Since my second child isn’t even five weeks old yet, my husband has a point. I am just getting tired of (still!) wearing maternity pants and whatever baggy shirts are breast-feeding friendly. It’s also rough because I feel like we see so many images of women on the media bouncing back to perfect shapes after childbirth—and social media is no better! The online pregnancy and baby group I follow has a bunch of women posting not only their adorable April babies, but also about how they’ve “only got 5 pounds left to lose!” It’s been one month, ladies! I have…well, let’s just say a few more...
Fortunately, weight usually doesn’t bother me much. I’ve never been one of those people who can diet. I would rather eat healthy, if possible. I try to eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, but I can’t deny my soft spot for cheese and ice cream. And baked goods. And dark chocolate…
Ideal weight aside, I feel a lot better after this pregnancy, and I think there are things I’m getting right this time around. After my first son was born, I felt incredibly worried and anxious, and I dealt with a lot of pelvic floor muscle problems. Overall, I felt sore and exhausted for weeks, despite a relatively easy delivery (well, I did suffer through over 30 hours of labor, but I had no complications). This time around (15 hours of labor and a few pushes), I felt much better much sooner, and, besides having been a faster process, I think these are some of the reasons why:
- Physically taking it easier on myself. I’ve been trying to spend more time lying and sitting with my feet up, both during pregnancy and post-partum. When I walk or go out of the house, I make sure to limit myself. I will work up to more activity, but I’m taking it slowly this time.
- Eating better. A few years ago, my diet consisted of way more salt, carbs, and sweets. Probably about the same about of dairy, but I’m balancing it with way more fruit and fiber than I used to eat.
- Avoiding harmful exercises. If you’ve had a baby, seriously, do not do traditional sit-ups or planks. They are bad for you, and there are other movements you can try. This is coming from two legitimate physical therapists I’ve worked with in the past, not from me, so it’s credible. ;)
- Having a positive labor and delivery experience. I know this isn’t always a choice—sometimes, far from it. Last time, there were some issues with the hospital and my doctor that made things a bit rough, and I know other women who dealt with real emergencies. This time, I had the same amazing doctor I’d seen all nine months, a comfortable labor room, and a wonderful nurse who talked me through my options at every step. Being in the hospital for a much shorter time beforehand and doing everything naturally helped a lot, too, and gave me more confidence and strength.
- Taking a chill pill. I’ve learned that everything is not going to work out the way you plan, and that life is different with a newborn in the house. I’m not stressing out over things that stressed me last time around (like breastfeeding in public—I use a cover anyways—or baby not reaching milestones at the “right” time). I’m also getting more comfortable with just being home and not needing to be somewhere all the time. Our home is out in the country with relaxing scenery, which also helps.