Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Postpartum Fitness (insert crazy laughter here)

Let's talk postpartum fitness. WAIT. Don't leave. Really.

More specifically, let's talk about a definite lack of postpartum fitness. Uh oh.

Lately, I've had several people ask me about what I'm doing to lose weight, and if I've been working out "all the time" because I hardly look like I had a baby. The answer to that is most definitely no, and I don't say that in a bragging way, I say it a little bit sheepishly. There is no exercise happening around these parts, my friends.

I'll be honest. I've lost all but about three pounds of baby weight. And I'm happy about that. But things are not as they seem, and the weight is not where I left it, if that makes sense. The number on the scale is about the same as it was pre-baby, but my body looks totally different these days. It's weird. And wiggly. Nice, right?

Here's the deal. I exercised all throughout my pregnancy...kind of. I skipped most of the first trimester because I was just SO TIRED, but once I got that second-trimester-energy-burst, I was back at it. I kept up with BodyPump and cardio (no running, because it just didn't feel good, but elliptical, treadmill walking, etc.) and continued working out in some capacity until about 38 weeks. I was pretty proud of myself, and even though I gained almost 40 pounds while pregnant, it never seemed like so much and I was pleased that I never "looked pregnant" anywhere but in my midsection. Yay, pregnancy fitness.

Then I delivered a baby via C-section and was completely knocked on my ass with recovery. Seriously, guys - a C-section is no joke. In fact, it is major abdominal surgery. (Who knew?!) It is awful. It literally never occurred to me that I might have a C-section versus a vaginal birth, and it certainly never crossed my mind that recovery from that surgery would be intensely painful and slow and hard. The whole thing pretty much sucked. I don't recommend it.

Apart from taking the baby for walks and pushing the stroller, I didn't do anything in the way of exercise for a full two months following delivery. I took it easy and worked on making sure I recovered well. Then, I was given the go-ahead for activity at 8 weeks postpartum by my doctor, with the advice to ease back into it and listen to my body. Wahoo! I was excited to get back into the groove. I downloaded the Couch-to-5k app. I went to a yoga class. I bought 5-pound weights and had my sister (a PE teacher) write out some workouts for me. I was ready to go!

And then those weights sat completely unused in my basement. The C25K app got moved into a folder of unused apps so it would stop taunting me. I never went back to the yoga studio.

I want to workout. But I just can't find the drive to actually do it. Every day there are about 1000 reasons why a workout, even a short one, just doesn't happen. Most of them are baby-related (duh). What's left is, I don't have a sports bra that actually fits. It's too cold / windy / rainy outside to run / walk. I'm too tired. And here's the truth, too: I don't like how my body feels right now. Things don't move the same way as they did before. I'm out of shape, my breastfeeding-boobs are out of control, my stomach is soft and jiggly, and my muscles are wimpy. It feels like I'm starting completely from square one with my fitness, and that's not a very nice feeling. It's discouraging. I worked hard for years to get to a place where I was happy with my body, and I was strong and confident. Pregnancy pretty much turned everything upside down in that arena, and now I "get" to start from the bottom. Awesome.

So it's easy to see why I've lost my fitness mojo, right? I know that it doesn't have to be all or nothing, and I can start to find ways to work a little bit of exercise in. I see all these other moms who are doing it (the "benefits" of social media, right?) It's just frustrating to think about starting again, and therefore I'm avoiding it. I push the thoughts of sweat from my head and  I opt instead to just sit on my squishy butt on the couch at the end of the day.

There's no real point to this other than to say, this is what life looks like right now. It's not how I expected it to be at this point, but really, nothing about pregnancy / birth / motherhood has been. Why should fitness be any different? This "season" of life is full of steep learning curves, I'm finding. What a surprise! (sarcasm.)

PS: I registered to run a five-mile race in the middle of May. I thought maybe that would inspire me to get moving. So far, not so much.


Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

GIRLLLLL, I feel like you just went in to my brain and spilled the words out on paper (on text?) Amen to SO MANY OF THESE THINGS! I was absolutely overwhelmed trying to get back into fitness post-baby, and even now after almost 11 months I am still feeling the same way. I have been able to find a gym schedule that somewhat works for me (emphasis on the "somewhat"), but it has been so hard to essentially start from scratch. To be honest I didn't even really know where to start! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that feels this way, and thank you for sharing your story!

Tara said...

The "jiggliness" eventually goes away, and one day you'll realize that you have energy again! But until then, go easy on yourself. You are a brand-new mom and it's a lot to adjust to!

I've been reading "The Happiness Project", and something the author points out is that although we think that we act how we feel, it's actually reversed- we FEEL how we ACT. So if I act tired and lounge around all day... I'm going to feel even more tired. If I get out and make myself go for a run, I will feel more energetic. I've found this to be true, even when I've been just too exhausted and really didn't want to do much of anything.