It’s Okay To NOT Workout As A New Mom

 

thinking out loud

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!

benji

^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.

bunny

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.

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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?

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I absolutely love this post…I always thought I was the only one to think that this is weird. I mean trying to get back in shape right after you deliver a baby seemed odd to me. Since the mother goes through so much to bring the child in this world.
    But since I’m not a mother, I was not sure….Thanks for confirming my doubts…
    We are in a world which is constantly competing for more…and we have forgotten to live in the moment….
    Madhu recently posted…[INFOGRAPHIC]10 tips to choose the right shoes for your feet (July 2018)My Profile

  2. says

    I agree completely. Moms (and everyone else) should do whatever level of fitness routines they are comfortable with. You had different priorities when your son was small – that was your perogative. We should not have to feel defensive about our decisions or explain them to strangers on social media.
    Laurie recently posted…What Have You Learned From Running?My Profile

    • says

      Agreed. I feel bad for new moms today viewing social media. I hope they can sort through what will positively impact them rather than bring them down or make them question their own sanity and routine.

  3. says

    I wish every woman who give s birth could read this! I was exactly on your page when I had my children. I left the hospital both times my regular size bec. Didn’t gain much weight because I was constantly nauseous(Happy though) throughout both my pregnancies. However, I never thought of weight during pregnancy and after I was happy to be a mom—a precious gift I have never taken lightly. You should try to get this printed in a National magazine because it’s an important topic and positively written.

  4. says

    I’ve never had a baby but I can see what you mean with what I have seen on social media. I applaud the moms who have a child and recognize that they don’t have to jump back into working out .3876 seconds after having the baby. Although I will say I do think some moms work out (once cleared by their doctor!) because it’s a little bit of me time during the day that is otherwise filled with caring for a newborn. Again never had a child but that’s my opinion with what I’ve seen on social media.

    • says

      Sure, I can see why new moms get in their workouts but it’s not always as possible as social media makes it appear. Really depends on the help you have, how you feel, and how complacent your child is. I know mine didn’t give me a minute to do anything! lol.

  5. Kelli says

    Long time reader, first time commenter, but as a mom of a 2.5 year old and a 6 week old, this post 100% resonates with me. I too had amenhorrea prior to having children with accompanying disordered eating and exercise (which reading your blog helped me recover from, so thank you!). You are so right- I also want to tell new moms to RELAX- these early years are so precious and not to be spent obsessing about exercise. Pregnancy and recovery have taught me that my body KNOWS what it needs and if I just listen to it and respond accordingly I’ll be in a happy place 🙂

  6. Kristen says

    I didn’t formally workout for two years after my twins were born. I quit working out at 28 weeks, when my doctor told me I needed to stop. I thought I would jump right into working out after they were born, but that went out the window when I went back to work. I was tired, I had a lot to do, and most importantly, I wanted to spend the time I was away from work, when they were awake, with them. They were awake for such few hours and changing so fast. I don’t regret my decision at all. Once they were two, life had settled down into a routine, I was getting good sleep and could wake up before they were up to start running. The boys are now 13, and I have no regrets I took off from running/ working out. During those two years, I was very active, talking walks with the boys and chasing them around. I did not gain weight and it was easy to resume my fitness routine. Thanks for this post.

    • says

      thank you so much for sharing your experience! I can totally understand and I too, do not regret the way things were for me those first few years either. I look back on it and realize how I didn’t miss working out but knew I would return to the gym and a fitness routine when I really had the time, energy, and desire to do so. Those years went so fast, even though at the time some of those days (and nights) seemed to drag, right?

  7. says

    After my laparoscopy (which is so minor compared to childbirth), running sounded awful for about five days. I couldn’t imagine putting my body through a run when I had incisions and pain from surgery. Even when I started running again, it took a few weeks to get back to normal mileage or do anything faster than an easy run… and that was just a minor lap. I could not imagine hopping straight back into normal running after childbirth. Thank you for being a voice of reason!
    Laura recently posted…Strength Training for Runners: Lifting for PerformanceMy Profile

  8. says

    Such a great post, and so so important! I’m not anywhere near having kids, but even at the wizened age of 20 I have reached an understanding that my fitness routine morphs and changes depending on what is going on in my life; not the other way around. Sometimes I take a week off working out, sometimes my body is just like LOL NAH when I think about doing an intense workout so then I stick to just walking or yoga. Sometimes I just have so many different responsibilities that working out takes the back burner and that is so okay and so normal! It all comes down to the fact that fitness is just not the end-all be-all of health.
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…Day in the Life {Summer Weekend}My Profile

  9. says

    You know I love everything about this post, and I’m so happy you wrote and shared it. Your words, post baby, helped me a ton. Just recognizing my body and days had limitations and a new set or priorities.

    In the beginning, working out was the last thing on my mind and sometimes I see these new moms on social media sharing their fitness programs and think a) that cannot be real, b) they must have a live in nanny, or c) at what cost. On bad days, I thought why can’t I muster up the energy and desire. Thankfully I realized how quickly how foolish that was. I’d rather have those first months (and years) be all about her because I’ll never get them back.

    Thank you.

    And Happy Birthday. Forty and fabulous!!
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: The German Invasion (#135)My Profile

    • says

      you just said it so perfectly and helped me to even clarify my son’s early years. sometimes I wonder now, what was wrong with me that I was really all about him then? why didn’t I want to make fitness a focus? should I have been running every morning like what I see on social media? But no, I didn’t. like you say, we will never get that time back and I’m living it now that he is a teenager. I would not change those early mornings of coloring with the big floorpad or painting for anything. I can run all I want now but those first few years are precious.