By Samantha G. Clark
You spend nine months growing a human in your own body and then miraculously this perfect little baby comes out and you’re supposed to spring back into the body you had nine months earlier, right? All the celebrities do, so why shouldn’t you? Women are under a lot of pressure to remain “in shape” during pregnancy and then soon after giving birth we are supposed to look like nothing ever happened. I don’t know about you, but when I went to Publix two weeks postpartum, the cashier asked me, “When are you due?” (I sobbed all the way home).
I have fallen for this unhealthy and warped reality of feeling the pressure to get back into my pre-pregnancy shape as soon as possible. I am a mother of 4 and obsessively worked out throughout all my pregnancies. I would like to say that I loved being pregnant and enjoyed every milestone, but honestly, I didn’t. I felt pressure from the very beginning to pretend there wasn’t a growing bump underneath my increasingly tightening jeans. I also ran 3 miles every day until I reached week 39 of pregnancy. I am here to tell you; this is NOT healthy. Now, this is not an excuse to sit on the couch and give in to every pregnancy craving you have. But I wish my inner “crazy” would have relaxed (at least during one pregnancy) and maybe skipped a workout, OR have eaten that extra slice of pizza.
A healthy alternative to my overly ambitious pregnancy workout is, first to check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise routine or continue your already active lifestyle. Next, listen to your body. If you are tired and need to rest—then by all means do so. Remember, you are creating a life. That’s something so special and important and let us not forget, hard to do! Why do you think women have the honor (some might say burden) of carrying a child? Men certainly could not handle nine months of relinquishing their body to someone else. Lastly, after delivering your baby, relax and enjoy the few weeks of bonding time. Don’t rush back into to the gym or try to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes for at least 6 weeks. I was unrealistic and tried to run one week postpartum and let me tell you, the results weren’t pretty.
Remember that it takes 9 months to grow this tiny little human and should take at least 9 months, or longer to heal your body. Please do not get sucked into the pressure of looking like your pre-pregnancy self. You just created life, and should have some peace and quiet to relax and enjoy your new baby. (Well, actually there will not be any peace or quiet with a newborn ?). Try and enjoy this time to bond with your newborn, and I promise in time you will feel like your old self, just in time for your next pregnancy to knock you off your feet.