On proving yourself postpartum

Excuse me, are you saying after growing a real-life human being then in one way or another pushing that baby from my body, I have something to prove? Well, no, no you don’t. If you are like me, you succumbed to the mama pressures to get back to your “pre baby self.” (As if there is such a thing) How could you not? Everywhere you look there are stories of some famous person who got their six-pack back just weeks after giving birth. Pinterest boards full of post baby exercises to get your body back, and so on…

I certainly fell prey to these pressures. Fit into my pants before going back to work. Get my fitness back on track as soon as I was cleared. Breastfeed. Take regular showers. Do baby yoga. Have the perfect nursery. Post cute monthly photos. Blah, Blah, Blah.

My focus became fixated on a half ironman triathlon. For some reason, I felt that if I trained for and did that race, I would be back! Back from what exactly? I am not sure. Who needs a comeback from birthing a child? Seriously. What is with the pressure to get “back” after giving birth? I am pretty sure growing a baby and pushing it out of my body was one of the hardest things I will ever do besides actually raising said child. More like I needed a vacation. Nevertheless, I signed up for a half ironman. I started training. And in some ways it felt good. As time went on and I was back at work and pumping and settling into being a mom and adjusting to my new body (because, yes, things are different), training became a burden.

I had already been doing a triathlon of sorts for almost 2 years straight: growing, birthing and feeding. If anything, all moms should be applauded every time they enter a room for at least the first year post birth. That shit is hard. But here I was feeling like I had to do this race to get back.

As my race day drew nearer, the more I dreaded it. I just wanted it to be over. But I felt all this pressure. Not from any one person, but just this pressure to do this race. Would my friends still like me if I didn’t race? Would my husband love me less? I realize these are completely ridiculous thoughts, but they were real.

Finally, I came around and stopped punishing myself. There was (still is) nothing to prove.

Hoods up in Portland.

Of course my friends would still like me. Of course my husband would love me no matter what. Instead I decided to treat myself to an adventure in a new city with some of my favorite people. I indulged in donuts, hikes, and culture. It. Was. Glorious.

So if you are a postpartum momma, or you are pregnant and worried about getting back after pregnancy. Cut yourself a little slack. Your body has been working hard all day every day growing a person. I repeat a person. That is a pretty freaking huge deal. Bask in the glory of that, and let yourself adjust to the whole postpartum thing.

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