Picture: Left – Full Term vs Right – 5 Days Post Partum
When I was pregnant, I didn’t think about what my body would look like after giving birth. I thought I might be a bit overweight and need to get that off. But 5 days after giving birth this is what I was faced with, a body that still looked 6 months pregnant! It wasn’t going to be as easy as losing a few kilos. I soon realised what was happening inside my body needed time to rest, recover and repair.
What I also didn’t expect was how I would feel after giving birth. I remember the feeling of weakness, despite carrying around a child who grew to 4.5kgs. Throughout our pregnancies we become protected. We are told to sit, rest and don’t lift anything. We also have fears around exercise in pregnancy. What if I do too much, what if I harm my baby, we are constantly made to feel scared to take any action. In a previous blog I shared how I overcame my fear of exercise in pregnancy.
I started to assess my body, being aware of all that I was seeing and feeling. When I laid on my back, I felt hollow. I didn’t know where my organs disappeared. I found that my abdominal muscles had a separation. It was quite a gap but despite having my 6 week GP check up and regular nurse check ups, no one assessed it or gave me ways to help it recover.
I also noticed I couldn’t walk properly. I had tight muscles in my hips from carrying that load and my hips weren’t moving correctly. From sitting and breastfeeding, as well as twisting to lay my baby down, I started to notice pain in my neck, shoulders and hips. It took some massage treatment, Osteo and self care like foam rolling and stretches to ease these aches and imbalances.
Throughout this journey of recovery I did my own research. I undertook further training as a Post Natal Fitness Specialist. From the work I have done with myself, I have reduced the separation in my abdominals, been able to walk again without the waddle and have even returned to running. Last year I completed my first ever half marathon when Blake was almost 3 years old.
With time (and breastfeeding), my belly deflated. It was all squishy and still is after almost 4 years. When your body stretches to that size, it’s no wonder it doesn’t quite snap back. Blake loves pointing out my squishy belly. He thinks it’s fun to play with and feels nice. It is a change in my body I accept.
I know my body hasn’t ‘bounced back’ from pregnancy, it has evolved. I have worked with the changes that occurred with my body, strengthening what I can, accepting what has now changed and knowing I can create a better, stronger version from the inside out. My body is capable of creating human life. It’s also fit enough to run a half marathon, keep up with my energetic almost 4 year old and allows me the energy to work in my passion of massage and fitness.
I don’t want other women to feel lost and confused about what to do when recovering from childbirth. While working as a Trainer for mums over the last 3 years, I have been faced with stories of other mums who are suffering incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and muscle tears. They are often told what not to do, so I work to share what they can do. I’m working hard now on ways to provide this advice and guidance to more women during and after pregnancy. My first step is our new Mums & Bubs Fitness Classes. It’ll be more than a workout, it’ll be education and support for mums.
Our classes will run on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at 9:30am at Bradbury Oval. We are offering your first session free. To take advantage, book online at our website and choose the day that suits you best.
For more information about our Mums and Bubs Fitness Classes
I look forward to the opportunity to help more mums like you to safely return to exercise and repair your body from the inside out.