If you’ve been following the posts on my latest birthing journey, you know that I’ve been actually putting some time into preparing my body for childbirth with the help of Cristin Zaimes at Oceanside Physical Therapy. (This may be my third go at the whole child birthing thing but taking the steps to intentionally nurture my maternal health this time around was a totally new endeavor). Sure, I took birthing classes before, got my daily dose of prenatal vitamins, and nested the nursery, but for the first time, I was actually taking care of me.
Well, with September securely underfoot, I’m excited to share that our baby has arrived! Born via c-section, I wasn’t sure what to expect for this recovery, but you better believe that I trained like an Olympian for this one. And you know what? Three weeks later, I feel really good.
More than a mindset…
I am confident that my mindset had a lot to do with how I approached my postpartum recovery. Yet, I can’t deny that a renewed attention towards my body may have contributed more. With just TWO sessions in Cristin’s office, I learned how to better care for my Pelvic Floor (a major team player in the childbirth experience mamas), and how to (really) ready my body for having a baby. We practiced visualization exercises, breathing rhythms, and muscle work that all gave my body a chance to strengthen in preparation for an impending cesarean delivery.
Getting my body “back”
Let’s be honest here, mamas. I’m not getting my pre-baby body back anytime soon…or possibly ever. But you know what? That’s okay with me. And that was never the goal of my Physical Therapy work with Oceanside anyway. Hint: it shouldn’t be for you either. Once we become mamas, our bodies and our lives change, permanently. The myth that we need to shed that baby weight is just that…a myth. We don’t need to be stoic sufferers that wallow in our own postpartum pain and strain. And we certainly don’t need to align our standards to those of well-funded celebrities dripping with personal trainers and around-the-clock nannies. What we should focus on is the recovery and healing that our bodies require to feel equipped to keep up with that new mama schedule.
Not long into my third visit with Cristin, she reminded me that shedding the societal pressure – not the pounds – should be my goal. Many women, she cautioned, believe that diving back into a postpartum exercise routine will propel recovery when in fact it can seriously hinder it. (remember- planks and a postpartum pelvic floor are not fast friends) Instead, we need to take advantages of services, like physical therapy, to engage in a preventative healthcare model. Just a couple of sessions can curb long term tissue damage, and it will cost you and your insurer a lot less too.
Relaxation is key…really.
So until we can resume our favorite exercise routines, how do we nurture these weary, postpartum mom bods? Relaxation, according to Cristin. Sure, you can do intentional breathing exercises and re-strengthen your upper body to assist in distributing strain to your core, but you really should relax. Our bodies can only heal themselves cell by cell and this takes time. This of course, comes with a few well-cued quips about new mothers relaxing…especially if there are other children in the mix. Yet, if you’re serious about self-care and want to bounce back the right way, it all starts with gentle recuperation. And that means everyone in your village needs to be on board.
Other ways that you can nurture your postpartum body with Oceanside Physical Therapy…
Ready to invest in postpartum body care? Check out some of these additional resources and services available through Oceanside Physical Therapy in Stratham: