Coming to Terms with Fitness, Post-Baby

As a life-long fitness enthusiast, becoming pregnant was somewhat of a scary thing for me. Of course, I was ecstatic to become a mother, but at the same time I wondered if my body would ever be the same. Then I felt terrible for worrying about something so “trivial”.

The more I thought about it, I realized it wasn’t trivial because it was something I had enjoyed for so long and something that defined part of who I am. Throughout my pregnancy, I worked out every day, either taking a two-three mile walk outside, spending time on the treadmill, doing some simple weight-lifting or popping in a prenatal yoga DVD. I even got on the treadmill at 2:00 am while I was in labor to make sure the contractions were the real deal.

And then, L arrived and everything changed.

Photo by lululemon athletica, used under Creative Commons license

I hardly had time to take a shower let alone get 30-45 minutes to work out. In the weeks I was home with him after he was born, I made it a point to take him out in the stroller and go for walks so I could at least get some exercise. After I went back to work, everything changed again and I felt that I could not find one spare moment to do anything other than work and play with L before he went to bed. And forget about doing anything after he went to bed — that time was dedicated to cleaning pump parts, dishes, packing lunches and daycare items for the next day.

So months came and went and I never got back into exercising which had been something so important to me for so many years prior to being a mother, and I started to feel horribly guilty. The guiltier I felt for not doing anything made it harder and harder to get back into the swing of things.

Finally, I realized I would not (at least for the foreseeable future) have an hour or more to get in a good workout consistently.

So instead, I started to take time as it was available to fit in little things. I made it a point to walk or jog L to the park so he could play.At home I made sure to throw him into the air 15-20 times while he squealed in delight. I did 30 squats while brushing my teeth in the morning and at night.

Slowly but surely, the fire from within began to reignite and I was able to find 30 minutes at night to fit in a workout DVD. I even uncovered and dusted off the elliptical! I have also realized that for the foreseeable future, I won’t have my pre-baby body back, but that doesn’t mean I never will.

Every day things get a little easier and as L gets older, I find a little more time for myself and I know that in time my inner fitness enthusiast will return and hopefully my family will be able to join me. So I guess the biggest thing I have realized is that things get easier, but it takes time, and that is okay!

Tips:

  • Start small. You may not have a lot of time and that’s okay!
  • Work things into your busy day.
    • Use teeth brushing time as a time to fit in some squats or lunges.
    • Take an opportunity to go for a walk or bring your little one(s) to the park.
    • Take the stairs when you’re alone. (Bonus points if you are carrying your little one(s).)
    • Use relaxation time after your little one(s) go to bed to stretch or get out the fitness ball while watching TV or reading.
  • Realize that it takes time and you may not in the next year or two (or three) have the same amount of time to commit to your exercise routine as you did pre-baby.
  • Give yourself a break, you may not always find the time or energy to get in a work-out and that’s okay too!
  • Be happy with what you can accomplishment no matter how big or little that accomplishment may be.

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