Today we have a special guest blog, written by RECF member Lianna Cotant! She’ll recap some of her biggest learnings from her recent postpartum experience.
Lessons Learned Postpartum, by Lianna Cotant
My second child, the first I’ve birthed, was born a little over a year ago. These past two years of pregnancy, birth and postpartum have taught me innumerable lessons – about how much my body can do and how amazing it is, about the fitness industry and diet culture, about how little sleep I can survive on and how much love truly multiplies with another kiddo in the family.
To share everything I’ve learned, I would need to write a book, but there are a few lessons I wanted to share.
The fitness industry preys on new moms
As soon as I birthed my baby, my social media ads switched from Pampers to “get your body back” messaging. The beautiful, growing stomach that was so celebrated during my pregnancy was suddenly something to be ashamed of, to “bounce back” from. The fitness industry absolutely knew how to prey upon my hormonal self to make me feel unworthy.
Here’s the thing, though, I didn’t lose my body. It didn’t go anywhere, instead it did a miraculous thing – it created one of my favorite little humans, it survived a traumatic, emergency cesarean birth, it kept me and my baby safe and then it healed itself into this new version that is just as incredible as before.
I hate what the fitness influencer crowd does to postpartum moms because there’s enough to deal with already. If you’re a new mom or soon-to-be mom, do your best to ignore these messages of inadequacy and insecurity. Don’t fall for their trap.
There is no timeline for healing
There truly is not a “normal” timeline for healing after giving birth. I didn’t prepare myself for a cesarean birth because I never thought that would be me, but it was. I met my baby waking up from general anesthesia and I believe that the emergency nature of my cesarean led to an even harder time healing. I left the hospital in a wheelchair and didn’t leave the couch for a week. After two weeks I could walk three houses down. My scar is still tender a year later and it took me most of that year to get back to sit ups and running. When I was ready to go back to the gym, though, I was welcomed with open arms, lots of modifications and the space to listen to my body. Fourteen months later I feel strong and confident in the gym, but I absolutely healed on my own time. Don’t compare yourself to other moms — everyone’s journey is different.
You’re not meant to do any of this alone
When they say it takes a village to raise a kid, they don’t mention that you as the mom also need that village. You need help and you shouldn’t be shy about asking for it. I had my baby during the pandemic, and it was often lonely and scary. Now that we’re in the phase of vaccinations, reach out to your village (the gym included!) and ask for help. People would be happy to walk your dog, bring you food, sit with you and especially hold the baby while you shower or nap. You are not meant to raise this baby in isolation – lean on your partner, lean on your community, lean on your family (biological and chosen).
You are strong
Strength may look different after birth but, mama, YOU ARE STRONG. You would be surprised at how much physical strength you will retain from your time at the gym, even if you take a long break after birth. Don’t hurry yourself back hoping to not “lose strength,” instead, heal, rest, sleep when you can and the gym will be here waiting for you when you’re ready.
Are you a new mom looking to ease back into the gym? Ripple Effect is a safe, pressure-free place where you can do things at your own pace, with guidance from our expert coaches. We also partner with other health professionals such as Dr. Hannah Strom at Awake Pelvic Health, who can help you safely navigate your return to the gym. We have all the tools, connections, and experience you need to get you back to the movements you love!
Sign up for a Free Intro Session today to learn more! We’d love to meet you (and hear all about how awesome your new baby is)!