Having a baby is SO many things. It is exciting and wonderful, miraculous and special, life-changing and empowering. It is also tiring, your hormones are going crazy, you aren’t getting any sleep, you have a baby that now needs you 24/7, and, if you’re like most women, your body is VERY different than before. Everyone responds differently to pregnancy and postpartum and some women look like supermodels after they have babies, but let’s be real, most of us look in the mirror after having a baby and almost have trouble recognizing our bodies.
I am a mom to three kids under three (boy/girl twins that just turned two, and a 10 month old baby boy) and have experienced the whole “postpartum” thing a couple of times in the past two years. Before I was pregnant with my twins I was a competitive Crossfit athlete, and before that I was a collegiate track and field athlete. Working out has always been a part of my life, and I have always been somewhat “in-shape”.
But let me tell you, going from feeling like I could accept almost any fitness challenge pre-babies to not even being able to do a pull-up unassisted or go up my stairs without breathing hard was a rude awakening for me after delivering my twins. I also felt really insecure in my gym clothes and was self-conscious coming back into a gym environment. I had set so many expectations for myself and assumed everyone around me would judge me for being “out-of-shape”.
I decided I could mope and eat all the chocolate in the world and just accept things for what they were, or I could set some goals and get to work. I focused on beginning with small victories (like making it through a warm-up without wanting to quit). I also listened to my body and gave it nothing but gratitude for the amazing things it had accomplished already (becoming a mom is a HUGE deal). Most of all, I just took it one day at a time. I also taught myself to love and appreciate my body even though it didn’t look the same as it had before, and make goals like “do 5 pull-ups” or “get my mile time down” instead of “hit this number on the scale” or “look like that one girl” and that made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I would go to the gym each day with a goal in mind and work my butt off to accomplish it, and little by little I got better and better, and with that my body confidence came back even better than it had before!
I have moms tell me all the time that they don’t want to go back to the gym after having a baby because they feel discouraged about being out of shape. If that is you, I say throw that pride out the window and tell yourself you deserve to feel good. You must accept that getting back into shape is a journey. It is SO worth it though. It is in that journey of overcoming physical challenges in the gym that I have been able to do the hard things as a mother. I KNOW I can do hard things, because I do them every day while working out. So, for me, that translates so well to staying positive when things are draining as a mom, because they WILL be, often.
Be gentle with yourself in those early months, and soak up all that newborn goodness you can because it’s gone before you know it. Make a plan for YOU and take the time you need to focus on your health. You will feel so much better because of it. Your children will learn healthy habits and you will be able to tackle all that motherhood demands. You can do this. You are a mother, and that means you are strong. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our “Gnarly Mama” page. You can get going right away and you don’t even need to leave your house. We have a full month of at-home workouts and meal plans designed for you for free. Check them out, make a plan, set some goals and get going!
I believe in you.