Photos by Eric and Jamie Photo
I know we hear all the time that every pregnancy is different and therefore every postpartum experience is different as well. But holy smokes, I’m here to tell you that even though my pregnancies weren’t all that different my deliveries, postpartum body, and overall experiences have been totally opposite.
If you haven’t read Leyton’s birth story and then Finn’s birth story, that may be the best place to start. In those posts, I linked up my guest appearance on The Birth Hour Podcast where I shared all about my delivery (if you want to hear it in… you guessed it…more graphic details). Eek.
Then I would ask that BEFORE you read any further that you would read my initial post on my postpartum body and where I find my worth as a mom. Without that as the foundation for reading the rest of this post, all is lost. Because yes, I’m going to share with you in here how I worked out and what/how I eat to get my HEALTHIEST after baby. However, that post explains my WHY and it is one of the most important things I’ve written this year.
Postpartum: Get Your Body Back vs GET HEALTHY:
One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is about how to get your body back after having a baby. I hate to tell you this but you will never “get your body back” exactly…especially if you are breastfeeding for long at all or if you have a complicated delivery, there’s just more complications to it than simply whipping back into shape.
This post could take on a million different directions because I’m so passionate about getting HEALTHY after having baby, the breastfeeding experience and all that but I’m going to really try to narrow down how I feel about my body 9 months postpartum after having Finn alone.
I hope that you walk away from this post encouraged to get active, to eat well, to drink plenty of water and to be the BEST YOU that you can be so that you can pour into your babies and give them your best. Trust me, that sweet baby needs a STRONG and capable mama and he/she will want you here when they are raising their babies. I want to be strong, healthy, and dedicated to my fitness because:
- I can’t pour from an empty cup.
- I get more energy to keep up with my kids when I get endorphins and take care of my mind, body, and spirit.
- In a shallow sense, I want to look good for my husband and boost my self-confidence.
Even though I am now back to pre-baby weight again, I still have a “mom pooch” and a “tire” around my mid-section that didn’t used to be there. My abs aren’t as defined as they were, I have cellulite, and my toughest area to firm up and have narrow out is the back of my thighs. I say this not to hate on my body but to tell you that I have areas that aren’t the same pre-baby too.
My goal is to be HEALTHY and have self-confidence and to be able to keep up with my kids, not to get my body back…because guess what?! It didn’t go anywhere. In fact, it just got stronger and added in character due to the babies it carried.
Postpartum Body Background:
With Finn, I’ve been able to walk around the neighborhood since the day I got back from the hospital. And if there’s anything that will light a fire under you to get back to your “normal” groove it’s most certainly a toddler. I immediately felt the pressure for mommy to not be “sick” or “struggling.” Did I go a little too hard at first? Yes. I stupidly got down on the floor to sit with Leyton playing games and definitely felt it, so make sure to give yourself some grace.
Please remember to give yourself time after you have a baby for your uterus to contract back down, for your body to have milk come in, to figure out how to establish supply, and for you to figure out the massive emotional and hormonal shifts going on in your body. There will be pain, there will be bleeding, and there will be lots of tears…and night sweats, ha! This is all to be expected and “normal” (whatever that is). 😉 Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor with questions!
Postpartum Body Complications:
I had a slight tear this time compared to my first birth, and I also have a mild case of Diastasis Recti. I found this out from HomeFit and my chiropractor. It is SHOCKING to me the LACK of information that is out there about this and what to do or not do.
I have asked for modifications to handle Diastasis Recti at Pure Barre, Burn Boot Camp, and HomeFit. Everyone has been able to accommodate me so please make sure you take care of your core while you are strengthening it back up and let your trainer know. If they seem unsure of how to protect you in these exercises, DO NOT just go on doing everything, modify yourself where needed and get answers before you go back.
Postpartum Body Fitness:
Of course, I went back to Pure Barre and modified all the roll up’s and core work so as not to split my abs further in the diastasis recti condition.
I immediately talked to HomeFit about wanting to work out again as soon as I was cleared. They assigned a new trainer since my last trainer moved to Nashville and let me tell you, he has been kicking my butt. He told me after the first couple of sessions, “Heather, the sooner you realize this is never going to get easier, the better you are going to do.”
Sure enough, it always comes back to that mind body connection as I’ve preached in Pure Barre for years and if I can dig down deep to find the right mental capacity to handle my workouts, I get so much more out of it!
Postpartum Body Eating Plan:
HomeFit also taught me about intermittent fasting which I began to implement at 3 months postpartum once my breastfeeding supply was established. I immediately started seeing results. My waistline was narrowing down, my arms were thinning out, and my face didn’t look so swollen. They also encouraged me to start counting macros but to be honest with you, that seemed way too overwhelming at the time so I put that on hold. (Side note: HomeFit offers MLWL community 20% off when you mention my website!)
Enter Faster Way to Fat Loss. I have talked about this program in multiple posts and you can check those all out HERE but it has helped me lose 6 inches and 10 lbs in a mere 6 weeks. You can sign up for the next round starting TODAY for prep week or following weeks programs at this link. I like this program because it focuses on whole food nutrition, intermittent fasting, carb cycling and is very focused on educating women on health and wellness as a whole.
How I’m Feeling About My Postpartum Body Now:
Currently, I feel the strongest I’ve felt in YEARS. I’m very grateful God gifted me my two boys and a body capable of bringing them into the world. I’d still like to drop a couple more pounds and get rid of a little extra fat around my mid-section that didn’t used to be there but at the end of the day, that’s something that would be nice to have happen and I’m just happy to be physically capable of the workouts I can do. Glad to be able to keep up with my boys and happy to be feeling whole and healthy.
I’m feeling very sentimental that baby Finn has been out of my body now as long as he was in my body growing and maturing into a sweet little baby capable of living outside of me. Why is it that babies turn us into total mushy mommies? I have become much more emotional and sentimenal since I had Leyton three years ago.
It’s overwhelming the feelings that becoming a mom has on you. I feel like we are finally past the no-sleep nights, the many up’s and downs of developmental leaps and sleep regressions.
Of course teething and developmental leaps still happen but they are fewer and further between at this point. My milk supply is established and Finn is capable for the most part of hanging in there with us. You can read more about our day to day schedule at 9 months HERE!
Above all else, I hope this encourages mama’s in the BRAND NEW phase that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will regain some normalcy as you progress through your little one’s first year of life. That first year is always hard. It has lots of up’s and down’s, doctor’s appointments, struggles, and just time suckers that you can’t expect as a first time mom.
Know that if you are struggling, I’ve written about my postpartum depression before and I was SO much more prepared this time as my second baby knowing what to expect. If you need help, ASK! Just because you had a hard first delivery or recovery doesn’t mean the next one will be as hard. Take heart! God is preparing you now for what’s ahead whether that be having your first baby, your third or finishing out your littles’ last few months of their first year.
If you have a baby, what else would you add to this? How did you feel about your postpartum body?
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