Well those 4 months went by at an incredible speed. My baby is now rolling from his back to his belly, how did he go from a tiny newborn to a baby with knuckle dimples??
Even though I feel like these 4 months went by super fast, I know they really haven’t and I want to share some things I’ve learned about myself when it comes to loving this fresh postpartum body of mine.
My recent pregnancy was really hard on me for a number of reasons. I was in constant nausea for the first 4 months and then once the nausea left, the pelvic pain entered. My son grew his placenta right next to his exit which caused him to sit reeeeeeally low. So low that I thought he couldn’t drop any lower when he was preparing for birth, boy was I wrong! I’ll just let you imagine the pain of feeling every kick and a perfectly round head on your pelvic bones 24/7 and then I’ll offer you the comfiest couch and pillows I can find. Needless to say I was physically out for the count for the majority of my pregnancy.
The physical toll my body took was one I was not entirely ready for. Yes, I was expecting swelling and stretch marks like with my first born but good golly! I was not prepared for the sheer volume of swelling and stretch marks. I was never at risk for pre-eclampsia, I had great blood pressure my entire pregnancy, but I did have a baby sitting on my blood and lymph circulatory systems of my legs for way too long. Lets just say I received stretch marks all the way down to the back of my knees.
Looking at my new postpartum body in the mirror was so hard for the first few weeks. I did not feel like myself and got discouraged easily, which I don’t know why I was being so hard on myself, I just had a baby! (I actually know why and I’ll talk about that in a minute, that sentence was for dramatic effect).
Pregnancy is so incredibly hard. You put yourself aside for 9 (long) months and everything is done for that precious life growing at amazing speeds. Postpartum, I feel though, is even harder than pregnancy in a way. It’s harder because not only do you have a baby and yourself to take care of, you immediately have the expectations of society breathing down your back, which is ridiculous.
I was around 6 weeks postpartum (ya know the all clear from your doc time) when I decided I was going to do my second round differently.
With my first I bought into the “get your body back” crap, I was back to running at 6 weeks!! AHHHH!! I want to go back to that old Sara and look her dead in the eyes and tell her to stop. To stop obsessing with what I thought I had to be, a fresh new mom who lost all the weight overnight.
This time around I accepted my brand new body and the amazing, wonderful, miraculous performance it had just given. I cut it some slack. I let it just be and loved it for what it was, ME.
My 6 week check-up came and went and the only fitness plan I had in place was for my deep core and pelvic floor muscles. I didn’t feel the need to go running or lift weights. All I felt the need for was to get to know my new body and what it needed.
No more pushing myself into workouts I wasn’t ready for. No more obsessing over how fast I had lost my baby weight. No more doing what I felt society expected from a new mom.
I took things slow deliberately. I exercised when I felt I could, I moved slower and more intentionally. I relearned how to listen to the brand new body I had been given.
And you know what? I’ve loved myself more this time around than I did the first. I’ve been able to look in the mirror and see the beauty of my body, purple stretch marks and all. My body gave life to another human, that is INCREDIBLE!
The old me would have been obsessed with everything she was eating and drinking and how much exercising she was getting. While doing those things are all good and fulfilling I chose not to let them be my sole focus. I chose to love myself for more than what I thought I had to be. I chose to love myself more.
Because I have loved myself more, I have been able to be more present with my family. Instead of my mind always being on what I want to be like, I’ve been able to revel in the joy of my family. Of the joy my boys bring me every morning when they greet me with the biggest smiles.
Now that I have learned so much from allowing myself to just be for 4 months, I am more prepared to get back into my exercising and healthy eating habits and I think they will be bringing me more joy than they have in the past.
And when that delicious, creamy slice of cheesecake comes along, I’m going to eat it AND enjoy it.
Taking care of my body through my love of fitness has easily become a way to practice self love and has led me to take care of myself in other ways like finally taking the time to learn how to handle my crazy curly hair!
I want you to know you are important and it is ok to take time for yourself and it is ok to love yourself. Find what helps you practice self love and do it as often as you can. You are worth it, so so worth it.