My girl will be 6 months old in 2 weeks! The longest shortest time, indeed. Here’s what I’ve learned, so far:
1). It wasn’t the birth experience I wanted, but the birth experience I needed.
It’s changed my perception of birth in the most incredible, and necessary way. I learned more about myself in 37 hours than I have in many years of my life combined.
I went into labor feeling confident and comfortable, with a side of anxiety. The anxiety was around whether I was MENTALLY tough enough to get through it. I knew it was going to be a long labor (was expecting over 24 hours).
From the get-go contractions were quite strong. I had no braxton hicks leading up, so I didn’t really even know what to expect.
And, yet, the entire time I was labouring I felt like I could keep going. Just get through one more. And, then one more after that. And, then another 10 hours would pass….ha!
Labor was the most mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done. It was incredible because I felt really in tune with my emotions throughout and felt very calm.
“Pain” isn’t actually a word I’d use to describe labor. It was so much more, so different that that.
In some way, I would say that labor was far more in my head, than it was my body. Does that make sense?
I say it was the birth experience I needed because I feel infinitely more connected to the group of pregnant mama’s and mums I coach now.
I now know far better how to coach my prenatal clients leading up to labor, and I got a bird’s eye view on how to recover and get back to weight training after C-section. I get to use my story to help and encourage others, and that’s invaluable.
2). Learning how to really embrace my body prior to and during pregnancy has allowed me to do the same in postpartum.
I truly believe that one of the reasons I’ve been able to really enjoy this adventure of having a baby is because I’m not constantly (or ever) stressed about my own body and how I’m going to change it.
If I could give any advice to those of you who are trying to conceive or pregnant now, it would be to keep doing the work to focus on loving and embracing your body.
Because, when your body takes an entirely new shape in an instant postpartum, that mindset work will support you in ways you can’t imagine.
It will further allow you to really appreciate all that your body has done.
I truly credit this mindset to allowing me to have an easy time adjusting to my postpartum body shape.
Women really enjoying their postpartum bodies…something you don’t hear that much about, but I’d love for you to start talking more about with your friends, if you fall into that category.
I just allow my postpartum body to be. No stress, no urgency.
Having a newborn and a baby is challenging enough. Don’t add extra stress to yourself by trying to hate your body into change.
3). I’m really, really proud and grateful for the things my body can do.
I’ve fed my daughter every single meal she’s ever eaten WITH MY BODY. That’s incredible and I’ve never been more thankful for my body to be able to do something (other than grow her!).
4). WHAT DID I ACTUALLY DO WITH ALL MY FREE TIME BEFORE SHE WAS BORN?
Haaaaha. Really, tho.
I have to GSD in a much smaller available amount of time now. It truly forces you to choose what’s truly the most important thing and to DO. THEM. NOW.
And, guess what’s even less important to me now? Spending time cooking and cleaning 😉
My food is based around taste, simplicity, and nutrient density. Smoothies with veg, eggs, pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, high fat yogurt. All are staples.
A prime example of this is with my workouts. They must be efficient and big bang for my buck.
5). I really love my postpartum body.
I’m astounded by the things it has done and continues to do. I’m serious. I’m not just saying it because it sounds nice or I think you want to hear that from me.
I feel really comfortable in it. I like the physical appearance of it – and let’s note that it’s squishier, carrying more fat, and I don’t fit into all my clothes, not even close.
So, I don’t love my body because it’s back to looking how it used to look. I’m not going to live that life.
6). I’m very aware of my own health.
I do not have time to get sick. I do not have time to be in physical pain. I do not have time to miss out on anything.
All of this means it’s absolutely essential that I take care of myself. If I don’t, I risk my milk supply, my energy, my ability to carry my daughter, my ability to care for my daughter.
I have to prioritize sleep as best I can. I have to work to manage my stress levels. I have to move my body daily. I have to strength train. I have to eat to nourish my body.
These things have never been more important to me. I’m needed in a whole new way now.
And, most importantly, I’m still a human 😉 I deserve to feel good. And, I do.
Bonus #7). As soon as you start thinking you can’t handle anymore of the current thing you’re going through, things change.
When we moved to Alberta people would say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes. It’ll change”. I feel like this sums up the difficult moments of mom-ing, so far.
The c-section healing, learning to breastfeed, taking exercise slow and cautiously, baby only napping for 20 minutes at a time. As soon as you’re about to throw in the towel, you get a reprieve and things change again. And, again 🙂
It’s universal, this postpartum thing. We met an immigrant family from Egypt a couple of days ago. They had a 6 month old and a 2 1/2 year old.
We couldn’t speak much English with them, but I felt this immediate connection to the mom. As if I knew a part of her story without knowing her at all.