My BIRTHFIT experience:
After years of running and then coaching cross country I would consider myself an athlete, and I was pretty confident I would breeze threw this whole pregnancy, recovery, momma thing. But shortly into my pregnancy I had some health issues that put me in a position where I couldn't do much exercise until after my little one was born. I was limited to walking, light biking, and light swimming. Some of this was my fault, not being better prepared, and not asking some questions or doing research until it was too late. But needless to say once I realized I could not work out like normal I was committed to being in the best shape possible/ within my limits when little girl was born. I set some goals and worked with my family and made sure I was as ready as I could be when I was finally cleared physically by the doctor. Looking back, the actual birth of our little girl was GREAT. She arrived happy and healthy and I was set to be on a fairly easy physical recovery. But this was my first little one and I had no idea where to begin....
I started with what I knew, running. I was very well aware that I was in no position to jump back into running the milage I had been used to almost a year ago. So I started the process I always used with many of my beginning athletes. I would slowly build back up, it was going to be a long process but I needed to get back. But things got frustrating. Something wasn't right, I would go to run and just simply feel like crap... There is no other way to explain it. Yes, I was sleep deprived, what mom isn't? But, that was not it, I tried to keep up my eating habits, kept myself hydrated, researched and figured out what would be the best way to be able to run and breastfeed. But I was still hitting a wall.
About this time I started to have some emotional swings. I was well aware and had previous discussions with friends about many of the mental and emotional struggles moms have post pregnancy. But I naively thought I was going to be immune to it. I was mentally tough...I worked with family and friends and made some changes to help make myself feel more under control but then my little girl began screaming. Hours upon hours of screaming. I had no idea what was going on. I blamed myself. After a few weeks of screaming, my father in law stepped in. I should clarify here that my father-in-law is a pediatrician. It's not that he is weirdly involved, he is just unbelievably knowledgable about babies, so many calls of desperation were made to him. My father-in-law sent me to my own pediatrician where my little girl was diagnosed with reflux. She was put on medicine and we discussed a plan, new things to try, and strategies to help her feel more comfortable. But it was painfully rough sometimes. My husband tried to help in any way he could but it was wearing on him as well, plus his work was already pushing him to many of his limits in its own way.
Things got darker, Lilly would be crying, I would be crying, my husband would be crying. There were nights and days that still seem like a blur and with all this going on every time I went for a run I would just get more down. What the heck was wrong with me!
But enough with the sad stuff, here is when things started to get better. It was finally time to start BIRTHFIT. I had been looking forward to this for awhile but with how frustrating running had been I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go. But by the time I walked out of my first class I knew this was going to make things a whole heck of a lot better. First of all, I learned that I was weak in ways I had never been before. My body had just been through a remarkable event that had changed it. I had Diastasis Recti, something I had never heard of before. But now I had some words to what I was feeling, and having words to express emotions often makes a huge difference!
I looked forward to my workouts. Yes I was still having some emotional ups and downs, and Lilly was still struggling, but workouts cleared my mind, helped rejuvenate me for taking on the next couple days. I learned how to lift in ways I never had before, I learned there were muscles and movements my body had never done before. As the weeks went on, running started to feel "right" again! I learned the importance of taking care of my body in ways I had not previously done. I soaked up everything I could. Did the homework when given, read the books when given. I learned new theories on nutrition, and movement that me, the "athlete" had never heard before. On top of that I had a group of moms that were going through the same thing I was. They were new moms, trying to build themselves back up in a healthy and safe way!
Our weeks of meeting for class ended but I was not going to make that the end for me. I have taken what I've learned and moved forward. I've set goals, learned the positive emotional value of working out in different ways, and now I'm that girl at the gym, that sees the mom with the new baby come walking in, and is her secret cheerleader! BIRTHFIT works, the ideas work, and I look forward to sharing what I know with anyone who will talk to me about it:)