Unspoken Gratitude from a Postpartum Wife – A Letter to My Husband

Dear Husband,

I know that when you come home as of late, you’re never exactly sure who you are going to be greeted by. It could be the smiling, warm, and loving woman who you chose to marry. It could be the anxious and panicking mess that has come up with a million reasons the sky is falling today. It could be the weepy lump who has found every reason under the sun to feel guilty and lonely. Or your most favorite, you could be greeted by the frustrated, annoyed, about to go postal crazy lady.

Well let’s admit it, all of these are a crazy lady. They are me.

And from all those, I want to take a moment to express my love and gratitude.

Unspoken Gratitude from a Postpartum Wife

Thank you for telling me I am beautiful, even when I am still in the same t-shirt and basketball shorts I was in yesterday, and especially when I haven’t brushed my hair or done my make up in three days. It reminds me that I am beautiful, but that I deserve time to get dressed and make myself presentable too.

Thank you for kissing me when you get home from work, even when I haven’t had time to brush my teeth yet. It reminds me to brush my teeth, and that I deserve love and attention too.

Thank you for always correcting me when I call myself fat, and reminding me that I just had a baby 2 months ago when I say I am doomed to be squishy for the rest of forever. It reminds me that taking care of my body is a priority too.

Thank you for listening to my crazy ramblings about how I can’t do anything right, or that I am a bad mom, or that I feel guilty for not going back to work, and thank you for not trying to fix how I am feeling, just listening and telling me it will be okay and giving me a hug is almost always just what I need. It reminds me that even Mommies can have grumpy days and throw tantrums, but that they don’t last forever.

Thank you for helping to fix the dinner I was fixing for you when I have to drop everything to nurse and comfort the baby. It reminds me that I am not in this alone.

Thank you for still grabbing my not so firm bottom and expressing want of me. It reminds me I’m a woman not just a walking bottle/chicken nugget cooker, and that no matter what my brain says you do in fact still want me and only me.

Thank you for telling me you love me, for saying hello multiple different times in the day, and winking at me. It reminds me that you are still in love with me, and that even in my postpartum haze I am still madly in love with you.

My hormones have given us both a run for our money. But I do not exaggerate when I say that without you I would have lost my mind. Thank you, for so much more then what I have listed. Thank you for being you. Because by being you, you have reminded me that I am me.

You are my rock.

Love,

Your adoring and kind of crazy wife.

3 Amazing Resources for Pre & Postnatal Fitness

Prenatal and postnatal is one of the least properly informed topics women encounter in the fitness world. Articles swing from discussing the need to drop your training routine completely or how to continue being a 10k champ up until the day you deliver. I was so confused when I started doing my research after finding out I was pregnant. I had spent the last year lifting weights and playing soccer, I had lost 35 lbs and gained muscle mass. I wasn’t going into my pregnancy hoping not to gain any weight, but I wanted proper information on how to preserve as much of my strength and endurance as I could. I also knew that keeping myself strong and healthy was going to give me and my baby a better birthing experience.

The point of view and focus on two key factors played into my feelings of credibility to any sources I came across, the first being Diastasis Recti and the second being pelvic floor protection. Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominals – many times what gives us the belly pooch) is a serious threat to moms, there are numerous health risks and about two-thirds of pregnant women have it. Your pelvic floor supports the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. Obviously an area worth protecting and avoiding any unnecessary stress or damage to approaching birth. Proper care during and after pregnancy can aid in avoiding, avoid worsening, or help with healing damage that occurs with both of these.   

 I spent a good three weeks sifting through the interwebs, and consulting back and forth with my husband (who is a Certified Personal Trainer) on his opinions of what I was finding.

Fear not! To save you, my fellow mama’s, the grief of having to do the same I will share with you the three good resources I did find.

  1. www.girlsgonestrong.com

The first place that I stumbled upon with information that was concise and knowledgeable on both factors was Girls Gone Strong. Simply searching for the keyword prenatal brought up options of exercises that are challenging but at the same time protective of a mama’s body. Girls Gone Strong gives options for each trimester protecting your abdominals and pelvic floor. I referred back here frequently when I had questions about what I was doing in my pregnancy, and when it came time to start my postpartum work this was my first stop.

Girls Gone Strong Workouts

  1. www.jessiemundell.com  

After exploring their prenatal workouts I kept seeing the same author, Jessie Mundell. I emailed Jessie about my frustrations and she was quick to get back to me. Shortly after following her through Mundell Lifestyles, Jessie announced she was pregnant too, a few weeks ahead of me!

Jessie offers a free 4-week Workout System for Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy right on the front page of her website. All of her information and tips went right along with the workouts I was doing in pregnancy, and still do now that we’ve had our babies! Protecting my core and floor is number one!

Mundell Lifestyles

  1. www.pregnancyexercise.co.nz/

The third place I found good information happened through instagram. An account for Lorraine Scapens by the name of @pregnancyexercise. I loved being able to see her tips and reminders about the importance of staying active in my pregnancy, she too stresses the priority of my core and pelvic floor. Now I love seeing her reminders about the value of my recovery and giving myself time to heal, building back up to where I want to be and not rushing!

pregnancyexer
With these three great sources I was able to take care of myself during my pregnancy and now continue doing so after with full confidence! In a future post I’ll dish about the workouts I actually did and didn’t do during my pregnancy in each trimester, as well as what routines I’ve been doing since having my baby and how that’s working out for me. I also signed up for Jessie’s free 12 days of Christmas Core, I invite you to join me and I can’t wait to share my experience with you! How do or did you handle fitness in pregnancy and postpartum?

Grounded from the Scale

A few days ago I weighed myself. I weighed the exact same I weighed at 4 weeks postpartum. I found myself frustrated and doing that weird thing where I argue with the scale. “But I’m breast feeding and eating better and have been getting up and being more active!? How can I not have lost a single pound!?“

Well, I have some news for myself, I grew a human being inside of me. While growing said human being I sometimes ate more then I needed to, I sometimes said yes to sweets and junk food, because sometimes when my pregnancy hormones said, “LET US BURN THE WORLD DOWN!” I said “Chill girl, have some cheetos.”

221H

I sometimes ate great all day long and went on walks and did trimester appropriate work outs. I tried to keep a balance. But my body decided that no matter how hard I tried to keep a balance I needed to gain 40 lbs.

After I delivered said human being I stepped on the scale to see I hadn’t lost a pound.

“HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!” I argued.

But I let it go, went about my way living life, recovering and getting to know the human, learning to mother two instead of one, and about a month later I had lost 20lbs.

“HOORAH!” I proclaimed, “Breastfeeding is paying off! HOORAH! HOORAH!”

I visited my midwife and got clearance to return to normal activities. Then… life happened.

I had laundry to catch up on, I had a baby who wouldn’t sleep unless I held her, I had a 4 year old who needed extra attention to compensate for the attention her new sister was getting, I had dinners to make, I had sleep to get, I had a husband I was trying to get 3 minutes alone with. I attempted to start working out again, slowly rebuilding what I had lost being pregnant. 3 workouts a week. Only 10 minutes of just repairing. Even those were hard to squeeze in, and sometimes I didn’t.

I stepped on the scale to see…no change. I’d plateaued. The cheetos instead of flames, the extra servings at dinner, the late night cereals, the guilt started suffocating me. How could I have done this to myself? I looked in the mirror disgusted. I was back to where I started 2 ½ years ago. Fat and hating myself. Not knowing what to do except wallow and give up. I thought I was “getting my body back.”

After throwing myself the nicest pity party you could ever attend, I started to wonder a few things. What are you “getting back” really? Is it not the same skin that was here before the baby? And before the first baby? Are these not the same muscles? How can I get a body back I never lost? This is only an opportunity to build myself into the best me I have ever been, like a house reno… still got great bones, I just want to do some updating!  (I’ve been watching way too much HGTV)

I thought about how I had achieved some non-scale victories, such as I was able to put on a pair of jeans. Jeans without a stretchy belly band, definitely a victory.

And so it was decided…

I want to build a better me. I don’t want a “you look like you haven’t even had a baby” body. I want a “you are so awesome for having two kids and keeping yourself in good health” body! I want to show my girls that happiness is loving yourself as a mother, not remorseful self hate for doing something as amazing as growing a child.

I hereby vow to stop weighing myself for the next 30 days. And to focus on how I am feeling, and where I can push myself without draining myself or spreading myself any thinner then you are already spread as a new mother. I am grounded from the scale. And I couldn’t be more relieved.

Do you find that worrying about the numbers on the scale is defeating? What is the best thing you do for your overall health and self care on a daily basis? What kind of change can you make for the next 30 days to help build a better you?