It’s been exactly 4 weeks and 4 days after delivering my beautiful baby girl. Oh… the emotions that have occurred are those so hard to describe and I'm sure only mothers can relate to. I am sure everyone has heard of post-partum blues and depression. I am sure this is due to the release of AALLL those hormones in excess. You are releasing estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin or Pitocin, and you are going through so many changes in your body and mind as well as trying to take care of a brand new little being that to some, could be a whole new experience in itself. For me, it certainly was and I had no idea the extent of emotions I would go through daily.
In 4 weeks and 4 days I have been sad, scared, proud, depressed, happy, excited, insecure, proud, confident, and ecstatic to name a few. You hold in your hands this little being that needs you more than anything in the world and all you can do is draw off your instincts and maybe from advice everyone is throwing at you from all directions. For me, this is my first child. Mind you, I am a very busy person, running in all directions and never slowing down for a second to take care of myself. I am very athletic, some might say more tomboyish than lady like and I definitely didn't think that I had any motherly instincts. However, something kicked in at 1:58 on April 11th.
I became a mom and somehow, someway, those instincts kicked in and the influx of emotions that I talked about earlier were in full effect. I never knew how much you could care for something or someone you hardly knew. Somehow you just do, you have this feeling of protection and love for this little person that you didn't even know you could possess. This brand new baby took precedence over anyone and anything else in my life at that very moment. Right then and there I realized all of my wants, needs and desires were going to be second fiddle to those of my new baby. But at that point I also realized that, although she is the top priority, I still had to take care of me and make sure I am in the right frame of mind to be able to take care of her properly.
I started to look deeper into myself and tell myself what was most important, getting laundry and dishes done or taking time to take a shower, put on clean clothes, maybe put some make up on and feel like a normal human being. I have not been cleared to work out yet, but once I am then you better believe I am going to take time to bettering myself and getting a good workout in daily.
Depression is a real disease and daily struggle for many. After giving birth, women tend to lose themselves and their identity and put all of their time into their new baby. They lose sight of their goals and dreams and desires and put all their focus, time and energy into their brand new child. In order to keep your sanity, you HAVE to make time for yourself. You have to make sure you don’t lose sight of your goals and who YOU are. You have to make time for adult conversation and time with friends and other family members.
I am a firefighter full time but I also do personal training on the side. I have four months off of work at the fire station but I have kept in contact with my clients and have made sure to keep them accountable, which, in turn has kept me accountable as well. I am breast feeding and hungry constantly, but I make sure to stay on my macro plan and eat healthy, well balanced meals all day. I might splurge here and there on an occasional glass of wine for dessert, but for the most part I am following my meal plan and trying to stay on top of my weight so that I don’t get depressed and completely fall of the wagon.
This is definitely hard, I see all of my clients losing weight and reaching all their goals and I’m stuck in limbo not being able to work out for 6 weeks. The doctor has cleared me for light walking and that’s it. This, for me, is almost impossible to follow. But I know it’s the best thing for me and to heal properly I need to listen to my doctors’ advice. But, if I can stay on top of my diet, I feel like I at least have some control of how my body will bounce back.
The biggest thing I have learned is don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone’s bodies are different. Some of my friends who delivered after me are already at their pre pregnancy weight. I gained 30 lbs during pregnancy and lost 20 right away, but can’t seem to lose the last 10. I know a lot of it is water weight and also the uterus still being expanded but it’s hard to look at my once 6 pack stomach and see a lot of smooshy gooshynish going on. I know once I start to work out it will only be a matter of time, but it’s still hard. I have to remember that I need to stay a certain weight to be able to breast feed my baby and that not everyone loses it right away. The most important thing is that my baby is happy and healthy and that I am at least in the right frame of mind to eventually get back to where I want to be.
If you are in this position just know there are a lot of women out there in this same position and it’s ok to feel this way and have these emotions but don’t hesitate to reach out, to share your feelings and to get advice and help from others. There’s no shame in eliciting help and also in admitting you’re scared or depressed or whatever you may be feeling. Just know it’s normal and everyone goes through it and to just reflect on what really matters, and know you are doing the best you can at that very moment.
The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
Happy motherhood everyone and I am honored to finally be part of this special club of all you amazing, selfless, beautiful women.