A Love Letter to our MomBods

Back when I was still pregnant (just over a year ago 😉 ), I thought that by a year postpartum, my daughter would be mostly weaned from breastfeeding and I’d be able to workout HARD, take all the preworkout and other supplements that should not be in breast milk, and hey maybe think about competing again!

Not yet. Horses: held.

My body is still not completely mine. My daughter is only just starting to understand that she can eat food in addition to playing with it, but she still primarily gets her nutrition from me. 

So I still have the breastfeeding softness.

A lot of moms have that softness, breastfeeding or not.

And you know what? To your child, you are PERFECT.

That softness is their tactile sensation of comfort. The way you smell after you’ve missed a shower or two (because #momlife)? Comfort. Everything about you is perfect to them because it is YOU.

YOU are their world.

So all that “body back” messaging (that will be another post!)? Ughhhhhhhhhhh *eyeroll* 

Your body will never be the same.

You’ve grown and birthed a HUMAN.
You’ve leveled up.

Perfectionism, Mom Guilt, and Getting Shit Done

I have a goal this year. Well actually, I have a number of goals, but those are for another post or two 😉 

I will write and post more regularly here on The Radiant Human::The Fit Mamafesto! 

Why am I making a point of proclaiming this as a goal?

Because:

I have a lot to say. A lot.

But I have been far too perfectionistic about it. My desire for the perfect verbiage and nuance and voice has instead left my words paralyzed in the drafts section of my blog.

And honestly?

That been a really selfish move on my part.

I’ve been so fixated on creating PERFECT that I’ve effectively kept my thoughts to myself. 

Not anymore.

My words and thoughts deserve to be out there, to be shared and discussed and debated and yes it will be ok if I decide I need to make some edits!

So that’s out there. That covers the Perfectionism and Getting Shit Done parts of the title. But what does it have to do with Mom Guilt?

Everything. 

Mom guilt is all about second guessing and wondering about the path not taken rather than simply being present and enjoying the current beautiful, messy journey. Mom guilt can arise from the paralysis caused by a particularly venomous perfectionism. 

Mom guilt gets in the way of GETTING SHIT DONE.

Does this mean that by writing more I’ll rid myself of Mom Guilt, forever and ever? 

No. And that’s ok.

But I’ll be able to look at the Mom Guilt, maybe acknowledge it with a little greeting or a wave, say “peace out!”, and then I can continue on the GSD path instead of allowing it to grow into a monstrous THING.

Because I have shit to do. 

The FitMom’s Gym Bag

You’ve been ok’d to return to the gym AND (this is crucial) your body feels ready for it!

CAN I GET AN AMEN?

So you just pack the things you packed before, plus diaper bag and baby if baby’s coming with you, right? Yes….. and no. There are some key things that will make your life easier at the gym post birth.

Booby pads

Because this happens.

photo 4

Flexibility and a Time Cushion

Everything takes longer with babies. EVERYTHING. That 5 minute quick run to the store? Now it’s 20. Exception: showers. I don’t think I need to explain that one!

The need for flexibility and a time cushion applies to all active moms: whether your gym has a daycare, allows baby in the weight room in her car seat, or you’re working out at home. When baby’s hungry, baby’s hungry, and it’s not fun for anyone when baby goes from hungry to hangry. There has already been more than a single instance of me bringing dumbbells or a kettlebell back to the daycare! 

So that’s precisely what you do. You find a way to make it work. It might be adjusting your routine on the fly, incorporating some home workouts if you exercise primarily at a gym, plan an additional 15 or 20 minutes for pretty much everything. Because babies like to poop too (that’s also a reminder to have extra clothes for baby AND you!)

KNOWLEDGE

Last, but the most important. After having a baby, your body is a postpartum body. Forever. Does that mean there are certain exercises you can never do again? Not necessarily. But it means that you have to be not just aware but hyperaware of how your body is reacting to your workouts, both in terms of immediacy (how does your pelvis feel while you squat and later that night?) and longevity (is your diastasis continuing to improve, or is it getting worse?) Not only do these constant evaluations require you to adjust your workouts, but you have to be willing to adjust your mindset. You’re not going to be able to work out at your prepregnancy level for a while, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mamas: now is the perfect time for bulking 😉 ALL THE MUSCLES!!

What you do NOT need: 

Pads or other incontinence cover ups. The whole “once you give birth you’ll always leak” thing? FALSE. You don’t have to. Will you experience leaks and toots immediately after birth? Most likely. Does it have to stay that way forever and ever and ever and ever? Uh no. Will it take time for your pelvic floor and your core muscles to heal and get back to normal (I mean “be even better than before”)? Yes! Time, and work combined with gentleness with yourself.

Nor do you need a belly binder or a corset. There are a couple of exceptions, but the majority of items marketed as “postpartum support” are simply Victorian era relics that are more likely to harm than to heal. Example? Ms. Kim K.


Yes, our ab muscles are stretched out after pregnancy and childbirth, so support feels sooooo nice. But these corsets squeeze more than support. Our organs have been squished and displaced as our babies grew; these corsets just continue that and have the potential to lead to prolapse. I don’t have time for that. Neither do you.

Support CAN help. Belly wraps done by a trained doula are great, as are products like Baobei Maternity’s Core Support Yoga Shorts. They support from the bottom up, allowing organs to settle back into the right spots while supporting the surrounding muscles.

Me at 6 weeks postpartum wearing the Baobei Maternity COREset. I do not have the shorts, but word on Instagram is that capris and leggings are in the works!

The best things for healing after birth are visits to a physiotherapist who specializes in women’s health and the pelvic floor. Pricier than the corsets? Initially, yes. But they will prescribe exercises you can do (some which I will be sharing in upcoming videos!) and they will see what you cannot. And that cost is significantly less than the money and time/rehabilitative investment of a surgery. Need help finding a women’s PT in your area?

Get after it! Put your New Mama strength to good use!

I’m Bringing Sexy Mama Back

So I’ve done some photo shoots after the birth of my little girl.

First(ish) at 6 weeks.

12524257_475684892635158_3601632737708444269_n

First official at 3 months.

seeleyfitapril-375.jpg

 

Another (more fitness oriented) at 5 months.

Megan-53.jpg

And……..Why?

Isn’t early postpartum (and yes, 5 months is still early!) a time of fluctuating boobs and soft tummies? aka Not the sexiest time in a woman’s life?

Yes. Exactly.

And it is still a time of sexiness and beauty.

We just worked our asses off for nine months to grow a human. A REAL, TINY HUMAN! And now we’re working even harder to nurture that little human into a strong, amazing human.

But so many women don’t see this bodily feat as worth celebrating. There may be stretch marks. There may be soft bellies where firm abs used to be. There are breasts that go from engorged to drained multiple times a day. There may be cellulite on our bums and thighs (I just remind myself that those fat stores help her brain development. SCIENCE! Easy reading version Journal article for extra credit )

I want to posit that THESE BODIES ARE STILL SEXY! I might even go so far as to say they are SEXIER than before (oh my so many caps! I feel strongly about this!)

We have just gone through an experience that is the most feminine and womanly thing we can do. That softness? That’s what comforts our little ones. They snuggle into our curves, smell our mommy scent, and feel safe.

Am I against women working out after birth? Not at all, if it is done appropriately according to your body’s needs. But I do personally feel that the primary focus at the beginning should simply be for sanity and for retaining a sense of self, not for PRs. Once you’ve healed (which depends on a LOT of factors: vaginal vs. caesarean birth, how the birth itself went, degree of diastasis, etc. ), game on!

But don’t do it because you want to get your sexy bod back. Your body, the one you have right now, IS sexy! And its sexiness will evolve as you continue on the journey of mamahood!

Photo credits: SeeleyFit team

Knocked Up Fit Chick #4

Phew! It’s been a bit! No more baby belly because Lyra is here!

And so is mommy brain 😉

Knocked Up Fit Chick #4

This is the first of a series discussing postpartum recovery.

I’m not promising you’ll get your pre baby abs back. You might. Or you might get even more ripped abs…….. eventually. Or you won’t. But you will have KNOWLEDGE!

full

I’m not promising your bladder won’t peek out if you eventually start doing crunches again (I know, ew. Dear pelvic floor muscles: one of your jobs is to keep my internal muscles internal. I’ll treat you right to keep you strong and supple, so please do your job. Muah. Thank you.) But my goal with this series is for you to have a well-stocked toolbox to prevent prolapse and to heal diastasis recti. And to build a posse of strong sexy mamas!