Arriving in the “postpartum period” is like being a tourist in a foreign city where…
Let’s be real.
The entire perinatal experience from pregnancy to postpartum is a big effing deal! You’re left depleted, exhausted, and overwhelmed by all of the things you now have to manage. And now that your cuddly, squishy, and adorable baby is here, you would do anything for them. You’d even neglect your exhausted body without thinking twice.
Here’s what that looked like for me with my second baby:
Completely lost in the 24 hour feeding, burping, changing, rocking, and general caretaking while consuming the images of influencers “bouncing back” with ease, grace. Meanwhile, I was struggling to keep up with my active toddler – both of us in diapers, but he had way more energy.
Already depleted and emotionally overwhelmed, the perfect storm hit next. My newborn needed a frenectomy which was a recovery time of 4-6 weeks. I was returning to work in 3 weeks. And we had family visiting from out of town.
I felt defeated and, like so many of the mamas I’ve worked with as a healthcare provider, struggled to find a moment to figure out how to heal and feel better.
I desperately want to feel better.
My husband was working from home in our master bedroom and I was downstairs with the baby when I sent him a text saying “I may have postpartum depression.” I felt embarrassed, disappointed, and…relieved that I actually typed out the words and asked for help.
Something needed to shift. And I knew if I could find a way to MOVE, to get back in my body, to feel strong, that would be my saving grace.
As a physical therapist with pelvic floor training and a mother of two under five, I know postpartum recovery is asymmetrical. If you’re chest feeding then you know that one boob is better at lactating, we tend to carry baby on one hip, a majority of humans display hand dominance, and returning to work can create a whole cascade of unilateral habits like driving and don’t get me started on the ergonomics of the workplace which are disastrous!
So what are you supposed to do? How do you even begin to approach this? When you’re a sleep deprived mom of an infant and maybe other children and responsibilities in your daily life?
You start with the basics! Just like your baby!
Here are four ways to weave intentional movement into your day…
Breathing as a restorative movement while on your belly or on your back. Click here to learn more about how breathing is magical!
Rolling from back to belly. First bring your legs up to your chest, then use your abdominal muscles while reaching across your chest to help you shift your weight.
Play peek a boo with your baby while they lay on their back and you are on your hands and knees over them! Cat/cow? Yes please!
Check in with how you’re moving throughout the day. A simple mindset shift can help you care for your body as you adjust to the new physical demands of parenthood. When trying to figure out how to maneuver the car seat, imagine if it were a heavy sack of groceries. You may be surprised that when the object is something familiar your body already knows what to do! So you use better mechanics which is so supportive to your recovery.
So often we forget to check in with how we hold our bodies after we’ve given birth. Let this be a little nudge to reconnect, move, and fit in space for yourself in the midst of this wild ride you’re on as a mama.
And when this overwhelm starts to take over I suggest you approach your body with an open mind. Explore how you hold your body in space now. What is your resting posture? And if you know your posture could use some TLC, check out these 5 supportive moves.
Disclaimer: While I’m a physical therapist, I’m not your physical therapist. You know your body and your child’s health better than anyone else. The information contained in this article is strictly for educational and entertainment purposes. The information is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment which can only be provided by a physician and/or approved healthcare professional. We advise you to consult with your physician before implementing any of the advice disclosed, including but not limited to, taking any medications or herbal supplements and engaging in diets and exercise regimes. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect that you or your child has a medical problem. You assume and accept complete responsibility for the use and/or non-use of the information shared or contained in this account and release us from any liability or loss that you or your children (if relevant) may incur from the use and/or non-use of the information contained herein.