When we first began planning our blog posts for this year, I had wanted to share with all of you my plan to get back in shape postpartum. I wanted to be able to share my extensive plans on how I was going to be eating better and the exercise plans that I had for myself to gain lean muscle and lose the excess body fat. However I am now 3 months postpartum and my plan looks nothing like I had anticipated. I wanted to share with you all today how my mindset has changed and about how I’ve learned to give myself grace over the last 3 months. If you recently had a baby like me or if you’re planning to have a baby at some point I hope this is helpful to you.
I gained 34 pounds when I was pregnant with Conley. I remember thinking that I was huge, and I didn’t believe anyone when they said that my body would EVER be the same after delivery. I was convinced that there was no way my belly would ever be flat again. However two weeks postpartum I was only up 8 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and I was miraculously able to button my jeans. But, let’s be real, my jeans were super tight and my stomach hung over the sides like it had never done before. I was truly shocked though at how belly was capable of growing a nearly 8 pound human and then within a couple of weeks shrink back down to a relatively normal size again (Granted, I’ve been told that the first baby is easier than the rest, but who knows!). The weeks then went by and I was cleared by my midwife for exercise, but this is when I shocked myself that I didn’t rush back to my typical exercise plan like I had expected.
I hesitated to post because my pre-baby self, and the personal trainer in me wanted to get my butt back out and into the gym, I would have probably said that if my health was a priority I would stop making excuses. But to be completely honest y’all I wasn’t ready, my body was still not feeling 100% and ready to be doing workouts. I was struggling with carpal tunnel (still am) and could hardly grip a 5 lb dumbbell, I was still in newborn heaven, and we were still not sleeping through the night. Those might sound like a ton of excuses to you, but the truth is that I learned that it was okay to give myself grace in this season. It’s okay that I’m not ready to get back into the gym, it’s okay that I still get anxious every single time I leave the house because I may have forgotten something for the baby, it’s okay if I have to work myself up to taking my baby out to a restaurant for fear that she will lose her mind and everyone in the restaurant will stare at me. It’s also okay that leggings and comfy clothes are all I want to wear right now because all my other clothes still feel a little tight and uncomfortable. I also think it’s okay to stay at home all day and just snuggle my baby and stare at her sweet face while she naps instead of doing a quick workout video because I know I will never regret the time that I spent holding her. The days are numbered where she will want to me to hold her while she sleeps.
While I don’t want this whole post to say “don’t ever workout again because you’ve had a baby and your life is just different now,” but to say that it’s okay to wait until YOU are ready. I follow several other bloggers that had baby girls within one week of me, it is really easy to compare my postpartum journey with theirs and maybe you’ve experienced the same thing following me. I struggled watching these other mamas working out at 6 weeks and going back to running several miles a day, and fitting in all of their pre-pregnancy clothes, even bathing suits. All of our experiences are so different, yet we feel like we should be on the same pace. It’s okay if you’re not back to your pre pregnancy weight and you’re not back in your pre pregnancy clothes only 3 months after having your baby. It’s okay to give your body grace because your body did something miraculous, and your body will never be the same. While our bodies may seem unrecognizable to us now, our hearts and souls have also been changed but for the better. What society deems as extra weight and a softer belly, I can feel proud of my body for what it has done rather than feeling sad for what I’ve yet to do.
Some tips I can give you from what I’ve been learning over the last 13 weeks
Get out and walk with your baby every time the weather is nice. Your baby will love the sunshine and it’s good for your soul too!
Try to cook a couple times each week rather than ordering in. This has been a challenge for us because it’s the time that Conley gets a little more fussy, but I’ve found if I can bring her into the kitchen with me either by wearing her in my wrap or by setting her on the counter in her boppy lounger while I chop, we play music and I give her a toy and we can generally make something pretty quick.
Set little goals for yourself, like this weekend I’m running a 5K. Ordinarily I would have signed myself up for the 10K or would have loved to train for the half, I knew that I needed to give myself grace and know that a 5K is just as much as an accomplishment just a couple months out from having a baby, and it’s something I can be proud of.
I hope that if you’re following along my postpartum journey you know that I am here to encourage you and not to make you feel as if you need to be in the same place as I am physically and even emotionally. This season is so unique for each of us and we all have to just listen to our bodies and do things that help you to feel more like you. If working out right away makes you feel more like you then I think that’s what you should do! I think we can all agree though that giving your postpartum body grace and love for all that it has done will make you feel so much more contentment in your heart and will help you to not compare your journey to someone else's.