The struggle is real. Nine months of growing, growing, growing, and a million changes inside and outside of your body. Then your precious baby arrives and your post-partum path begins.
My son is nine weeks old. He is an amazing addition to our family and has been an enormous blessing, especially in the midst of a very challenging year. We are so happy he is here. And I am so happy he’s out! Pregnancy is a miraculous thing, and I’m truly blessed to have relatively easy pregnancies and deliveries, but I am by no means one of those people who enjoys the weight gain, hormone surges, body aches, respiratory issues, sleeplessness, and heartburn. I don’t like being pregnant. There. I said it.
I do, however, adore my life as a mother. It’s all worth it to me, believe me. I just know myself and have come to realize just how much better of a mother (and wife) I am when I can function and feel “like myself” again. I’ve taken the designated time to heal and adjust to life with a newborn. And now I’m on the path to rebuilding my body and mind to feel like me. It’s important to my happiness and to being fulfilled in all the roles I hold in life. So, I’m starting with a few very simple and easily achievable goals.
- Walking almost every day. Stroller in hand, we go on a walk almost daily. Sometimes one mile, sometimes two. I had to build up to this, but I enjoy the fresh air and quiet meditation. And moving your body really does change your mind!
- Eating healthy. I don’t roll with diets per se, and I don’t live like I’m competing for a national title. But I do integrate a lot of vegetables into my meals and try to avoid complex carbohydrates here and there. For example, if I splurge for lunch, I avoid carbs for dinner. Everything in moderation. And nothing to eat after 7 pm.
- Gaining strength. Your body goes through so much when you’re pregnant. For me, I struggle with joint issues, which means I have to drastically reduce my exercise as I progress in pregnancy. In the post-partum weeks, I feel so weak and have no remaining stamina. (You should always consult your physician before jumping back into any exercise routine.) I start small. Really small. Five or ten minutes of a HIIT video (I found some on Amazon prime) or small weights to begin. Know your body and work to get your core strength back up slowly. I am not a physical trainer, but I know what works for me and am taking small steps to get my body back.
- Alone time. Just ten minutes a day. Almost every day, I retreat to my bathroom and give myself a few minutes of alone time. I turn on music or run a bubble bath and just zone out. No kids in tow, no one allowed in. My husband manages things for a few minutes so I can just unwind and soak up the silence. It’s not long, but it’s responsibility-free, and it does wonders!
- Celebrate small victories. This past weekend I got back into my favorite jeans. I was so proud of myself, and I allowed myself the simple joy of celebrating for a hot second. I am proud of my focus and how I’ve self-motivated in the sea of chaos that this summer/fall has brought.
I have a long way to go, with my body and my mind, but I’m getting there one day at a time. This sidewalk inspiration “You got this” made me smile today on my morning walk. It’s what I needed. What things do you do for yourself to find your peace and create an environment for your best self to flourish?