you what is “wrong” with your body, you have to tune that sucker out! We need to learn how to block out those negative thoughts right away, and practice self-love and replace those thoughts with positive affirmations. Heck, say them out loud as soon as you start hearing those FALSE things about your body. You are beautiful, inside and out.
Here are some of my favorites:
- My body is my own and I can’t be compared to others.
- This too shall pass, I am present and enjoying this season of my life
- I trust, respect and am in awe of what my body is capable of, it created life.
- I nurture myself and give my body what it needs right now so I can nurture others.
- Women all over the world are experiencing this with me.
- I am present, I feel grounded, confident, worthy and whole.
It may take some time to completely block out those negative thoughts, but one day it will happen – I promise! Practice, practice, practice. Little by little things will start to seem easier, and you will find yourself thinking more on the positive side about your body than the negative!
A new approach
Let’s take a step back and think about ways we can maybe take a NEW approach to the “fit and healthy new mom life.”
This is a list of a few things I thought of:
- Make sure you’re taking the safe, appropriate amount of time to heal and rest after having your baby.
- Don’t rush into your old intense fitness routine too quickly and risk getting injured.
- Let your body fully heal, and then you can get back to kicking ass in the gym (or at home) when it’s safe!
- Enjoy all of the snuggles and little baby giggles.
Once you are healed and cleared by your doctor to start exercising again, think about how you need to adjust your workouts to work alongside your baby’s schedule. A good idea is to take it really slow. You’ll want to focus on slowly building your strength back up first, especially in your core. Your core has been through so much in the last nine months, and you need to be extremely careful with it. You want to make sure that the connective tissue in between your Rectus Abdominis is fully healed. Sometimes it heals and goes back to normal post-baby, but sometimes it doesn’t and you will have Diastasis Recti. I developed Diastasis Recti during my pregnancy with Sammie and I had to be extremely careful when it came to exercises and movements that involve my core (pretty much everything!).
Take your time
When you have finally built your strength back up post-baby and your core is strong, you can now start to focus more on adding a little bit more weight into your lifts and push a little harder in the gym. However, I really want you to focus on taking that time with your new baby and embracing motherhood. Take your time getting back into your fitness routine, and take it slow once you do start your routine again.
Having a baby is such an amazing thing and we need to remember what our bodies have been through to create that beautiful babe! We need to let our body heal properly and make sure that we are being safe with our post-baby workout routines. Rushing into intense workouts to “get your body back” will only make things worse. Remember that our bodies were given this amazing gift to reproduce, and we need to embrace it and ENJOY what our bodies can do!
When you get cleared by your doctor to start exercising again, my Jessie’s Girls Home Edition and Muscle Building 1 training programs are awesome for postnatal fitness. Home Edition is great for mamas who are at home and have limited time. I specifically programmed the workouts to only need a few pieces of equipment, and the cardio is incorporated into the weight workouts for quicker workouts. Home Edition is also great because you’re still able to do it AT the gym if you’re able to go! Muscle Building 1 is the other perfect training program for postnatal fitness because it focuses on straight sets, and is a great way to build up your strength again post baby. It also includes a full nutrition and macros guide that allows enough calories to support nursing, too. Just remember to listen to your body and take it slow. Click on the button below to learn all that Muscle Building 1 and my Jessie’s Girls Home Edition have to offer.