3 Reasons Why Exercise is the Key to Life After BabyAug 02, 2019
Sometime after becoming a mom, we face the fact that, our life, body, and mind will never be the same!
WTF?!?! That could be terrifying, depressing, exciting or relieving...the range of feelings about this stuff is vast. I know because I’ve been there myself (4 times!), and because, as a birthworker and parent coach, I see it every day. We love our children so much…BUT the changes to our bodies, lives and energy can be SO hard. The realization that things will never be the same can be crushing. If you feel like extra weight, exhaustion, achiness, peeing your pants at the drop of a hat, and emotional rollercoasters are unavoidable as a parent, I totally get it.
After my 4th baby, I felt trapped and defeated. I was exhausted and drowning in parenting demands. I felt unsatisfied with my body and still had pain from my birth. But, paying attention to how and when I incorporated movement and physicality into my life was a big part of pulling me out of that dark place.
Here’s why exercise is non-negotiable for me now, and why I work to make it possible for my clients:
Bash the Baby Blues
When we’re experiencing baby blues or feeling depressed, a new exercise can help; movement and learning a new skill are both proven to minimize depression, so try a new workout! If it’s outside and in a group (2 more proven depression-killers), that’s even better! AND, bonus, regular exercise helps us sleep better, which also keeps depression at bay. It doesn't have to be some killer boot camp or gym hulking-out; walking with a friend, yoga, stretching, dancing, tai chi, swimming, WHATEVER, just move your bod!
Build Your Tribe
Isolation and loneliness are two big complaints I hear from clients. Having a kid can separate you from your old friendships, and lugging a kid around can feel like an anchor blocking you from making new friends. Group exercise is a great way to level the playing field and finally connect with some like-minded mamas. Get some friends and go embarrass yourself together in a Zumba class - laughter is a depression killer too, you know!
Heal Your Bod
After birth, we take time off from physical activity to allow healing, but after 6-8 weeks it’s equally important to get back to using our bodies to rehabilitate the muscles, fascia, and even our skeleton (!) after birth. We tend to think of exercise in terms of losing weight, but it’s also crucial for things like healing your pelvic floor, relieving postpartum pain and minimizing incontinence (who doesn't want to stop randomly peeing their pants?). I don't give a hoot how fat you think you are, this is NOT about that garbage; it's about your health and happiness!
Exercise can play a big part in helping us face the reality that “It will never be the same again.” Instead of looking back with longing, we can look forward to the energized, balanced, and self-aware life that is possible for us. You’ll never be the same, you’ll only get better!
AND if you're struggling with any of the challenges I mentioned here, you are NOT alone. Reach out to me, or to another parent support person, to start getting yourself back to...well, yourself!