Returning to fitness after baby

It’s been almost 7 months since Baby G arrived in the world and it’s been a lot of change.  I considered myself a fit person before pregnancy but returning to fitness after the baby has been a bit different than I expected.  I did stay pretty active the entire time I was pregnant because I just don’t know how to stop.  I also wanted my pregnancy weight to be manageable after she was born.  I did run into things I didn’t expect and aren’t really things people told me.  These are things I want to share with you if you’re having a baby and want to be active after pregnancy.

Manage those expectations. I don’t think I did a good job at managing my expectations.  Like I said, I walked 5 miles on the regular at the start of my pregnancy and walked at least 3 miles 4 times a week toward the end of my pregnancy.  I was in it to win.  But when baby popped out, things were a bit different.  I thought I would bounce back quickly and things would return to “normal” but I was completely wrong.  Your activity level will not go back to the way it was before.  It will take work to get back to that level.  This may seem like common sense, right?  This was a hard lesson to learn.  It’s still a lesson I’m learning now.

I can’t exactly go run a marathon right now and it’s troubling to me.

Don’t rush things.  I was anxious about getting back to being active.  Post-baby you are put on exercise restriction and while it was a welcome change in the very early days, it started to wear thin on my by week three.  That was the longest period of time I haven’t worked out.  It will be a steady climb to get moving and ready to workout.  Along with managing those expectations, it’s also a time to celebrate the small victories like being able to walk on an incline on the treadmill or even running a mile.  I was too busy focusing on getting back to full on running, I may have rushed the process a bit.  I was doing half marathons weeks after being released to exercise.  It wasn’t the worst thing I did because I wasn’t going for performance, I wanted to go to finish.  I didn’t really set any long term goals which would have slowed the process a bit so I could get my bearings.

Don’t compare yourself to others.  I follow a lot of people on social media that were runners and having babies around the same time as me.  (It’s kind of crazy how many of my running friends had babies in the same time period.) Everyone is not on the same level and pregnancy affects people differently.  I am not the same as you and you aren’t the same as me which is something that is easily forgotten in this world of social media.  I would get frustrated that I wasn’t doing things that people were doing because my body wouldn’t allow me to do that.  I got down on myself sometimes for no reason.  This is a lesson for anyone so just keep your eyes on your goals and focus on your journey to get there.

Prepare for the unexpected.  I didn’t plan on having a c-section but it was what happened.  I didn’t know what to expect and really didn’t think it would make that big of a difference.  I had 8 weeks of having no exercise which is something I didn’t expect.  Lifting things besides the baby was pretty much non-existant.  Oh, that’s a major surgery too.  These are all things that took me by surprise and put a wrench in my plans.  Even after the c-section, I didn’t ask the right questions or even do research.  I suffered from my lack of knowledge which put me at a disadvantage of what I wasn’t to achieve.

Other things to note:

Sleep will evade you.  There is time to get the stuff done that you need to do but finding the time for extra stuff isn’t always there.  I worked out every day of the week before the baby so I had to modify my schedule, in the beginning, to get a workout in 3 days a week.  Something is better than nothing and some times it’s just better to take the time to sleep to help your body recover.

I sweat a lot or it might be a hot flash. This is not an everyone problem but I sweat uncontrollably.  People look at me at the gym and it looks like I’ve been there for hours but I may have only been there 15 minutes.  This has become a real problem when it comes to my running during the summer.  It’s not really something I expected but I know it takes time for the body to bounce back to normal levels.  It’s something that I’m dealing with to work for me.

Your body will not look the same, even after losing the baby weight.  Things have shifted.  Assets grow. There are new things to deal with but it’s ok.  It’s a new you because you grew a human.  It’s not really the worst thing in the world, right?

All in all, it’s a slow process just like any journey.  These are just things I wouldn’t have expected or maybe I was just blind to the fact.  If I would do one thing differently during pregnancy, I would have done more weight training during pregnancy.  Muscle mass is something lost during pregnancy which really makes the process of getting back into things a little harder.  Do some type of weight training to keep your strong during pregnancy.

I really do hope this post finds someone who will find it helpful.