The BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series: A Reflection on Simultaneously Teaching and Participating While I was pregnant with baby #3, I led two BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series. Each class was amazing. The women blew me away with their courage, compassion, and progress. The magic of the Postpartum Series is the way these women come together, form a village, and support one another. In some cases, we had women who were more than a year postpartum and they were every bit as vital in the village.
Content-wise, the Series is a smart approach to pelvic floor and core rehabilitation and returning to functional movements. I rewrote workouts constantly. I wanted the women to be safe, challenged, and empowered. From this intention, workouts seemed to err on the side of simplicity. Looking back, I probably spent too much energy perfecting rep schemes and time domains. As I joined the women in the Series as a newly postpartum mother myself, I came to realize 3 important things about the Series:
- Respect the simple. I consider myself a relatively fit individual. I’ve been an athlete my entire life and have been fortunate enough to have healthy pregnancies where I could continue working out the entire time. With that said, I was humbled during class #1 when I realized baby-wearing air squats and farmer’s carries created an honest stimulus. Even the most empowering birth leaves the body depleted. One moment you are roaring out your baby and the next moment you are shaking as you try to walk to the bathroom shower. Birth is massive. You owe yourself and your body the utmost compassion.
- Patient is fast. This postpartum period was my most patient one yet. A week after Oliver was born, I decided to go on a long run. About a mile out, I started bleeding. A lot. Recovery took a while. Eleven days after Vivian was born, I thought Fran was a good idea. Again, idiot. I started bleeding after round 2 and had to stop the workout. These poor choices added weeks if not months to my recovery time. With Hank, I took it slowly. It was hard for me. I did nothing but breathe and bond for the first two weeks. After that, I took another week to work with the pelvic floor progression and do gentle yoga. The BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series started at week #3. Right now, I’m 6 months postpartum and stronger than I’ve ever been—not strong-for-postpartum, actually strong. I don’t pee myself during workouts. I’m properly activating my core and PRing lifts without a belt. It’s amazing. Being patient in the beginning pays dividends later.
- Healing happens both in and out of class. During this most recent Postpartum Series, I was very present to the healing power of the village. There’s a synergy created when women get together and share their hearts. The in-class healing was profound. As important as the hour was in class, the other 23 hours outside of class were just as important. I became acutely aware of this large opportunity to either augment or detract from my postpartum experience. I could slow down, nourish, rest, and rebuild OR I could live in this realm of “not enough” and continue to break down a broken down body. Getting the training right is important, but so is not messing up the non-training time. I see so many moms trying to race this arbitrary clock to “get back.” I get it. That was me during my first two postpartum journeys. But this third one has demonstrated a well understood concept that I’ve struggled to experience: healing happens in the relaxation response (Parasympathetic System dominance). This unrushed, healing-centered postpartum has ultimately resulted in the fastest, strongest, and non-obsessive recovery I’ve had.
Whether you’re 2 weeks or 12 years postpartum, it’s not too late to rehabilitate your pelvic floor and core. Postpartum is forever. If you are still experiencing any of the common (but not normal) dysfunctions of motherhood like Diastasis Rectus Abdominus or urinary incontinence, find a BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series near you or work through the online version called Queen in Training.
Wishing you happiness and health!