“You’ll bounce back.”
My son recently turned 9 months old. I’m not going to be THAT mom who says, “Where did the time go,” or talks about how, “They grow so fast,” or anything like that. For the record, it’s all true but I’m not here to do that.
No, what I wanted to talk about is getting back to wellness, particularly body, after baby. I know, guys, at first glance, this one isn’t quite for you. However, it might be helpful if you’ve got a new mom or expecting mama in your life, give you an idea of what she’s going through or will be soon.
When I was pregnant, I was admittedly concerned about gaining weight, losing fitness, and the way my body might change forever. Everyone told me I’d “bounce back” after having my baby, assumingly because I went into it very fit. Yes, you could say I had a fit pregnancy; I ran a full marathon and three half marathons, while continuing to lift. I planned to start working out right at 6 weeks postpartum and I did, so I guess the natural thought was I’d easily get back the body I had before.
Let me tell you, it didn’t work that way. I didn’t bounce back quickly or easily.
Here we are, nine months later, and I only recently got back to my pre-baby weight. I gained fewer than 30 pounds during pregnancy but, as they say, it takes nine months to put it on and it really does take nine months to take it off, assuming you eat and work out in a reasonable, non-aggressive fashion. So I didn’t bounce back quickly.
Secondly, it has taken a lot of work to get back to pre-baby weight. I wasn’t one of those women who breastfed and the pounds just fell off. Nope, my body needed every extra pound and calorie to produce anything. Only once I stopped breastfeeding was I able to lose my last five pounds, even though I’ve been consistently working out five (sometimes six) days a week and focusing on eating a reasonable amount of food. No, I definitely didn’t bounce back easily.
Then there’s a whole other side of things. I may be back to the same weight as I was before, but it’s not actually the same. I went into pregnancy at my usual weight, which fluctuated in the high 140s to 150. The last few times I’ve hit the scale the past few weeks, I’ve been 153, 148, 151, all around that usual benchmark. But my 150+/- pounds, pre-baby isn’t quite the same as 150 +/- pounds, post-baby.
I’m slowly building back my strength and muscle mass, but I’m still not as strong as I used to be.
I ran my first half marathon back before Abel turned five months old, but I’m still not as fast as I used to be.
I’ve been able to get back to normal, fairly healthy eating, but I’m still not cooking and meal prepping to the degree I’d like.
I sleep well most nights but I don’t get as much rest – naps and relaxing – for as good of recovery as I used to.
I never used to get sick and now my immunity is nowhere near what it used to be.
And, again, I’m the same weight and all of my pre-baby clothes fit but it’s just not quite the same…
I feel like I’m working harder at wellness now than I did before Abel, but the results aren’t the same.
I didn’t just bounce back, and I definitely didn’t do it quickly or easily. What I’ve learned is this is my new normal. This may just be my new body, my new lifestyle.
Why am I sharing this specific of a story? I think there’s pressure on moms to look great and just magically get back to the way we were before. But, truthfully, it won’t be the same as it was before.
The body changes and goes through a fight club of sorts, so it’s not the same. Add to that now we’ve got tiny humans to take care of, in addition to ourselves. That’s definitely not the same.
So if you’re like me and you didn’t “bounce back,” quickly or easily, even with essentially having the deck fully stacked in your favor, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay that it’s not the same.
Guys and gals, tell me about your experience getting back to fitness after starting a family. Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.