A frequent question that I get from my clients now that I'm nearly one-year postpartum is "Do I feel Normal Yet?"
I'll be honest, I felt "better" as a pregnant lady than I do a year postpartum. I completely understand how many of us feel like our bodies are forever changed.
I've been extremely cautious with my own postpartum workouts, more so than as a pregnant woman. When I was pregnant I felt completely comfortable hiking mountains, doing 2x a day workouts, taking an 8 hour barre certification course, and teaching multiple classes a day on top of all of this.
Now, not so much.
I feel very unbalanced still and I'm noticing some older injuries rear their ugly heads if my workouts aren't consistent.
I've heard this from a many client as well.
Sometimes several years postpartum, a client will note how a spinal or knee injury is resurfacing. The pelvis shifts immensely during pregnancy and labor so this isn't surprising. Personally, my mild lordosis and knee pain is coming back. If I'm not consistently training, I notice my hips start to tilt, my core weakens and my back kills me. My knees start to creek and throb while I'm loading my son in his car seat or playing with him on the floor. Although I knew how common this can be, I never expected this to happen to me.
If you're also experiencing this new or old pain, please take this from me- no matter how in shape you were during pregnancy, postpartum is a different beast.
This is why I strongly discourage exercise pre-clearance. Also, why I discourage going back in too soon or too hard.
I often tell my students and clients that labor (regardless of which type of birth you have) is a car accident on your body. My goal is not to scare them by any means, it's only to prepare them that after birth they might not feel "normal" for a quite a while.
And no, you wouldn't be expected to flaunt flat abs after a car accident, nor should you be expected to after having a baby.
Do I "look" like I've fully recovered?
Sure. I've lost 10lbs from pre-pregnancy weight and dropped a dress size. I was back in my non-maternity jeans at 3 weeks postpartum. Do I think this something to brag about? Nope. Is this something that truly matters at this point? I don't think so.
Postpartum is a new normal. It means I'm still "easing back in" even a year after labor. I can push my cardio, up my resistance, and feel like I've gotten an amazing workout. However, my body still feels different.
I know this is cliche- but I wouldn't change a single thing.
I'm extremely grateful that I was able to exercise as often as I did while pregnant. I completely understand how not every woman is as lucky as I was. As a result, my pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated. I experienced extreme dizziness and fatigue in the first trimester but that was about it. I truly believe this helped my labor go so quickly (about 4 pushes and he was out) and also helped my postpartum experience.
Sure, I had a second degree perineal tear and mild prolapse, but I was able to heal very quickly. I had no significant diastasis recti and I feel very fortunate. I just don't feel "back to normal".
My goal in 2018 is to share my education and experience with more mommas. I'm hoping that my knowledge with prenatal and postpartum fitness will give more women hope and empower them to take this crazy experience one step at a time. It truly makes my year when my clients feel stronger, more capable, and more confident while pregnant or postpartum. I'm honored to have worked with so many other women this year, so thank you!!
If you need help, please reach out. I LOVE hearing from you and I'm 100% here to support you in any way I can