After I dropped my own personal bombshell last post, I received some really great feedback about a few of your own personal truths and embarrassing stories post-baby, as well as a few common denominators. A LOT of you asked me about how to get your core strength back, and a lot of you mentioned that you wanted to get back in the gym, or spend time working on yourself, but faced the inevitable feelings of “MOM GUILT”.I plan on breaking my post about core strengthening in to a few smaller posts, so we can talk about the anatomy and actions of our core, and then talk about exercises (with and without baby) that we can perform to help re-educate it. In the mean time, I think it is important to talk about those awful little pings and pangs we get (especially for the working mama’s who are already away for a chunk of the day) that prevent us from taking the next step in our own health.
SIDE NOTE: Now, while a good chunk of you ladies are looking to get fit and fabulous again (or even look better than your pre-baby body), when I talk about “fitness and health”, I am not just talking about cardio, and weight lifting and being in the gym. I am also talking about taking steps to alleviate the aches and pains you may be dealing with (the back pain from bearing a child, the carpal tunnel syndrome, the neck pain from holding the baby and falling asleep in weird positions with them, etc)
I used to feel, was similar to how I FIRST thought of
MOM BRAIN (and pregnancy brain).
I thought it was an excuse we would use whenever we needed one, for being forgetful, or ditzy, or sleep-deprived. I quickly found out from experience, that ALL of the aforementioned, are REAL ISSUES (although my fiance begs to differ on the matter). Mom guilt is when the idea of spending one more moment away from our babies takes over any rationale we give ourselves to spend time working on
This very thing happened to me for the first 8 months of Brielle’s life. I went to work from 12-8pm, and when I came home, she was already in bed. My 1-2 hours in the morning were the ONLY time that I had to spend with her during the week, and the thought of taking an hour of that time to spend getting MY body back was unfathomable and selfish (so I thought). It wasn’t until a colleague and friend (who also happens to be an incredible personal trainer), sat me down, and asked me to devote 2-3 days a week to training so I could get back to where
I wanted to be.
One week later, I re-booted my fitness journey for the first time since pre-pregnancy. After the warm up of my first session, I couldn’t walk. In fact, I couldn’t walk for 4 days, (thats how out of shape I was). The first three weeks of 2 days/week were the hardest. One night, I actually cried because I felt selfish for spending time (TWO HOURS A WEEK, mind you) working on myself instead of with the baby.
By week 4, I was down 3lbs, starting to feel stronger, and less “jiggly” and my energy levels were up. I wasn’t even close to where I wanted to be in terms of fitness levels, but to feel energized, and confident, and to see improvements and know that it is ACTUALLY POSSIBLE to return to pre-baby fitness levels was ALL I NEEDED for that “mom guilt” to disappear.
You see, what I realized, is that when I feel good about myself, I am a better mother. I have more energy to chase my little bumblebee around the house, I have more confidence and am happy in my own skin, which directly affects my mood around my daughter, and how I respond to her when she’s pushing all the right buttons. When I feel good about ME, I am a better WOMAN. I am more helpful. I am fun and positive and active and secure, and I feel sexy – for myself, and for my man. This idea of feeling good about ourselves is applicable to all of us, whether we are feeling good about our weight loss and fitness goals, whether we are pain-free for the first time since our 4th month of pregnancy, or finally able to sleep at night without pins and needles in our arms and fingers. It is about not allowing the aches and pains, or lack of security and comfort in our own bodies from taking over our livelihoods.
“When a woman is feeling good about herself, it’s easier for her to raise her children to be wise, resilient, happy and loving human beings”
Ladies, take a deep breath, look at yourself in the mirror, and SHED THE MOM GUILT. By investing in yourself and your health, you are actually giving your children a gift in so many ways. You are inadvertently teaching them self-love, self-confidence, and self-esteem. You are leading by example in demonstrating an active and healthy lifestyle. And by investing in yourself and your health (both physical and mental), you are ensuring that Mama will be around to share experiences and all of life’s little journey’s with your babies. *Have questions, comments, ideas or things you want me to address? Leave a comment below so I can add them to my topic list!*