After the birth of my second baby, I knew I needed some assistance getting my core back to normal. Especially since I’m positive I never fully recovered from my first pregnancy because of reoccurring back pain and a ridiculously weak core. So after baby number two entered the world and after I was cleared at my six-week postpartum appointment (I’ll be talking more about this appointment later), I signed up for a BIRTHFIT Postpartum class and it didn’t take me long to realize I had struck gold.This postpartum series is not a “lose your baby weight in one month” type of class. Nor does it solely focus on exercise. There are many components explored with an overall emphasis of education and empowerment. To put it simply, I was made aware that just because I was past six weeks postpartum, didn’t mean my body was automatically healed. It was just getting started! The series allowed me to celebrate and appreciate the postpartum journey I was on. And I was able to take so much pressure off of myself because, heck, I JUST HAD A BABY. Of course it’s going to take time, and of course I should enjoy where I’m at and not focus so much on losing weight or “bouncing back”. Below are quick highlights of a few of the most memorable things I learned in this postpartum series.
DiastasisI don’t know that I can say I knew this word, let alone its meaning, before BIRTHFIT. As babies grow, our abdominal muscles are forced apart to make room for the expanding uterus. After birth, almost all moms have some remaining separation to the abs. In order for the muscles to properly and safely move back together, time and intentional healing are necessary.
Several common exercises like planks, sit ups, push ups, crunches, and even jogging that may seem helpful to the abdominal muscles are actually counteracting the healing process. They are putting added stress on the unhealed area, which can easily slow or stop progress. In class, we learned a series of movements called functional progression. These exercises helped to strengthen the core without doing any damage to the existing diastasis. I still continue to do these exercises in addition to my now "back-to-normal” exercises.
Bumbleride 2016 Indie Jogging Stroller
The All ClearSpeaking of back to normal…the six-week postpartum doctor appointment is when most moms are cleared for sex and exercise. Have you ever stopped to think about how very vague this “clearance” is? There is no direction as to how to jump back in to the exercising world. Since taking this class, I’ve heard friends talk about how it felt like their insides were falling out the first time they went for a run and I seriously cringe when I hear stuff like that! Because of the knowledge I now have of what is happening internally and what should and shouldn’t be done, I seriously am convinced this type of a class should be mandatory to all women in the postpartum journey.
Innate Movement PatternsTake the time to admire how great little children’s posture is. Or how they just squat down to pick stuff up and take good care of their backs without ever being taught to do so! Pretty amazing. I learned so much when it comes to innate body movements – especially when it comes to breathing! At some point in life, most of us somehow have the idea that we breathe with just our chest. But our entire diaphragm needs to be involved to breathe properly! Deep belly breaths have been a part of my daily routine for a year now and I’m amazed at the difference I can feel – especially as someone who has always struggled with asthma!
MindsetMy coach is amazingly athletic and knows her stuff when it comes to the physical aspects of this class, but her real expertise lies in the mental mindset of postpartum healing. She did a fantastic job of teaching us about healing the mind, body, and soul!
I was in class with a handful of wonderful postpartum ladies, some a few months postpartum, some a few years postpartum. Some with newborns tagging along in their car seats or being carried (not during all of the exercises!), and some with their youngest a little older but still in need of a little core healing. Throughout the month-long course, it certainly wasn’t just a workout experience. There were discussions led by our coach, stories shared, and connections made in this class that helped me with a lot of the emotional healing I didn’t even know I needed.
BIRTHFIT FitnessI wasn’t able to attend the BIRTHFIT pregnancy class, but that class also revolves around education and the functional progression movements throughout pregnancy and there is a huge focus on taking the reigns for the birthing process.
SLOW IS FAST
This is hands down the biggest takeaway I received from participating in this course. So many moms are focused on losing the baby weight or reaching a certain milestone in X amount of time. It is so important to remember that it takes time and THAT IS OKAY!