There are so many messages that our society sends women about their bodies and how they should look and perhaps one of the most vulnerable times to hear these messages is when you’ve just had a baby. Case in point, just recently a reviewer on Yoga One’s yelp page wrote about leaving class because the teacher was out of shape and therefore couldn’t be an experienced teacher. The reviewer had never been to the studio before. That teacher happens to have over a decade of experience and a beautiful six month old.
Help us share real stories like this one and support all individuals in their journey to lead happier and healthier lives. We want to hear your experiences with body image and/or postpartum recovery in the comments or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’ve taken class at Yoga One, please consider posting your feedback online, Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc., we’d love to hear your thoughts!
One year later (damn, already?!) I can say this about postpartum recovery and overall wellness – it’s not for sissies!
Before giving birth, I had expected that my body would go back to what I still considered “normal.” I wouldn’t have the aches and pains I’d experienced during pregnancy and I assumed that with some time and effort, I would eventually be the same size and weight as before. But I was naïve to how long it would actually take and I had to adjust my expectations.
I had a cesarean and they cut my stomach muscles to deliver my baby. Abrupt, I know, but I needed to say those words to myself in order to process the experience. The initial weeks of recovery and healing from the c-section were easier than I anticipated and I was able to get back on my mat practicing yoga after just six weeks. I took it slow and thought that by allowing myself enough time to heal, my body would go back to the way it was pre-baby. But a year later, I’m still struggling with both the expectation and physical experience of “getting my body back.”
My biggest setback physically is the ongoing work of mending and strengthening my abdominal muscles. Their lack of stability often causes acute low back pain. I’m constantly reminding myself to get up after sitting for too long (an epidemic really, among anyone who sits too long at their desk or in a car.) I’ve had a couple of debilitating moments where I had to seek medical treatment with acupuncture and massage. This, coupled with proper yoga asanas to strengthen my ab muscles and stretch my hips and hamstrings, has kept the pain at bay. But sometimes I feel as though this pain will be a consistent reminder of what my body miraculously performed.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel bad about my body. It’s given me a healthy baby girl and for that, I am forever grateful. I do get bummed when I realize my belly is no longer the adorable object of affection.
Just as my body had to make space for the experience of carrying a life, my postprtum body needed time to adjust to a new version of life with different activities, patterns and eating habits. It’s been a challenge to fit healthy eating into a much busier day to day life. Making time for workouts and time for me often falls by the wayside simply because I miss her. So we take more walks and do yoga in the park.
My priority is Olive and I remind myself that I have to be physically and spiritually strong to care for her like she deserves. My physical appearance is no longer my top concern, but the health of my body matters.
If I could say one thing to new moms, it’s that adjusting to your new schedule will be difficult, but remember that you gave birth, and that’s not for sissies! You got this!
Missy began practicing yoga at home when she was fourteen, following along to a DVD in her living room. She has since completed two separate 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings with UCSD and Yoga One. Missy loves helping others find their own yogic path and students of all levels appreciate her warm and friendly teaching style.