The Skinny (LOL) on Postnatal Fitness

Today’s guest post is by Sarah, the author of Bend it Like Becker, the internet’s go-to resource for long-winded stories, useless commentary, snark from the heart, and assorted caps lock outbursts.

Hello out there, wonks and wonkettes! As a DC expat and recent birther-of-a-human, your esteemed editor Kristine requested I weigh in with some thoughts on pregnancy, babies, and bodies. Here are a few lessons I have learned when it comes to the terrifying task of returning to your workout routine after the miracle of childbirth.

People who start working out 6 weeks after birth are freaks. Seriously. Block them from your news feed and make sure they never get a Christmas card from you EVER AGAIN. They are freaks with freak babies. Do not be discouraged by their freakdom. Four months is a way more attainable goal in my professional estimation.

You will come up with wild excuses to avoid working out and that’s OK. Gearing up for the first workout is like a two month mental preparation process in itself, so don’t rush it. Let yourself believe the wild excuses and don’t feel guilty. My favorites included:

  • I still have my linea nigra so actually, I’m kind of still pregnant and should be taking it easy.
  • A gym trip isn’t worth using pumped milk.
  • I exercised my whole pregnancy and still was in labor for two days so YOU CAN SUCK IT, EXERCISE.

Your first attempt at doing something physical with your body may be ugly. I am a ginormous Yoga fangirl (and registered teacher, respect) so naturally my first attempt at getting back on the horse was doing a Yoga practice on my deck. You know those ridiculous competitions that air on TV in the middle of the night? They’re called like XTREME STRONG MAN PRO CHALLENGE PLUS? And it’s men doing relay races with giant logs and picking up SUVs and stuff? That’s what my first Up Dog felt like. I was like, why does pushing my ribcage off the ground feel like I’m trying to pull a Suburban through sand?

You will find yourself with big boobs. I have spent my entire female life as a small-chested individual. I just never knew what it was like to have to worry about containing boobs. It was a great life. A simple life. And then: MILK. Milk boobs are a headache and whatever vain pride I get out of them is NOT WORTH the chore of subduing them. I teach a kids sport, and I’ll never forget my first time back at work, warming the kids up with jumping jacks. I started doing jumping jacks and my boobs were all BOING BOING BOING WHPSSH WHPSSH WHPSSH and I think they might have actually made contact with my forehead. I was like WTF IS THIS WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW. Now I know I either need to wear two sports bras, or one of those industrial grade milk boob bras. The more you know.

When you feel bad about your paunchy tummy you can feel good about your arms. Yea, spoiler alert, pregnancy will turn your core into applesauce. Actually, no, applesauce has some texture and consistency to it, more like Cream of Wheat. BUT! Do you know that when you carry a baby around 24/7 you end up with BAD ASS BICEPS AND DELTS? Between that and the milk boobs you will be lookin’ fine from the chest on up. Be proud!

Working out at home is actually easier than you think because baby is massively entertained by it. I can’t speak for all infants obviously, but I plop my little nugget in his exersaucer and let him watch me move around and huff and puff and he squeals with delight. Exersaucer when I try to unload the dishwasher? SOB SOB SOB MOM PICK ME UP I’M SO LONELY AND BORED. Exersaucer when I’m doing power Yoga? LOL LOL *maniacal baby clapping* DANCE PUPPET DANCE!

And working out at the gym is really exciting. One thing I learned quickly is that “me time” becomes very exciting no matter what pathetic form it takes. I catch myself getting excited for the weekend so my husband can hang out with the baby and I can clean the bathroom by myself. So getting to the gym is like, mega exciting. I get to hang out and listen to music and there’s not an infant tearing at my shirt to feast at my bosom. It’s intoxicating!

And at the end of the day, you won’t even care about all of this. I went nuts while I was pregnant assigning myself timetables for losing the baby pounds and getting back in shape. Whatever goals I had I am most certainly very behind on. And I don’t really care. Motherhood will do wonders when it comes to reevaluating the priorities in your life. I would sacrifice any and all things for my little guy, and whatever laments I have about my in-shapeness are a small, small price to pay for him.

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