This post is a reality check for those of you who see the moms who “bounce back” six weeks after having their baby and think it’s that easy. Because before I had the girls that’s exactly what I thought. I thought I’d be able to just pop them out and keep it movin’. At least this is what the #mompreneur in me had hoped for because I had places to be and people to see and I felt like I needed to feel and look like my “normal self” to do that. The fact of the matter was it wasn’t all that easy because REALITY CHECK I wasn’t my “normal self” I was actually an entirely different person. I looked different, felt different, and even thought differently.
For the five years leading up to having my first daughter I was living in NYC having a blast, partying, doing real estate, traveling, eating vegan, and spending hours at the gym every day. Things started changing quickly when I met my husband and a few short years later we were married and pregnant with Rew.
While six months pregnant I was hit by a car (as a pedestrian) while crossing the street near my brownstone in Brooklyn and that’s when we decided to move back to my home (Utah) to be closer to family. Thank God we made that move because I had no idea how much I’d cling to my family and friends those next few years.
Between heart break, long traumatic labors, being told Rew may be brain dead due to the accident, heading back to school, starting a business, Rew’s anus surgery, conceiving Goldy unconventionally (clomid), finding out she was deaf, juggling finances, Goldys heart surgery, , buying and renovating a home, oh and still working and going to school some days they were the only thing keeping me going. While going through all of these many life lessons at some point I knew I didn’t feel like my “normal self”, some days I wondered who “myself” even was. I’d ask other moms their thoughts and they’d say things like “It’s just the lack of sleep, wait till they sleep through the night” or “it’s just your hormones, just give them time to balance. The truth was I was still asking these questions at 9 months pp and I was starting to lose hope. I was starting to think this was just my “new normal self”. I even had a personality assessment done to see why I was struggling in things that were usually easy for me and I found out I had PTSD, OCD, anxiety and of course the suspected PPD or PPA. That blew my mind because I thought only certain “types” of people had those things. I didn’t think someone like me could have mental conditions like those. Because you know, in today’s society those conditions still carry a heavy cloud along with them. Truth of the matter is it took a few months for me to look in the mirror and to sort through those diagnoses and see what worked best for me.
Meanwhile, in my mind the “normal” was to have a perfectly healthy baby, pop it out, and keep it moving. Clearly that wasn’t the case for me which made trying to accept my own reality that much HARDER! That is why I’m writing this REALITY CHECK!!!! Because as if we as new mothers don’t already go through enough between birthing and raising a tiny helpless infant we do not need to sit here with these false ideals in our minds. Sure, their may be a woman with a “perfect” body, or a woman who goes back to work the next day and doesn’t skip a beat, or a woman who’s home looks like Martha Stewart and kitchen smells like Betty Crocker all while having those hospital panties on but the truth is no matter what you’re seeing on the outside that may seem so much greener than the grass you’re standing or stood on, just keep in mind we all have our own journeys. Postpartum is different for every body!
So for those of you who see women six weeks after having a baby and think they are the same, remember there’s always more to what you see. A woman’s body may look the same physically but I can promise you she doesn’t feel the same. As for me everything was changed and I’ve spent the past few months trying to get back to myself or at least the self I remember. This is me 55 weeks postpartum. The results you’re about to see are combined efforts from heading to @_rebelhouse for some cycling and boxing, to seeing @dramandalucero to help balance my hormones, to mind, body, spirit coaching FaceTime calls with @t_stroud42, to sort of following the @iheartmacros cut challenge, to seeing the best of the best @gatewaylasercenter, to talking occasionally with my therapist, to quitting breastfeeding at 11 months PP, and to giving myself A LOT of grace and time and space because like I said there’s more to it then what you see. Here are my four tips to get to your NEW AND IMPROVED SELF!
1. MENTAL– Mental is number one because for me that was the first step in getting going. After having the girls and the series of events that followed I was mentally exhausted and I noticed my mind being more forgetful, negative, and unlike my “normal self”. So tip number one is think back to what mentally motivated you before and re implement those things. Maybe you had a favorite playlist, that you never listen to anymore because all you hear now is Paw Patrol, Fozen, and Baby Einstein. Or maybe you had a favorite inspirational book you used to read but now all you read are children’s books. Go get that old book out and read it! Maybe you used to sit down and write your goals or aspirations and now all you have time for writing are your to do lists. Maybe you used to play an instrument or speak another language, go do those things again. Whatever it is that used to motivate you mentally, GO DO THOSE THINGS AGAIN and remind yourself you ARE capable of hard things!
2. EMOTIONAL– Emotional is a harder one because a lot of times it involves others. You can emotionally be in check with yourself and that’s one challenge but to be in check with yourself and those in your day to day, that is a whole other challenge. My biggest feat was cutting out anyone who wasn’t serving me. Meaning, if I spoke to someone and on average after talking to them my emotions weren’t as good or better than before I just slowly quit talking to them. This was challenging because I loved a lot of these people ALOT but I had to decide that I loved myself more. So that’s tip two, if they’re not adding to your life they’re subtracting from it. Your tiny humans already sucking enough life out of you, you don’t need someone else to! Only keep those in your life who make you feel happy!
3. PHYSICAL– Physical is so different for everyone. I could tell you what I eat or my gym routine but we have different genetics so different things work for different people. All I have to say is if there was something that got you active before having kids find a way to do that again. Maybe it’s the gym, running, hiking, swimming, dancing, cycling, or even just walking?! Whatever it is just get out there and get active. That’s part one, part two is eating. What you are before having babies maybe doesn’t give you the same results postpartum. There are a million ways to eat out there what I’ve found that works for me is eating plant based, cutting out processed foods, chemicals, alcohol, and drinking as much water as possible and honestly this seems to work for most people. If you want to know more of what I did, just ask!
4. SPIRITUAL– Often times this one gets skipped over or in my opinion taken out of context. So to clarify without offending anyone, when I’m talking spiritual I’m not referring to religion. This is something majorly confused in the state I live in. When I’m talking about getting back to yourself spiritually I’m talking strictly your own spirit. What makes you feel whole? What makes you feel at peace? What makes you feel like you matter? What makes you feel like life is good? This is SO different for everyone ranging from nature, to yoga, to prayer, to meditation, and the list goes on and on. Whatever lifts your spirits, or I guess whatever used to lift your spirits go do those things again!
After all is said and done, just keep in mind you’re not the same. So quit comparing yourself to the old you. Whether your 6 weeks PP or 60 weeks PP your pre baby body, mind, and soul are new and improved and they’re better than ever! You’ve got this mama!
PS. If you feel sad, angry, depressed, overly exhausted, anxious, crazy, bipolar, etc consistently, then please seek help! You are not alone! Post partum depression is real, post partum anxiety is real and it’s more common than you may think. There are medical professionals who can help! There are friends and family who can help! There are so many people who are right there with you, me being one of them. You are not alone! Take the first step today!