Postpartum women often feel utterly broken. We don’t recognize our own bodies and experience all kinds of appalling symptoms – leaking, diastasis, pelvic pain, pubic symphysis pain, fresh stretch marks, prolapse and tearing – just to mention a few. What do you do then when you have a baby to pick up? A car seat to carry, a stroller to haul around or perhaps you have more than one little darling to pick up at the same time? Each time you do, you feel that pressure in your pelvis, or you leak or just the pain itself leaves you dumbfounded. Yes, pregnancy has a huge impact on our bodies – hormonally, mentally and physically. Birthing comes with physical strain and impact which can leave us feeling broken, lost, lonely, weak, confused and out of touch with our bodies. We simply feel unable to do what we easily did before.
There is a lot of information out there telling us that birthing is the same as a major injury and it is traumatic and we can’t expect to be able to go back to what we did before pregnancy. I understand this. At the same time, I also feel that one should be cautious of the belief that you are now broken. Think about it – you’ve had a baby, or even babies. This takes huge strength and courage – physically, mentally and emotionally. Of course it does. But our bodies are capable and strong and lets not forget that we were meant to go through this. Our bodies are capable of going through this. Yes, you should be caring towards yourself and allow your body to recover postpartum. Yes, you should go and see a pelvic floor physiotherapist and work with trainers that are familiar with and mindful of core and pelvic floor dysfunction. Yes, you should start slow and listen to your body. But the aim is recovery, which means taking slow healthy steps back to the pre-pregnancy you or an even stronger post pregnancy you. The ultimate goal is being able to pick up your 40lb baby without feeling that pressure, without leaking, without pain. The aim is to get back to running, jumping and laughing. The stories we tell ourselves about our bodies have a huge impact on the way our bodies move. The more broken you believe you are, the less you move. The less you move, the less you can move. And the less you can move, the more broken you feel.
You might be temporarily restricted, but with the right guidance and exercises you should be able to crunch, twist, jump, leap, bounce, bend, hop and pick up heavy things – like really heavy things – if you want to. Just like before. You simply need to re-learn how. Maybe you just need to remind your body how. It’s a process. You are not broken. Educate your body. Educate your mind and most of all remember – you are not broken, your body is amazing and capable. You are amazing and capable.