I recently tapped Suzanne Ko (@skofit) - certified pregnancy & postpartum fitness coach - to help me navigate through my postpartum journey (currently 6 months PP). I hope byway of sharing my findings, you too will be less hard on your postpartum self.
Suzanne is a former architect and interior designer turned fitness guru who has worked with clients (for over 15 years) both in-person and remote in the Chicagoland area. After the birth of her first daughter in '16 she found out she suffered a traumatic birth due to a pelvic organ prolapse. She sought out further education to help herself heal, while committing to help other mom's recover and get strong for motherhood. Suzanne has two beautiful daughters, GabyMac (4 y/o) and IzzyMae (15 months).
My postpartum demons.
Whether your a new mom or seasoned mom, each journey is different for everyone. Personally, my road to recovery with the second has been a lot more difficult and exasperated. Sick every week from my toddler's seasonal colds, exhausted from sleep training my colic infant, utilize my late evenings to operate my online business, cooking healthy meals, cleaning, cooking.... oh wait - did I get on the treadmill yet today? I'm constantly fighting myself for time to "work-out" yet, aren't I doing that already with the +12 hours on my feet and +20 flights of stairs each day (according to my iWatch)?
I'm never doing a good enough job at returning myself back to "normal" in time for that spring break trip, wedding, or dinner party.... because I know it will be a thought in everyone's mind - "how does she look?" I squeezed in 2 private tennis lessons in an effort to rejoin my team, only to then find myself run down, depleted, sick and at the hospital for a IV iron infusion - no joke!
Maybe it's easier for others. They could live locally with help, or have easy babies. This too floods my mind with inflections and questions... These are the little demon voices in my head.
Insert- Suzanne Ko.
Suzanne shared with me her top 5 tips but what also stuck was her passing along this quote -
"Pregnancy is temporary, but postpartum is forever"
Boy ain't that the truth. It's so important that we listen to our body and rebuild in the right way to be able to be our best self in motherhood, our workplace, and our home life.
1. Give Yourself Some Grace: if you identified with my postpartum struggles/pressure, we should probably get this tattooed somewhere (lol!). This tip really resonates with me. Per Suzanne - it's going to take some time to get adjusted to your postpartum body. Give yourself some grace. I don't think of it as bouncing back, but rather moving forward with my new body - a body that did an amazing thing. While your body took nine months to grow a baby, it will take at least a year to eighteen months for your hormones to start regulating again. If you are breastfeeding, this timeline will be longer. Sleep while you can. If you are tired, it is OK to choose sleep over exercise. Exercise will only create more stress on your body. Your timeline is going to be different from another mom's timeline. It is normal to look like you are still pregnant. Instead of trying to shrink our body, let us celebrate our body by getting stronger - both physically and mentally.
2. Rest and Recover: In those first few weeks postpartum, you are getting used to the changes your body went through after delivering a baby. Rest as much as possible and give yourself time. You may anxious to start moving. I get it mama! However, tissues are still healing and your uterus is shrinking back to normal size. If you had a c-section, that is a major surgery that requires a longer recovery and rehab than a vaginal delivery.