This last week has been the first time I’ve felt that my body is truly “mine” again. I don’t want to confuse “mine” with the same as it was pre-pregnancy (is anyone’s body ever exactly the same?) but I just wanted to be honest and black and white about how the journey has been for me personally.
Throughout my pregnancy I exercised, some might say more than most. Pilates classes twice a week up until 34 weeks and the Tracy Anderson specific pregnancy workout DVD anywhere between 3-5 times a week up until 38 weeks. From my 6 week sign off I then continued my pilates classes twice a week plus another hour or so at home and the Tracy Anderson specific post pregnancy workout DVD (notice a theme here?) 3-5 times a week for 5 or so months. For the last few months I’ve moved on to the beginners method 3-4 times a week. I do workout 1 – the cardio dance routine with weights which is only 30 minutes. Once you “know” the routine you can fast forward a lot of the talking/instruction aspect which brings the time down to under 25 minutes, for me that’s manageable. I also do a mat pilates class once a week and a reformer pilates once a week, plus as much pilates practice at home that I can fit in (which recently has been virtually none).
I enjoy exercise. I like to feel fit, strong and healthy. I didn’t expect to simply “snap back” to my former shape and size and as I’ve shared before, I wasn’t hung up on immediately losing every bit of baby weight super quick either, I wanted to enjoy my first born, and besides, even after my six week sign off, my abdominal area and core felt far weaker than even I expected after a c-section.
All of the above said and done, I didn’t expect returning to pilates to be quite as difficult as it was. Pre-pregnancy I was doing most of the moves at an advanced level, post-pregnancy I was struggling with basic beginners. And I don’t mean for the first month or so either, I mean a good 6 months down the line. It was beyond frustrating, and something I simply didn’t seem to be able to control. Or improve.
I still have a fairly noticeable linea nigra, admittedly nothing like it was a few months ago but absolutely 100% there. The skin around my abdominal area is looser (no, I didn’t expect anything else after growing a 8lb 7oz human) but seems to be improving every day. I have extra broken/thread veins. They are not particularly obvious with a bit of fake tan and shimmery body lotion. I am undecided as to whether I will venture into having these removed.
The area immediately above my c-section scar is still slightly swollen and numb. My scar is white on one side but still fairly pink on the other.
My ribcage is as I affectionately refer to it “on the wonk”, particularly my left side, again, this month I am really noticing an improvement and my bras are digging in significantly less.
My bust looks the same (well at least I think so.) My inner thighs are NOT the same, I feel as though mother nature decided I needed some extra timber there to support Mabel in those last few weeks (!) – I’ve been doing some specific exercises to target that area. I was doing quite well up until chocolate-orange-gate. It seems every single segment has taken up a permanent residence at the top of my legs.
As with the actual pregnancy journey, the post pregnancy journey is entirely different for everyone. I truly believe it’s absolutely true what they say though, it takes AT LEAST as long for your body to recover as it does for your body to create another person in the first place, plenty of exercise or not. There are no “quick wins”. Images of XYZ in the media looking amazing in a bikini seemingly weeks after giving birth don’t do anything for anyone’s confidence. And no it’s not a realistic comparison, and no there shouldn’t be a comparison with anyone at all. But it happens.
What I wanted to summarise with is that in reality there are days when it can be incredibly tough to get motivated, especially when there appears to be little to no improvement. It was/is for me and as a general rule as I mentioned above, I thoroughly enjoy taking some time out “brain” wise and engaging myself fully in exerting some energy.
The last nine months have flown by, an amazing and exhilarating introduction to motherhood. All said and done actually the “body” aspect is such a small part of the adventure in the grand scheme of things. Gentle and frequent exercise is undoubtedly beneficial but it takes time, and that’s perfectly ok.
If I am lucky enough to have a “next time” I would concern myself with progression far less.
I’ve probably left out hundreds of details so please feel absolutely free to ask whatever you fancy in the comments box below. And if you are willing to share your own experiences then that would be super, and so useful to the wider readership.
Photography by Lisa Jordan at Little Beanies