Most women, regardless of their history, experience some degree of dissatisfaction with their bodies after having a baby. I, despite my long history of being comfortable in my own skin, have been no exception.
It wasn’t particularly about the weight for me – although that contributes. Because of how much fluid I’d gained, I lost over 50 pounds in the first three weeks of Tirzah Mae’s life. That might have felt good, except for the overwhelming sense I had that my body had failed me – and Tirzah Mae.
Sometimes people will remark that Tirzah Mae “just wanted to come out” – and I have to bite back an angry remark. Tirzah Mae’s premature birth had nothing to do with Tirzah Mae. It wasn’t her body that stopped regulating its blood pressure. It wasn’t her body that started spilling protein in her urine. It wasn’t her liver that shut down, making the womb inhospitable to life. It was MY body. It was MY womb that was poised to become a living coffin (although not for long – it would have killed me in addition to Tirzah Mae.) My body betrayed us. That’s why Tirzah Mae was born early.
Even when thankfulness for Tirzah Mae’s safe delivery overcame the sense of my body’s betrayal, I still felt dissatisfaction towards my body. My weight came down, my blood pressure started coming down – but I spent a month seeing in shades of gray except for occasional bright floaters. My weight came down and started rising again, stabilizing about 25 pounds higher than my pre-pregnancy weight. For the first time in my life, I was overweight.
But the weight wasn’t the worst of it. The worst was how weak I was. I exercised regularly during my pregnancy – my second trimester before I started retaining water was probably the fittest I’ve ever been. But after nearly a month of some form of bedrest, 8 days of it hospitalized, I couldn’t do anything. I was weak, I got winded, I felt every muscle in my body after formerly routine movements. My body betrayed me again.
The weakness (and a desire to be ready for VBAC next time around) is what motivated me to get exercising after Tirzah Mae was born – and I’ve been taking the opportunity to also read the books my library has available to help postpartum moms get fit.
Lisa Druxman’s Lean Mommy is the best book I’ve read so far.
Reasons I love Lean Mommy:
- It’s not all about the weight – it’s [honestly] about making healthy lifestyle changes
- It uses the [science-based] Cognitive-Behavior Therapy to help moms change self-defeating thoughts and actions
- It gives a straightforward program for physical fitness and healthy eating habit formation – with different regimens depending on your starting fitness level
- Apart from an overemphasis on choosing organic and avoiding additives, the nutrition advice was actually not terrible (which is saying a LOT!)
I was already working out regularly when I started reading this book – and what I was doing was working for me – so, apart from trying the workouts once, I didn’t follow this program. But I would have no qualms about doing this program straight through.
The author is the founder of “Stroller Strides” – a playdate slash exercise group that walks with their kids in strollers – and the workouts come from this program. Which means having a stroller definitely makes it easier to do this program (I didn’t when I first borrowed the book from the library). So does having exercise bands (I didn’t and still don’t – I used free weights.) That said, even if you don’t choose to do the three different workouts detailed in this book, the book still has plenty to offer in helping you set up an individualized program for getting fit after having a baby.
I recommend it.
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Postpartum fitness
Synopsis: The author helps mothers establish healthy exercise and eating habits after having a baby – all while enjoying their babies and modeling healthy attitudes towards their bodies, exercise, and eating.
Recommendation: An excellent resource for moms – even if they don’t intend to use the “Stroller Strides” workouts found within