A couple of months before giving birth I decided to start planning how I would get back in shape after having the baby. I told my girlfriend, who had a baby exactly a year before me, that my plan was to be working out 6 days a week: hiking, circuit training and hot yoga, she looked at me and said, “good luck and call me when that happens”.
I wasn’t really sure where the lack of support was coming from, but after giving birth it quickly became clear how unreasonable this goal was. I had not thought about that fact that after having a baby, your body needs time to heal, both emotionally and physically. Familiar with the unreasonable expectations women in LA have to jump back to their pre-baby bodies, the doctors and nurses at Cedars Sinai were sure to warn me that until I’d had my 6 week check up with my doctor, I was not to be working out.
Walking would be my most rigorous workout for the weeks to follow. At first, this sounded like a joke to me, but once again, I was surprised by how much having a baby throws your whole world for a loop. In the past, walking was not a workout to me. But now, just to get myself out the door required a whole new level of planning and scheduling with coordinating my baby’s feeds, naps and changes. It also meant building up the confidence to step outside with unwashed hair, under eye bags and the excess baby weight, all while struggling with a whole new level of exhaustion I’d never experienced before.
I’m happy to say I survived these first 6 weeks, but my ambitious workout plan did not! In fact, I was lucky if I got 3 walks in a week at the beginning. That being said, I did manage to drop 15 pounds. Some may attribute this to breast-feeding, I personally think it had to do with the roller coaster of emotions that follow giving birth, combined with my lack of time to sit down and eat proper meals! Physically, I was tired, but emotionally I was tired… then excited, then anxious, then crying (my poor husband!)
I went to my 6 week appointment excited to get the clearance to get back into the groove of physical fitness. When I got the green light, however, the idea of jumping back in was daunting. Once again my girlfriend’s voice popped into my head. It wasn’t about what I wanted to do; it was about finding the time and energy to do it! At 6 weeks, I was still figuring out my baby’s schedule. In fact, she’s now 7 months old and it is still a bit of a juggling act. I am proud to say that I am now working out 4-5 days a week and 6 pounds away from where I want to be. This isn’t my old schedule or routine, but it’s one that allows me to spend time with baby Stella and my husband. The moral of the story? Set realistic goals and don’t beat yourself up, you’ll get back into a groove, eventually!