Disclaimer: For some, writing openly about nutrition, diet, weight loss and a return to fitness postpartum is controversial. If you find this post triggering or off-putting, feel free to pass these posts by when they appear. Everyone’s journey is different in unique, and while I definitely don’t intend to make anyone feel bad or question theirs, I realize this could happen and it’s definitely not my intent. I only hope to share my own experiences. Note: This was written at the end of 2 weeks postpartum.
It’s no secret that there are a million “horror” stories about birth and postpartum recovery. Everything from women crapping on delivery room beds (yes I just wrote that) to never feeling like their lady parts resembled anything “normal” again. So then you can understand how someone like me couldn’t help but wonder what my own experience would be like.
For the most part, I was unmoved by a lot of the stories. I didn’t care about pooping (if it happened), bleeding, or hemorrhoids (okay I cared about those a little), I just wanted a healthy baby and a reasonably uneventful birth. I also cared about my recovery and ability to resume CrossFit training and running, because I knew both would be essential for my mental health over the first few months and winter. Plus it’s fun, reason enough right?
Everyone’s goals for “body after baby” are different, and rightfully so. For me, getting back to doing what I love and feeling good emotionally supercedes body part measurements and the scale. So that’s what my posts will focus on
I was surprised by how normal I felt after giving birth. After laboring for 24 hours naturally and a low-intervention “mobile” epidural, I hopped off the bed and used the bathroom under my own steam soon after, which the nurses said was atypical. I took the meds (800mg Ibuprofen, and a stool softener) they gave me at the hospital because they were pretty insistent and scheduled, but quit taking all but the stool softener within a week because I just didn’t feel that bad, save a little general soreness. I’m just the type that would rather feel a little pain and adjust my routine accordingly then mask it.
My only significant physical symptom over the first two weeks was the bleeding. The nurses were kind enough to load me up with pads, gauzy underwear, and witch hazel wipes, which helped immensely, and now (at 12 days postpartum when writing this) the bleeding is barely a period and I’m wearing my own undies. If you are pregnant, definitely find out what they will give you or make a big batch of padsicles, they will do wonders for your happiness level.
My body’s shape and size looks pretty close to pre-pregnancy, but I’m definitely feeling a little squishy in the mid-section, understandably so. I also feel like I have a much weaker midline, again understandable. I packed away all my maternity clothes and have been wearing mostly my old stuff, though I’m going to need all new bras.
For the most part, I’ve spent the past two weeks on the couch nursing. Kaitlan hit the magical day 10 growth spurt and has been eating pretty consistently about every 45 minutes to an hour. While I expected to pretty much be a boob buffet, the sheer magnitude of her eating is astounding. This leads me to…
I made it my primary goal to eat really well during pregnancy, and continued training until I went into active labor (literally). It allowed me to maintain good energy levels and stay more physically capable overall, and I knew I was doing right by Kaitlan. I also did it in the hopes that combined it would make labor and postpartum easier as well.
While my labor definitely wasn’t shorter, I feel like it definitely has made postpartum a lot better. With the exception of a little soreness, I barely feel like I was ever pregnant. I resumed walking the dogs solo and cleaning my house at 4 days postpartum. I still plan to wait until 4 weeks to begin a slow climb back with PT/CrossFit, but hope to do more vigorous walking beginning next week.
As I mentioned, I am focused on recovering performance and muscle much more than lowering the scale or measuring my body parts at this point. This is because in reality, it will actually be good to put weight on and for some areas of my body to regain size in muscle. In total, I ended up gaining around 18-20 lbs during pregnancy, and walked out of the hospital at pre-pregnancy weight, which wasn’t my lowest weight in the entire pregnancy. How it ended up shaking out for those interested:
6 week weight: 136 lbs
14 week weight: 127 lbs
37 week weight: 145 lbs
3 days postpartum: 135 lbs
12 days postpartum: 126 lbs
How I’m feeling mentally
The whole process of getting pregnant, being pregnant, and delivering a baby feels like the blink of an eye, and the contrast between the “before,” “during,” and “after” is so stark its surreal. It’s weird to go from hugely pregnant to not pregnant, and as I recovered pretty quickly, the contrast feels even more stark. Someone called me “mom” the other day, and it still doesn’t even feel real yet. It was the single biggest physical moment of my life and it’s over. It’s just…weird.
That being said, it’s both wonderful and a huge adjustment. I was used to going and doing whatever I liked, when it suited me. And now, while I wouldn’t say I’m hugely limited, it’s definitely a new normal. I’m largely tied to the house right now, and everything I have to get done has a greater sense of urgency and “hurry” to it. I’m heavily reliant on my lists to keep me organized and on task.
Sleep has been the greatest tragedy of parenthood so far. I haven’t had a full nights sleep since I went into labor, and although I’m not depressed, I definitely feel a sense of dread when night-time rolls around. She’s a really good baby and hardly fussy, but she definitely wakes up several times a night and doesn’t want to be in the bassinet alone. We’ll get there eventually.
So that’s what 2 weeks postpartum is looking like. I started talking to my coach about returning and starting mobilization and activation work next week, but for now I’m enjoying my tiny bebe and taking a lot of walks with the dogs. While I miss having active training goals and plans, it kind of feels like vacation in a way.
As everyone seems to approach these updates differently, I want to know from you…
What you’d like to see most with these updates? Physical recovery, training advice, life in general?
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