There is so much information out there today for what,how,and when you should exercise during your pregnancy.Everyone concentrates on getting you ready for the marathon of labor and delivery. But who prepares you for the marathon of mothering?
Postpartum is such a neglected period in a woman’s life. After the excitement of giving birth, the reality of what has just happened sinks in. I remember when my first daughter made her appearance in this world,I sank back into the hospital bed and thought that I was going to get some rest. Then they handed her to me and I realised with a shock that I was NEVER going to rest again. (when I wanted to that is)
Like many other mothers to be, I had basked in the attention that I was being given. I was able to nap during the day, cook real food and generally have a great time. I even got to shower by myself.So this, to my mind is not preparing anyone for the rigours of new parenthood.
Life after baby became a game of catchup, I was always going to catch up on my sleep, catch up on the latest news, catch up on some eating… 22 years later and I am still hoping to get some sleep but that’s another story.
What is really missing from the postpartum period is some honest to goodness exercises that are simple and quick to do, that truly rehabilitate the body. Exercise doen’t have to be intense to be beneficial. Your body will respond to any movement you give it. So if you feel overwhelmed by the thought that in order to get back into shape you have to dedicate yourself to one hour of vigorous, sweaty, hard exercise, I am here to tell you,you don’t.
First of all, what “shape” do you want to get into? Heidi Klums? That’s never going to happen even if you haven’t just had a baby.You are going to get into the shape you have become by giving birth. You will then over time make this shape, stronger,more supple and gorgeous.
And it starts out slow but steady. Just after the birth, all you really need to do is some deep abdominal breathing. You’re breathing anyway so there’s no excuse about lack of time. Just be aware of how you’re breathing and whether you’re using your tummy muscles on the exhale. You don’t even have to get out of bed for this one.
Or even for the next one. Kegels! Yes they work!. So as you’re breathing,think about pulling your sit bones together on the exhale. Those are the bones you can feel when you sit on a hard surface. This will get the circulation pumping to the vaginal area and will start the healing process.
And you can still stay in bed to stretch. Any space you can give your body is good. It doesn’t have to be in a formal “stretch” class. Lift your arms over your head, reach for the ceiling and stretch. add a deep breath and you’ve killed two birds with one stone. Add your kegel and you are done!
So for the first week or so after you’ve had that little bundle of joy with the big voice, any chance you have, breath, stretch and kegel.
You’ll be so glad you did.
And wear a smile. after all its called the JOY of motherhood (just in case you have forgotten):)