A fit pregnancy will help you bounce back after pregnancy.
Lots to unpack here, but let’s keep it simple. Yes, it’s a great idea to stay as active as you can during pregnancy (for you and the baby). Yes, it’s important to have a plan and support team to return to exercise postpartum. But let’s be clear, where are we bouncing back to and why is it so important that we constantly guilt moms throughout this entire experience?
I’m 100% sure I didn’t bounce back after either of my pregnancies. It’s pretty hard to bounce when you’ve unexpectedly been in the hospital nearly a week, did the better part of a vaginal delivery only to end up with a C-section and every appendage is so swollen that you have to send your mother in law to @target to get underwear with leg holes large enough to accommodate your swollen thighs.
Nope. No bouncing back.
Even with the perfect pregnancy/delivery without complications, why are we so anxious to bounce back? I have no desire to bounce back to a time when I wasn’t connected to my body and had a distorted idea of what post-partum looked/felt like (even after working with post-partum moms for nearly 10 years!)
Bouncing implies a rush, a quickness. Post-partum is anything but that. Days are long and nights are longer. You see other moms casually pushing a stroller, clutching their non-fat mocha latte- trust me, there are tired eyes under those sunglasses. The mom that returned to CrossFit before the 6-week postpartum mark, unless she’s seen a pelvic PT (and I have friends who have returned early but they got checked first and were being monitored), she may be ignoring leakage with her doubleunders, afraid that if she stops going to the gym she’ll have no outlet for her stress or connection to who she once was. We can do better to support our moms.
If you’re not bouncing back, then where to? How about reality. Kids are progressive resistance. Just getting them out of the house to go for a walk is an endurance exercise in of itself. Find your deep core while finding your community. One of my very closest family friends is a mom who I met at mommy baby yoga when our boys were 4-5 months old. The family moved a few hours away but we’re still close. Trust me, you’ll need that support. The best part is, when we’re all together now, we move. We ski, we run, we paddleboard and swim.
We only get to do post-partum as often as we have kids. See it for what it is, an opportunity to give yourself grace, and intentionally find the pathway back to wherever you’re going that works for you. Plan for it to NOT go according to plan. The baby weight may stay a little longer than you thought, your abdomen might feel like a hollow cave or your descending organs may be a parting gift that your child decided to take along with them during delivery. Support each other. Get educated. Get help. There is a better way.