Postpartum and Getting Healthy Again (4)

Any woman who has had a baby knows that you are not quite yourself physically after giving birth. I didn’t even leave my house the first week after Lucas was born. Nursing him every couple hours was all I had energy for. But it wasn’t long before I was taking short walks. Then as the weeks went on, short walks turned into longer walks. I loved taking my son in the stroller and exploring our neighborhood. I enjoyed this “slower pace” of exercise as my body adjusted to less sleep and the demands of caring for an infant. But in the back of my head was the six week mark. I planned to start jogging again by six weeks postpartum. This deadline allowed me to patiently enjoy walking and kept me from discontentment the second half of my pregnancy when I wasn’t running.
The week of my 6 week appointment I tried jogging a couple minutes at a time for half an hour. It felt so good to move my legs that way. But my pelvis hurt as much as when I was pregnant. I was excited thinking I was “on my way” to running consistently again. But that evening the pelvic achiness was as bad as right after labor and my hips hurt a lot! All part of getting back in shape was what I thought. But at my six week appointment, the one I expected to get the confirmation I had been waiting for to get back to my normal activities, my doctor said my pelvic floor muscles weren’t working (even though I thought they were) and some muscles on one side of my pelvis were extremely tight. She encouraged me to seek out a physical therapist. I was a little heartbroken. The physical therapist confirmed that my hip was out of alignment. So began my long journey with pt visits a couple times a week and many at home exercises.
As discouraged as I was to not be able to run, I did my best to stay positive and be faithful with my home exercises, especially understanding what the pt was trying to do for my muscles with them. I also was aware that I had the common condition of separated ab muscles from pregnancy. So normal ab blasting workouts I loved to keep my waist small were not safe. However, my pt gave me routines to get my inner core and pelvic muscles strong to support the rest of my body.
Well it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve started going to the physical therapist and I am about 15 weeks postpartum. I tried jogging a little yesterday and my hip and pelvic pain is still really hard to tolerate. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long ways since seeing a pt. I can walk for an hour or more without any pain. Standing all day doesn’t hurt like it use to. But running is still not my world right now.
I’ve been frustrated and impatient at times. But I’m also thankful. Not being able to run has forced me to learn new exercises, which is better for my body to mix it up. I’ve also learned a lot about my own posture and alignment from visiting the pt. this is something I have spent months studying to train other people. I am focusing on teaching my body to function well all day long and not just when I work out. It’s a slow process getting to where I hope to one day be, but the journey itself has taught me so much. And hopefully at the end of it I’ll be stronger physically and mentally through all the perseverance and hard work I am putting in.
If you are a mom and have experienced injury or lingering pain from labor and pregnancy I would love to hear your story. I think it is encouraging as a woman to realize there are many scenarios after having a child and you don’t have to get back to being incredibly fit right away. The reality of being a mom and learning to be healthy for you and your family (even when that means just taking it easy on your body as you heal) will do more for you in the long run than any quick fix to get back to whatever activity you have missed could do.

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