Postpartum Journey #1
Being pregnant is hard. It's that plain and simple, and then it isn't. Being pregnant is one, if not the greatest, gifts and burdens that women receive. We get to experience life and growth in nine long and beautiful months. But it takes a toll on our body. It takes a toll on our mental health. Being pregnant is hard.
I am beyond blessed with two beautiful boys (who are currently napping-Hallelujah). But to pretend that I enjoyed being pregnant would make anyone who knows me personally fall over in a fit of laughter. I always say I love the prize at the end, but like most achievements, getting to the end is difficult. I am not one of those women who glows when she is pregnant. I sweat. I sweat a lot. But I was lucky to have both of my babies in the winter, so luckily I didn't have to experience the hardship of a summer pregnancy.
My second son was born in February and I have been pretty candid on social media about the difficult time I've had of feeling like I needed to be able to jump back into shape and quickly adapt to mothering two children. I exercised throughout this pregnancy, which is more than I can say for the first go around. With my first pregnancy I was so nervous with every single and ache and pain. I was convinced that being physical, especially in the third trimester, would somehow trust me into labor and harm the baby. The second go around, I felt more comfortable and at ease with working out. This was in large part thanks to beautiful group of women I exercise with daily (more on that at another date).
Now I am almost four months postpartum and I am starting to feel like I am getting into a groove.
Mentally, postpartum has been pretty taxing. Between parenting, spousing, and working I feel pretty exhausted. Thankfully, I have a spouse who is tuned into my mood fluctuations, along with an openness of talking about my own mental health, I felt comfortable going to my PCM and seeking some support. Normalizing postpartum mental health is HUGE. Our hormones are going haywire trying to regain some sort of stabilization, and there is nothing wrong with seeking help. I'm so glad that I got the help that I needed. I have a history of anxiety, and this go around my anxiety seemed to be heightened. Luckily, we recognized it early on and I feel so much better for it.
Physically, I'm getting there. I won't lie, I really want to fit into all the clothes I wore before I was pregnant. I won't sit here and pretend I have the patience to wait. That's hard for me. But I also recognize that I'm kind of strange. I enjoy pushing my body. I enjoy trying to be disciplined and push the boundaries of what I think I can do. And you know where that can get you? In a world of trouble. I returned to working out pretty quickly after my second little guy. It was more for my mental sanity than anything else. And I will be the first (well, maybe second after my husband) to say that I pushed a little too hard. In my head I was all, "well I just did this huge physically taxing thing of having a baby. If I can do that I can go workout". Wrong. So. Wrong. I'm not saying I should have waited, but I do think I should have cooled my jets a little bit. So here I am, four months after my cutie-patootie came into the world and I am feeling comfortable pushing myself again, safely. I feel like I can start to hit the gas pedal on my fitness. I haven't lost all of my baby weight, I'm not a size nothing, and I never will be. But I do try to sweat everyday and get my heart rate up.
So, in this current season of healing, mothering, and caring for myself so I can care for others I am choosing to focus on ways to properly fuel my body. I am focusing even more on my nutrition, hydration (gosh this Virginia heat is no joke), and continuing to listen to my body as I forge my own path on my postpartum journey. I share all of this because many of my clients, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends are...WOMEN! And this is the cycle that we go through, right? We are constantly working on figuring out how to manage hormones, our health, our fertility, and our postpartum selves. We constantly get to reinvent ourself and make a new future, regardless of what stage of womanhood we are in.
So I ask this, where are you in your womanhood journey? What are you choosing focus on? What ways are you reinvigorating your body to be its best self?