FEATURE FRIDAY: "THE POST BABY JUGGLE" @mummysomniac
I have a penchant for procrastination.
I’m one of those people that leaves everything until the last minute. I’ve always done it. School work , uni assignments, and more commonly these days, exercise. Throw in a couple of rowdy toddlers, three years worth of sleepless nights, work and not to mention the never ending pile of washing, and the thought of exercise gets pushed further and further to the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list. As soon as something comes up that I don’t really enjoy, then it gets thrown into the ‘too hard’ basket. The thing is, I’ve always been a dancer. I never really considered it exercise, so finding myself in a position where I have to find the motivation to work out on my own, is really difficult!
After my first daughter was born, I found I bounced back pretty quickly. It didn’t take long before I was back into my old clothes again, and I managed mostly by going for daily walks. My daughter was a horrendous sleeper, and I found that for my own sanity, I had to take her out to sleep in the pram for at least one of her day naps. This worked for a while, but by the time she was roughly 10.5 months old, I fell pregnant with my second. Throughout both of my pregnancies I have suffered from an irritable uterus, if the breeze changed, I would find myself having a contraction, which for the record can be super freakin’ painful! This seemed to intensify as the weeks of the pregnancy went on, which made it harder and harder for me to stay motivated, or to even just get out for a walk. It just became the daily norm, to the point where I didn’t even realise I was in labour, because the contractions were exactly the same. This lack of exercise while I was pregnant combined with the fact that I carried a much larger baby this time, meant that my body pretty much got hammered.
Post pregnancy, I could barely even look at myself in the mirror. I had a 10cm abdominal separation, plus I’d gained more weight than I had the first time around, I felt overwhelmed, and I had just resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to look or feel like myself again. I was pretty much banned by my doctor and physio from doing any form of exercise other than what they had set out for me. I had to fix this separation first. I honestly wanted to cry, but the fact that I had a newborn, a 19 month old toddler, and a husband in the military working long hours, meant that most days I was too busy to worry about it. I understood the ramifications of NOT working on this ab separation though, so rather than doing what Kirsty does, and throw in the towel, I made sure to set some time aside and work on it.
I’m not entirely sure how long it took to fix. It wasn’t until my youngest was about 6 months old that I had the chance to visit the physio and get myself checked out. To my surprise and delight, it was fine, 1cm, or at least as good as it will ever be. It was well and truly time to ramp it up a bit. It may sound silly, but it was the daily posts from some of the amazing Insta Mummies that I follow that actually gave the motivation to do it myself. I took inspiration from their posts and worked a daily (ok, not always) workout into my routine. I don’t have a gym membership, or any fancy workout equipment, I really just use what I have at home. I take the girls to the park and push both of them in the double pram up the biggest hills on the way. I figure, every little bit helps.
For me, the biggest challenge is making the effort. I find that I actually need to make it a priority. I need to make sure that I put aside a half hour window somewhere during the day, otherwise the chaos of regular #mumlife takes over. I tend to do all of my workouts Monday-Friday, and take the weekend off, more so because lately I have been working weekends, and every little bit of spare time is with my family. It’s never really been about getting my ‘body back’, although that would be nice, I have to think about this realistically. It’s about feeling better about myself, both physically and mentally. It’s about being able to keep up with my kids, about being able to think clearly and sleep better (even though my kids still don’t sleep through), it’s about taking time to do something for myself!
I’m almost 16 months post the birth of my second child, and I’m still on the ‘post baby body’ roller coaster. It’s been a long road for me, and it’s a road with no end in sight. I still haven’t quite figured out what my post baby body is, I still haven’t quite accepted the changes that have been made, and I still haven’t reached the point of loving it… I don’t know that I ever will. It is relatively early days though, I’m only just stepping out of the whirlwind that was 2 babies in 19 months! What I can appreciate is what it’s capable of, what it’s been through and what it’s managed to create! It will never again be what it was, and rightly so, that body hadn’t yet done the amazing things that this body has. This new body is simultaneously weaker and stronger than the last one… It’s older, but to me, brand new… It survives on less sleep than the old one, yet manages to accomplish much, much more than I ever thought possible.