Life is busy and with kids! Working out and staying active can become even more of a challenge. The biggest issue that I face and struggle with, as a mother is time. Time for kids, time for work, time for me... most days I just can't do it all!
As a mom of two I've found that my time is even more in demand and making sure that both kids get enough mommy time can make it hard to leave time for other things. What I am learning is that the more we can do as a family to support a healthy, active lifestyle, the happier we all are!
People ask me all the time about the secret to getting back in shape after a baby. Truthfully there isn't a quick solution or magic formula. The answer to rebuilding muscle tone and strength is about finding a way to make exercise a part of your life again. Is it tough as a mom? Definitely. But taking care of yourself and taking charge of your health is also doable and completely worth the time spent. You are worth it!
I found the recovery process to be very different with each of our daughters as the deliveries were so different. With Lumina I had an emergency c-section after over 24hrs of labor. The recovery process from the surgery was something I had never even contemplated - I was completely unprepared for what was in store. I can't think of a time when I have felt less connected to my body or more terrified about how I felt physically than after delivering Lumina. I was swollen everywhere and had intense back pain. When we left the hospital my stomach was still so big that I couldn't zip my jacket over my tummy. Everything settled down in time but in those early days I feared that I would never be able to physically recover. For any moms that had a c-section and are ready to start working out again don’t miss my new c-section recovery workouts here. I filmed these when Lumina was around 4-5 months old. You might notice that my body looks pretty different than it does today, all completely healthy, normal and good!
Violette, my second, was born via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and the experience could not have been more different. As an experienced mom I was much more confident with the baby, but I also felt so much more like me in the days after her delivery. I had to remind myself to slow down and not push too quickly. Even a short walk in the neighborhood felt like too much for about 3 weeks.
After my Doctor cleared me to workout I started back slowly both times. With Lumina I took extra care not to target my core for many weeks and months after delivery, starting first with focusing on strengthening my legs, arms and butt. As I felt stronger and my body was more healed I began incorporating bridge work and gentle abdominal exercises to slowly rebuild. I took a lot of care to stay hydrated and making sure I was also eating enough calories and protein so that I could maintain my milk production as I breastfed both girls over a year. Dieting and breastfeeding do not mix, I found I had to drink tons of water and eat a lot of high quality proteins to maintain my supply. With Violette everything moved more quickly and I was ready for more challenges more quickly.
When it comes to postnatal workouts it is so important to be patient and kind to yourself. Remember to always treat your body and yourself with love. A workout should empower and strengthen you. Go slowly, set realistic goals and don't compare your progress to others.
Have a beautiful workout!
Xoxo Mary Helen