The First 8 Weeks Postpartum
I remember one of our PregActive Mamas telling me the first 6 weeks “It’s just like you are trying to keep a potato alive”. There’s no smiles and you are covered in poop and vomit, and not sleeping.
Well, if that’s the case, I have a very cute potato. And I adore him, and to be honest, have loved the first 6 weeks.
Well, apart from week five that is. That’s when, and wait for it, I got.
Boom. Just like that my whole life got tipped upside down and bumped on the head.
So that’s why I don’t have a progress photo for week 5! I was busy stuffing cabbage leaves down my bra. The Friday night I had a fever and then exhaustion all weekend. And then it was a week of staying inside, not seeing anyone and not doing anything but trying to keep my cute potato-head alive.
Progression isn’t a straight line
I want to keep it real. To tell you how it is. And to motivate you to keep going, even if it sometimes feels like you are stepping backwards not forwards.
Fitness progression is not a straight line upwards.
For us women, we have an abundance of hormones that race through our bodies, so regardless of pregnancy / post-pregnancy recovery, unlike our male counterparts, no woman has a direct linear fitness progression. Menstruation and our cycles just don’t let us.
But we still expect it? We still strive for it? And we get SO disappointment when we have that ‘bloated day’.
Well my dear, guess what? The progression post-pregnancy is not linear. So don’t expect it to be.
You’ll see my progress photos look like they go in order. They are a week apart, taken at the same time every day (well, I attempted to, sometimes I was covered in baby vomit and on my third outfit for the day by 9am!).
But later in the day I could be more bloated and feel like I looked like I did in week one!
We all do it. We all focus on the BELLY. We use this part of our body, which is the area that fluctuates the most, to judge whether we feel good about ourselves or not.
So how do you overcome this?
I hope that by me sharing my progression with you, it will make you feel better about yourself and your own progression. Because we are all beautiful, inside and out and need to stop focusing on the negative and just keep going, with the right advice and the right actions.
Persistence is the Key
10 pelvic floor exercises will take you less than 30 seconds to do. You can even do it whilst feeding your baby, whilst rocking your baby, whilst brushing your teeth, whilst lying in bed or even whilst watching day-time TV (ps: I pretty much watched The Ellen Show every day because it makes me laugh and leaves me with a smile on my face.. but did my pelvic floor whilst watching!).
You just gotta do it.
And I’m so glad I have been doing mine.
You see, Max, as adorable as my little potato head is, came out with a big head (98th percentile) and at 8.5 pounds and big shoulders, although I had no drugs and absolutely LOVED my birth, and no tearing from his head popping out, his shoulders gave me a nice third degree tear.
So yes, I booked in for my women’s health physio to do a home visit on day three, and then my Mum to mind Max whilst I prioritised an appointment at 3 weeks and then again at 6 weeks.
Pelvic floor is one of those funny things that you can’t see, you can only feel. And often after you’ve had a baby, you can’t really feel much!
I’d highly recommend seeing a women’s health physio, and know that’s it’s never too early, but it can be too late.
So here goes, week by week what happened for me:
Week 1 and 2
Those first couple of weeks were a bliss of feeding and lying. I actually fed lying down. I want every mama out there to know that she can feed lying down, as I’ve had a few Mothers say to me “Oh I wish I was told about that”.
You see Mama-bear, being horizontal in your first two weeks is essential. It doesn’t matter who you are, or how you birthed your baby, you don’t want to be fighting against gravity.
Your pelvic floor worked over time during your pregnancy and now needs help to rebound. And gravity aint going to help the situation.
Most women think that sitting down is enough, but you are still putting pressure downwards. Sit and stand as little as you can in those first few weeks, and lie down as much as you can. Even whilst feeding if possible.
Your bed should be the place you are most of the time, and when are up, get outside, even just to stand at your back door and breathe the fresh air in from your back yard.
Weeks 3 and 4
After doing just pelvic floor exercises and gentle abdominal exercises (which is what Module one in the PregActive for Mamas program has), I started to feel more capable. And by capable, I mean standing for longer periods of time. Going for short walks. Doing some all four kneeling exercises.
I started to do a bit more. Before this point my husband literally did all the food and snack prep and delivered it to me. He made me cups of tea. We minimised visitors. We basically stayed in a bubble.
Week three was when he went back to work, and so I then invited people to visit mid-week. Which was great. And then, on the weekend we spent it as a family of three and had no visitors. Highly recommend it!
Week 5 & 6
These were my toughest weeks for sure.
I’d over done it at the end of week 4 and had too many visitors in the week. To be honest, I was nervous to have a day just me and Max, completely by ourselves the entire time. Looking back, I don’t know why?
We all have our silly things that we do, and our future self looks back and says “girl, what you doin?” and well, that was mine.
So yep, mastitis. Not fun.
But it slowed me right down.
Want to know the worst part? And you’ll laugh at me as I say this, but having to think about WHEN I ate.
You see, I’m a snacker.
I eat every couple of hours. Just small amounts, but I love doing it.
I went on antibiotics and couldn’t eat for 30 minutes before and two hours afterwards. Do you know how long 2.5 hours feels when all you want to do is eat?
So yep, rant over.
So then, guess what I did in week 6.
Still doing my exercises of course, but that new freedom to eat when I want was incredible. A new-found appreciate for it.
But then, as we all do, I started just eating the wrong food and not drinking enough water.
So then, I got constipation.
So yeah, week 6 wasn’t so nice either.
Week 7 & 8
I have never eaten so healthy, drank as much water and been so focused on my pelvic floor exercises as I have been since week 7.
Off the antibotics, over the binge of naughty food, and back on track.
And man, I’ve never felt better.
A total new appreciation for the way I eat. Nuts, seeds, oats, yoghurt, fruit, veggies, eggs, meat. And all fresh and all in abundance.
I’m still a new Mama. At 8 weeks today as I write this, I know that. But I also feel I’ve come a long way.
Eight full weeks since I birthed our little gorgeous boy, and my body has gone through a lot.
I can’t stress enough how much persistence is key.
Knowing that the small little acts of kindness you give to your body and yourself add up to help you in the long run.
So to all the pregnant mamas out there, and all the fresh new mamas with their little bundles of joy, my advice to you is this:
- Stay horizonal in those first few weeks.
- Start your pelvic floor exercises straight away. Start with 5 x 5 second holds and do it at least three times a day.
- Drink SO much water. Like a lot. Like have a water bottle in every room.
- Snack on veggie sticks, prunes, nuts and seeds to get your fibre up.
- Don’t over do it on the fruit as the sugars can be a bit much for your gut.
- Enjoy your yoghurt and have a probiotic.
- Get outside for some fresh air.
I’ve been following along the PregActive for Mamas program, and to be honest, I love it. It’s 12 modules and with lifetime access, it’s unlike any other program I’ve done. It’s not pushy, it’s supportive.
The exercises are great, and at just 15-20 minutes I can fit it in, but then afterwards still feel good. And you know the best bit, the PAUSE button!
If I need to, I just stop it, and then start when I’m ready again. Or I do 5-10 minutes in the morning and finish the rest off in the afternoon.
With all this craziness that’s happening in the world at the moment, we’ve put on an special for Mamas out there who need some at-home workout motivation.
And you know what, this program isn’t just for fresh new mothers like me, it’s for any mama that wants to reconnect her core, get rid of her mummy tummy and tone up to feel strong and confident.
And shhhhh… but a big secret is that we’re about to start a challenge with even more support and more motivation as I do the program with you. So any new mama who joins us will be welcomed with this extra bonus!
Check out Max and I doing our at home workout together, his little legs get a good workout from all his kicking!