‘I just want my body back’ is a common phrase among new mums and we get it. We’ve said it too.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood is a combination brimming with highs and lows. It’s an emotional roller coaster and the way we feel about our bodies is no exception.
First up, we all need to be kinder to ourselves and stop judging our physical selves against totally unrealistic examples of women’s bodies. We need to learn to value the function of our bodies much more highly than the look. Easier said than done, we know. But remember, you might look alright on the outside but if your insides aren’t up to much that’s not going to last – and it certainly won’t help you feel good either.
Many of us focus on getting ‘back’ to where we were before the baby came along. We long to fit into the same jeans and to be the same person all over again, just with a lovely new little person in tow.
But here’s the thing – we’re not the same anymore. Our bodies change during pregnancy, our mindset shifts and crucially our priorities aren’t the same and neither are our time constraints.
So, often what happens is that we decide we would want to return to some semblance of our former selves, forgetting that a lot has changed. This causes frustration when the results we’re looking for don’t arrive quickly.
Now, we’re not saying that you can’t get back to where you were but why go backwards? Why not change, move with times and take steps forwards towards a whole new you?
The postnatal period is actually a great time to evaluate your body – its strengths and its weaknesses and set new goals for yourself and your lifestyle.
Oh – but hold your motivated horses – remember that we’re talking a little bit down the line, when you and baby are happy and settled and it feels like the right time to focus a little more on healing.
You are allowed to focus on you and your body though and it’s a perfectly acceptable idea that you will want to make steps to healing and honing post baby.
But we think that the way to move forward is to stop thinking about the past. Stop hankering quite so much for the way you used to look, how your body used to feel. If you accept the now and work with the new challenges you face, you are more likely to get results and chances are you’ll end up fitter, stronger and more healthy than you were before anyway, because you are approaching your fitness journey with a clear, positive mindset.
Many of us aren’t that fit heading into pregnancy, even if we’re the size we’d like to be. Many of us simply aren’t as healthy as we should be but we don’t really realise it.
There’s nothing like having a baby to wake you up to the way your body functions, to how all those muscles really work and to how fit you actually are. There are lots of parts of your body that you probably never paid much attention to before as long as your clothes fitted. But as soon as you have kids and start rolling around on the floor with them or chasing them around, you begin to get a sense of the bits of you that don’t quite work properly. The back twinges, the tummy muscle strains and the knee aches all tell you that you need to be a bit stronger.
So, when it comes to adjusting after baby is born maybe it’s a good idea to ask yourself how you can improve on what you had before, rather than simply trying to get back to being the same. Give yourself a vision of the new you and stop picturing the old one quite so much. This is your chance to really kick some ass! You’ve done the super tough bit. Now getting stronger and fitter, in your own time, on your own terms is totally doable and when you get there, you won’t miss what you had before, one bit.
So instead of hankering after the old, be excited for the new. The possibilities for improvement stretch before you and travelling forwards and embracing change is always far more achievable than trying to claw your way backwards to a time gone by.