Redefining Your Postpartum Journey: An Essential Mental Shift to Getting Back to Exercise (Part 3 of 6)
Now that we’ve talked about why postpartum exercises is so different and why we really need to pay attention to that difference, we have to talk about the mental factor of this entire process. And let me tell you, ‘mental’ can be the hardest part of all.
I know the hit-the-ground-running instinct all too well. I did it myself after my first son, with disastrous results. (I learned my lesson the hard way, and I don’t want you to do the same – learn from my mistakes!)
Let’s think about timelines here.
The human body begins to lose muscle tone and function within two weeks of inactivity. TWO WEEKS you guys!!
Then think about this – when you have a baby, you sit for at least 2 weeks taking care of your baby and recovering (as you should!) and then you might stay pretty inactive for more weeks, sometimes months. Can you imagine how much muscle tone and function you’ve lost over those weeks and months of inactivity?
So here’s the thing. Think about all the trauma and issues that we talked about from pregnancy and childbirth, and then layer weeks of inactivity on top of them. It may bring your body to an entirely new level of achiness / pain / discomfort and lead to crazy frustration.
Now hold up. This is not meant to make you feel bad in any way.
Whatever you have done thus far is exactly what you needed. You have not done anything wrong, there is nothing wrong with YOU, and you can have no regrets about that. In this season of motherhood, this ‘stillness’ and inactivity is imperative to our well-being and growth into motherhood. We have to slow down and let our bodies heal, let our minds adjust to our new way of life and chill the F out.
BUT, when you do decide that you’re ready for more movement / exercise you do have to acknowledge how inactive you’ve been so you know where you are starting.
Because if you start yourself on a level that your body is not prepared for, you can have disastrous results too (like injuries, setbacks and feeling depressed about being out of shape).
Know that you have to start SLOW. Like molasses slow. Like I’ve-never-exercised before-slow. And that might be equally hard if you’re used to pushing your body to it’s limits OR you’ve really never exercised a day in your life.
Also, your brain may totally freak out about going slow. We get all kinds of external messages that make us ignore what we really need for our bodies postpartum: “get your body back!” “lose the baby weight!” “look how fast _____ went back to pre-pregnancy clothes / weight / size!!”
Ugh. It’s exhausting just reading about it.
If your brain is still telling you that you can do everything you did pre-pregnancy (or even when you were pregnant!), or making you feel crappy because you’re not doing all. the. things right this moment, sit down and have a little talk with her.
This a specific time in your life, where your body has specific needs. It is not forever, and you will work your way back to amazing strength. For now, your brain has to understand that you’re going slow. Especially when you see all the moms with jogging strollers out in the park or mom groups hitting bootcamp. It can be the hardest use of willpower in the world to sit it out on the sidelines. But you know what? You don’t know their stories, and they could be anywhere along the postpartum journey. Stay in your lane, and stay on your track. 🙂
Start slow, where YOU need to start, but just start. JUST START.
Not sure where to start?? Check out your pelvic floor and core strength in the box below, and check out our postpartum repair course that takes you from Day 1 to strong and powerful.