Working out after Baby: Postpartum Fun

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Ah…. the first workouts after having a baby… glorious. I mean who doesn’t like feeling like their pelvis is going to fall off every time they attempt to run? Or how about those nice and tender milk engorged chests smashed against the pavement as you will every part of your body to do a push up.

It is amazing to what lengths our vanity will take us. Ya Ya Ya… you want to feel healthy blah blah blah… ya me too… but I would also like to not feel like my tummy was a template for the design of Jabba the Hut. I would also like to get out of maternity pants sometime this century.

And so we endure the tortures of postpartum workouts.

As soon as I was given the go ahead to work out by my doctor I headed off to a fit camp run by a very wonderful couple who specialize in body pain. (I know this because they helped me drop over 20 pounds before my wedding.) Anyways, I showed up knowing I would probably have to take it easy.. cause you know.. I had just given birth six weeks ago so I might be a tad behind. I have always been athletic and I am a young mom… so how bad could it be?

It could be bad.

We did an excercise that required us to run around a sports park and whenever we came to these concrete planter boxes we would use them to do box jumps.

So I start the run.

I swear to you it felt like I was trying to run through mud. I couldn’t make my legs move as fast as I wanted to. I probably could have rolled to my destination faster than I could with my running ability. This was a completely surreal feeling because usually when I run slow it is because I am tired and lazy. But now.. my body was refusing to do what I told it to. Not to mention my lung capacity seemed to drop about 75% the moment I began my run aka slowest jog ever.

“Ok.. Ok.. it may take a bit to catch up,”  I reason.

Now it is time to jump.

Other ladies have already begun their planter box jumps due to the fact that their legs actually listened to them. Being the competitor that I am, I figure I will do my box jumps as fast as I can to catch up with the others.  I had done these before I was pregnant so I thought.. no sweat. The planter boxes aren’t even that high.. I will be fine.

Nope.

The first jump I attempt my feet don’t even make it onto the top of the planter box, and my face almost smacks the concrete planter box as my body makes its way down. Completely embarassed at how pathetic I was and how clumsy I looked, I just mumbled to the lady next to me that I just had  a baby… hoping she will understand.

This statement has now become my mantra.

They should have shirts that say “I just had a baby __ months ago” or “I promise I didn’t let myself go.. I just had a baby.” I think they would sell well.

I’d buy one.  

On a sidenote:

I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the women who lose their baby weight quickly. You know the small petite ladies you see working out in their sports bras three months after pregnancy… or the ones who don’t have to work out at all. Ya.. the ones who announce two months later that their jeans fit. I have seen you. I know you actually do exist.

 

And I curse you. That is all.  

 

 

 

Five Things I Never Understood Until I Had a Baby

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1. Childbirth hurts.

I know what you are thinking… well duh. But no… no no no no no no ad infinitum. If you have had a baby, you catch my drift. You are apart of an elite club of women who can truly understand that God was not kidding when he said a women’s curse would be pain in childbirth. Congratulations.

You see.. the only pain I had ever experienced in my life was pain that I could grasp. I could wrap my brain around it. Childbirth is an all encompassing… over the moon… I would like to drown in a bottle of vodka along with a handful of drugs... type of pain. Ya I said it. Apparently, while I was in labor, I told Taylor that we would be adopting after this baby was born. Yet somehow after the fact my crazy Mom brain still wants to procreate.

2. Baby On Board window signs

“Oh you have a baby on board? How nice. I will make sure to ram my car into the next car over.”

These were my thoughts on these signs pre-baby, but something happens after you grow a tiny human and give birth to said little human. You really do become Mamma Bear. Everything is about the safety of your child. This is why I now find myself wishing I had not gotten rid of the “Baby on Board” sign I got when registering for baby stuff.

“Lady, why are you tailgating me!? Can you not see that if we were to get into an accident you would rear end me and the first person to feel the impact would be my perfect, tiny human!!!?”

“Yes.. I know I am driving slow, but can’t you see I have a “Baby on Board”? I have precious cargo I need to keep safe. Your ability to get to your destination five minutes faster means nothing to me.”

Whereas I once spent my time talking my way out of speeding tickets and cursing tediously slow and careful drivers… I now find myself critcizing other cars for speeding and their inability to drive safely around my car. I am that tedious mom driver. Which brings me to my next point...

3. Mom anxiety is real. 

I always marveled at some of the things my Mom and other mothers would fret about.

“Mom, you are a great mom, why are you so fixated on trying to be perfect for me?”

“Yes Mom, I know I am loved. Why do you keep asking?”

Well.. I get it now. I understand that fear that maybe my inadequacies could adversely affect the most precious thing in the world to me. I understand now why I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at some people’s houses. I understand why my Mom can’t watch movies that include child abuse. I understand why the news can be painful to watch as you see all these horrible things happening in the world… the world your baby lives in. I understand why my Mom, even when she was exhausted, couldn’t go to sleep until we were all home. I understand why when I left for college, she cried every time she walked up the stairs and saw all my pictures. I understand now how you can love so much it hurts.

As a new Mom, I find myself having to verbally remind my brain that not only are most of the things I worry about not going to happen, but it really is not healthy to be so anxious. From worrying about my competence as a mother, whether he was put in the car seat correctly, whether something I ate might hurt his tummy to worrying about SIDS and colds and his future well-being, I find myself now fighting a little bit of anxiety. I guess it is part of the job. When you have a love that is so completely all-consuming, it is natural to have to fight off a little bit of fear for their well-being.

Being a mother really requires you to put a lot of trust in the Lord and the love He has for you and your children. It really has become a necessity in my life. But even so.. I think worry is a lifetime Mom struggle.

4. Understanding your baby’s cries

I really never got this. All babies’ cries sounded the same to me. Annoying. No.. but really… I had no idea how mother’s claimed to have this sixth sense when it came to their baby’s cries.

And I gotta tell ya..  it has been an amazing discovery that yes… babies do have different cries. Holden has different cries for different needs and feelings, and I usually know what they are! Say what?! How did this happen?

I feel like all-knowing Yoda.

Change his diaper I must. Feed his tummy I must. Sleep deprived little one is.

BAM.

Crying desists.

Ya.. I am good. 

5. Finding such pure joy in a little person. 

The other day I was talking and playing with Holden. He was cooing and smiling and then… he giggled. We kept this up for a few more minutes before I realized… I was crying. 

I was crying from the pure happiness I experienced by just watching him smile and giggle at me. He is so sweet. I never thought I would have so much fun just by merely having my baby smile and giggle at me. I mean I really am in awe. My heart is just so full.

I came in to my room the other day, and Tay was just staring at our boy as he slept. I stood next to Tay, and we watched little Holden crack a few smiles in his sleep.  Tay commented on how cute our little guy was. I agreed. It was such a simple and blissful moment.

Being a parent really is such a wonderful thing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Before baby, so much of my identity was wound up in my education and career aspirations, and to be honest, during my pregnancy, I really had to process through having to put some of these things on hold. I didn’t know if I would love motherhood. But now, I can honestly say that Holden is my greatest accomplishment in life, and I find so much joy in being his Mom.

 

 

First Night Home with Baby

The day we brought Holden home is what I think is a pretty standard going home story. After being at the hospital since Saturday night by Tuesday Tay and I were ready to sleep in our own beds.. I use the term sleep very loosely here. They wheeled me out to the car while Tay carried Holden in the car seat. I marveled at my little boy the entire one hour drive home. It was so surreal. I had so many emotions I almost felt like I was on emotion overload and couldn’t feel anything. He was so perfect. How could anyone be so perfect? It is mind boggling. Anyways… we get home and spend the day happily loving on our boy.

Then came night. 

So I did not get much sleep in the hospital. I didn’t really sleep at all through my labor ( 2 pm-10 am)… even after the magical drug angel from heaven paid me a visit I still couldn’t sleep. Apparently some people can do that… and I am not one of them. Then after he was born, I was on such a high I couldn’t really sleep at all in the days to follow. I just wanted to stare at him. I wanted to make sure he was real. I wanted to make sure he was ok. I wanted to cuddle him. I wanted to watch Tay cuddle him. I mean seriously.. apparently mother OCD kicks in immediately after birth because I was completely obsessive.

So what’s that… like three nights of hardly any sleep?

Suffice to say I was exhausted.. but I still couldn’t sleep.

I realized how tired I was when I went to change his diaper for the first time… and had a meltdown.

Sidenote: 

Yes the first night home was the first time I changed his diaper. Taylor is a super awesome human being, as well as a stupendous Dad and husband, so he changed every diaper in the hospital. Tay was the one who could get Holden to calm down when he was crying… which was when he was getting his diaper changed. It was very sweet. And I think my Mom changed him all day that first day home. 

Anyways.. I go to change Holden’s diaper and he begins to scream bloody murder.

I start to panic.

Tay comes over and holds Holden’s hands to calm the poor child while I try to maneuver a diaper off and onto this wriggling and screaming baby.

“Why in the world am I having such a hard time with this?” “Why can’t I do this?” “I’ve been around babies before.. why is this so hard?” 

I’m telling you I was getting pretty anxious. I couldn’t concentrate because he was so upset, and my mind was foggy from lack of sleep. I just couldn’t get the diaper on the baby and all I could think was that I was such a failure as a mother because I couldn’t get a diaper on my boy, and he was screaming like I was torturing him.

THEN as soon as Holden gets a good breeze on his private parts… he pees… Directly into Taylor’s face. So in response.. Tay lets go of Holden’s hands.. This in turn freaks the babe out… and he starts to flail… pee is whirling around the room like water shooting from a fire hose… and I… in all my new mother sleep deprived glory… am about to have a panic attack.

I think you can guess what happens next. I get the diaper on the baby and immediately hand Tay our boy. I look from him to Holden and start sobbing. I was so so tired and felt so guilty because I couldn’t do such a simple Mom task. I cried that I was failing at life and that I was a terrible Mom… all over a diaper.

My wonderful, supportive Tay just held me……..

and laughed.

You will be happy to know I am a pro diaper changer now. It’s amazing how you really do just figure things out. I often have people ask me how it’s going, and they always follow it up by saying “It’s hard work having a baby huh?”

Well you know.. it is hard work to have a baby… but it doesn’t feel like work. I guess it is one of those things you don’t understand until you are a parent. For in the midst of pee being sprayed all over God’s green earth, spit up in your hair and all over your outfit before church, or feeding your baby every 1 1/2 hours because he has jaundice… there is so much joy. There are smiles. There are new milestones. There are cuddles. There is so much love. So yes it is hard work.. and yes sometimes I feel absolutely exhausted… but when I look back on my day.. it doesn’t really feel like work. I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. How someone so little can make your world so much better is kind of mind blowing.

The perfection that is a tiny baby is proof enough not only that there is a God… but that He is wonderful and good. 

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