My Post Partum Fitness Journey, 4 Weeks Later
My goodness what an adventure it’s been! I have a whole new sense of respect and admiration for biology and the female body! Having just turned 39, I was somewhat apprehensive about getting pregnant. I had some doubts and wondered first of all, could I even get pregnant? And If I did, would I have the energy to be the fun-loving mom that I wanted to be? And yes, I’ll admit it; would I be able to lose the baby weight? Like many women, I have struggled with body image in the past and the thought of going through so many changes felt scary in many ways.
Turns out getting pregnant was not so difficult! I was fortunate that way. Looking back, getting pregnant was the fun part! Although at times, it was quite stressful. I remember each month when Aunt Flo came for her visit, I was so discouraged. But four months into it, right before Christmas, Santa brought us the best gift ever; a positive pregnancy test!
My pregnancy was relatively easy. I realize how fortunate I am in this regard as well. I credit genetics, and fairly clean eating habits for several years (mostly organic, Paleo oriented). I took a prenatal vitamin, and quit coffee and alcohol for almost a year before getting pregnant. During the pregnancy, I had no nausea, no food aversions, slept well for the most part, and maintained an easy exercise routine pretty much until the end; two daily dog walks and a light strength training circuit at the gym several times per week. I also sprinkled in some swimming, yoga and pregnancy workout DVD’s at home.
So, I ended up gaining 40 pounds, just five pounds over the high side of the “recommended” weight gain of 25-35 pounds for a woman starting in a “normal” BMI. I put quotes around some of these terms because I want to emphasize that every woman is different and what’s normal for one, may not be normal for another. While I was pregnant, I tried to limit sweet treats to once per week, although I admittedly fell off the wagon several times and there were weeks where it was more like on a daily basis. I did eat plenty of greens, lots and lots of eggs (we have our own backyard chickens), and plenty of healthy fats: avocado, nuts, organic butter, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, lamb, sardines, and wild salmon.
Because I tested GBS positive, the hospital required me to get IV antibiotics while in labor. I had a very long labor, 52 hours! So I ended up getting numerous rounds of antibiotics and tons of IV fluids. I was so bloated and full of fluids, that despite birthing a healthy 8.8 pound baby boy and a huge placenta, when I weighed myself the next day, my weight hadn’t budged! And suddenly, despite having avoided them through my pregnancy, the cankles showed up!
The first week back home was rough to say the least. I could barely walk. Literally, I don’t remember ever being so slow. It was disheartening. My pelvis felt like it was going to drop on the floor with each step. I could literally feel the fluids swishing around in my legs as I tried to move around. Going up and down the 5 stairs in my home felt like a major undertaking. When I first looked at my naked body, I burst into tears because my stomach looked like a deflated beach ball. I didn’t even dare look “down there” to assess the damage from the tear that required stitching.
It’s a rough time! The lack of sleep, combined with the fluctuating hormones can really bring the waterworks when it comes to tears! Thank goodness for my supportive husband who reassured me of how beautiful and powerful I was as a woman and now a mother! My body had created a new life and brought it into this world, and that was so amazing and super sexy! 🙂 Yup, I found myself a good man!
So I took it really slowly. I pushed myself in tiny increments. I dragged myself out of the house and although it was frustrating not to be able to move like I wanted to, getting out really boosted my spirits. Leaning on the baby stroller for support helped too, and by about week three, I was walking a couple of miles, really slowly, but steadily! Walking also really helped to push the excess fluids out, and by the end of week three, I had lost 20 pounds!
4 weeks after my son’s birthday, I am down 25 pounds. I have 15 more to go until I reach my pre pregnancy weight. I still have a line running down my belly and a little pooch, but I am starting to feel “normal” again, with the exception of the giant boobies! There’s one perk of the post pregnancy body! Although, I wonder how it’s going to feel once I decide to start running again!
My intention with this new blog is to create some accountability for myself, and to share my experience with other post-partum moms so that we may support one another and hopefully laugh our way through it! I will be writing at least once weekly on nutrition, exercise, and any other wellness topic that comes up along the way. I am realizing now how difficult it is to take care of myself now that there is another human being entirely dependent on me!
Until next week, be well!