Contrary to popular social media belief, it’s okay to NOT work out as a new mom. It’s okay NOT to return to a formal fitness routine immediately.
I feel the need to say this because what I am continuing to see on social media scares me.
And I can’t be alone in this.
There just has to be another mom out there like me who didn’t jump back into a fitness routine after having a baby.
Right now it seems like the social media mindset is to pop out the baby and then see how fast you can run to get back to pre-pregnancy shape again. And if you aren’t one of those moms, it’s as if you need an excuse for not being ready to return to your routine, or something is wrong with you if you aren’t back to running all the miles or haven’t lost all of your baby weight within a few weeks.
Anyone else catch the new mom on social media who literally had a C-Section one day and ran a loop around the hospital the next day?
As you may remember, when I had my son, I did not focus on, worry about, or try to squeeze in a workout routine. While I wasn’t the runner back then that I am now, I was someone who went to the gym religiously before getting pregnant. I was also someone who dealt with amenorrhea only a couple of years before my son was born.
When I was pregnant, I backed off my workout routine. It didn’t feel right anymore and daily walks (plus swimming because it felt nice) were enough.
When my son was born, THE LAST THING I THOUGHT ABOUT WAS MY FORMER WORKOUT ROUTINE. I was in a different stage in my life and somehow, even at the young and naive age of 25, I knew it was going to be short-lived.
The week before my son was born, we moved into our new house. My dad thought he would be helping me by getting me a treadmill for our new home. He figured that if I had a treadmill in the house, I wouldn’t have to go to the gym or worry about how/when to work out.
I politely declined. I didn’t want the treadmill. I didn’t want something in my house to remind me that I didn’t have time, energy or desire to squeeze in a walk or run on the treadmill.
I was a stay at home mom raising a baby. I was nursing a baby (who didn’t take a pacifier or a bottle) around the clock and doing all of those mom things that take over your life.
Honestly, I was more active than I have been over the last several years of running high mileage.
When I wasn’t nursing, I was schlepping that kid around on my hip from diaper change to car seat to stroller to play mat to diaper change to stroller again, back to car seat, to bouncy, up and down the stairs, around the house, out for lunch, out for dinner, in the bath, out of the bath, and everything in between.
Who had time to miss the need for exercise? Wasn’t this exercise?
The only time I sat down was to nurse or drive my car.
So like, I get it. I get that moms need to feel like themselves and getting back to their running and fitness routines often helps with that. And for some, it’s easy to get out for a quick run or pop their cooperative kid into an apparatus of some sort (like a stroller or bouncy or crib) to squeeze it in.
For me, the
idea pressure of wondering WHEN I would do that AND HOW was more than I needed, as was the idea pressure of starting a workout not knowing if it would be interrupted.
Aside from not really feeling in the mood for formal exercise, I had enough to think about rather than worry if my child would be complacent in his stroller for me to run the distance I wanted. Or if someone was around to watch him in the house so I could go by myself.
Did I gain weight not running during those early years? No. Did the pregnancy weight all come off immediately? No. It definitely took several months for my body to return to itself (I was smaller by my son’s first birthday than I was before I was even pregnant) BUT WHO CARES.
I just had a baby. I was in a place of feeling so extremely fortunate and proud of what I was able to do (as if I was the only woman in the world to give birth) that my focus was not on my fitness or formal exercise or anything like that. It took time to heal and feel normal enough for regular life, let alone exercise!
^First Birthday Party!
I didn’t have social media in 2003. Is that what made it easier for me to adjust to the new stage in life without a fitness routine? I didn’t see others running, is that what it is?
I can’t even imagine scrolling a phone while keeping up with my son back then.
To each their own but MY G-D, can’t people enjoy their babies and stop freaking out about getting back to a workout routine?
Those early years are so precious and short. I would not trade those moments of not running back then for the world and I would do it all over again the exact same way.
Rather than worrying when to fit in a workout, why not focus on building a different type of daily routine. Finding mom groups, mom friends, play groups, and activities. Figuring out a routine that takes you OUT OF THE HOUSE every day. Get dressed, put on some makeup and go with the baby.
Some say they can do both, I argue to say you don’t have to do both.
I spent many days during those first years walking with the stroller. Through the mall, through the parks, through my neighborhood. Not for my fitness, more to give us routine, air, and energy.
I think stroller strides is genius. They didn’t have that when my son was little but it’s something I might have tried.
I always knew I could and would rejoin the gym when my son started preschool and that’s exactly what I did. I did this, however, under the notion that when he had weeks of being sick or days off from school, I may not get to the gym and that was going to be okay. There would be plenty of time as he got older for me to slowly adjust and return back to a more formal fitness routine.
My hope is that new moms can weed through what are seeing on social media because the whole fit mom and no excuses thing is getting way out of hand.
There are new moms forcing their bodies into situations they are not ready for and making their fitness a crazy priority over anything else. And when we see it on social media, it’s almost like it’s normalized. We cannot allow this to be normal. There’s a fine line between having a healthy, balanced fitness routine and taking it too far.
I realize we all have our own opinions and what we see is usually filtered through our own experiences. I can only speak from my experience and my experience was that of a stay at home nursing mom. As my blog following is typically females who are recovering from disordered eating/overexercising and seek balance in their food and fitness routines, I’m looking to reach new moms in this sector who need to hear and see that it’s okay NOT to work out so fast or return to their former fitness routine so quickly after having a baby.It's totally okay NOT to return to a fitness routine after having a baby #motherhood #running #fitness #pregnancy #newmom #thinkingoutloud Click To Tweet
Anyone else having a problem with what they see on social media lately?