Difficult, but possible !
Make time for it. Know your body. Involve your partner.
Until our first daughter’s birth I’ve stayed fit. Until the 6th month I’ve been going on runs weekly, been swimming once a week and until maternity leave I’ve been taking the bike to work, 20 km daily! I felt strong, fit and mentally prepared for birth.
After having given birth:
“Childbed!” This meant getting used to the new situation, cuddling the baby, resting, having others cook for me, ignoring chores and so on. Who hasn’t heard the advice from midwives, family, friends and the internet? Reducing thoughts about weight; getting back into shape and preparing the body for working out again should be forgotten quickly. “This is not important right now.” Decides who?
For some of us this may be true. But just like every birth, every mum is different and the advice rarely consider this.
After my daughter was born, it was minus 20 degrees outside and because I’ve listened to all the great advice in the beginning, I was surprised with the “baby blues” on the fifth day. I had to laugh at myself as the tears were rolling down my cheeks, after all I had been sure (even during pregnancy) that I would never reach this point.
On day 6 I decided to go outside – even though it was minus 15 degrees. I needed fresh air and I needed movement, even if a snail could have outpaced me that day! But the “baby blues” improved and I felt like I returned home mentally stronger. Day by day I increased my wellbeing and my “fitness” with (short) walks. I believed in knowing my body and knowing what’s good for ME.
I want to emphasize, that movement and fresh air have helped ME, which doesn’t mean that it’s going to help everyone in the same way. Like I already said in the beginning: All mums are different and react individually.
Workout at home and outside:
Because I could start my postnatal training not until six weeks after having given birth and didn’t just want to sit at home doing nothing, I decided to do single exercises on my own. The main focus was on the pelvic floor and the obliques.
My first daughter was a “stroller baby”: During the day, she rarely slept. However, if she was put in the stroller and we went outside, she had slumbers for hours on end. Time, which I used for long walks and workouts alongside the Isar (Munich).
Including my husband:
As an active couple, we decided to purchase a TFK (Trend for Kids) stroller, which can also be used for running. Only three weeks after having given birth, I demanded more time for myself from my husband. Even though I managed implementing single exercises during the day with my daughter, 45 minutes at once often wasn’t doable. That’s why my husband started taking our daughter on runs on the weekends, and I was able to do my postnatal training. Because of these activities it was possible for me to go on winter vacation only 8 weeks after having given birth, to stand on the slopes and to ride the snowboard. But way more important was the feeling of being at ease with the situation and with myself. And this – as we all know – automatically transfers onto the baby.
Advice, which I want to give you:
1. Know your body. Know your limits.
It doesn’t matter how much you read, how many good advice you get: Everybody is different. You know your body better than anyone else. If you’ve been working out your whole life, you know your potential and especially your limits. If you don’t, figure them out. Listen to yourself and do whatever feels good to you.
2. Set small goals.
There is no point in holding onto a workout, if the internal and external conditions aren’t given. Stay flexible. Stop the workout, if your baby needs you or if you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t stress. Simply continue the workout later or on another day.
3. Involve your partner, your family or friends.
There is no shame in occasionally giving away your baby. Only thinking of yourself from time to time is okay and doesn’t make you a mum any less loving.
Hence why I can only recommend: Involve your partner, your family and friends. Make some time and spend it only for yourself. Don’t forget that you as an individual shouldn’t be neglected, since this can have negative consequences for your wellbeing, which will unavoidably influence your baby.
4. Get advice. Decide yourself.
There is plenty of good advice, which tell you what to do and what not to do and which surely aren’t ill-founded.
But: Important is what feels good to you, so always compare different alternatives and decide for yourself on what is best for you, your baby and the two of you.
5. No excuses.
“I don’t have time”, “There is no-one, who could take care of my baby.”, “My baby can’t be without me“,“ I’ve read, that …”, “The weather was …”
Excuses over excuses. Try turning them around and oppose each of these claims with something positive:
“If no-one will be able to take care of my baby, I will postpone my workout to noon when my baby is having a nap.”