Screw the “bounce back”…

My second child, our daughter Isabel turned 6 last week. We were overjoyed with her arrival! I suffered a miscarriage a year before she was born and it made for an emotional pregnancy filled with worry and anticipation.

My birth with her was a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean section), thanks to the support of many local experts (Bradley Method Birthing, the best Midwife team, a great hospital, and an amazing support team). It was 27 hours long and fairly uncomplicated. There is a lot of fear around VBAC’s, some of it warranted; a lot is not.

Izzy is smart, funny, organized, thoughtful, entertaining, curious, lovable and so much more. I love the gift of her presence and I am grateful to watch her grow.

As I look back through photos, I don’t have many of me with her in the early days. I know I was self-conscious about my appearance, recovering from birth and trying to bounce back the way I thought I should. 

As a fitness professional for nearly 17 years now, the PRESSURE WAS ON.
~I should bounce right back because I had exercised during my pregnancy, right?
~I should know what to do to heal because I have a degree in exercise science, various certifications and lots of continuing education?

*I know a lot more now because I have pursued a lot of excellent education from Brianna Battles- Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism and Jessie Mundell. But I had to seek this out, it was not readily available after my first two babies were born (2009 and 2013).

We need to STOP talking to women about ‘bouncing back’ after birth. It’s nonsense. Women need time to heal. New moms need support in the 4th trimester to allow their body to heal and they need education on how to take care of their body after baby arrives. We pay a high level of attention to Moms when they are carrying babies. We need to give them equal attention after going through the trauma that is birth and the recovery which includes caring for a tiny human.

We also need to stop telling women that IF they exercise throughout their pregnancy, the WILL bounce right back after. Instead, let’s start educating about Pelvic floor health, restoring the FUNCTION of your core so you don’t have back/hip/pelvic pain or leak every time you sneeze or cough. Let’s talk about the movement choices they make and how these choices will impact them long term. Just because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD do it while you’re pregnant (or soon after birth, for that matter).

We also need to stop glorifying the women and celebrities who “Don’t even look like they had a baby!” I used to think that was a compliment. It is OKAY to look like you had a baby because YOU DID! A friend shared the image below (enews) and quote of Serena Williams. It’s a great, realistic statement from an elite tennis professional. “After I came home out the hospital, I had a stomach, but I thought, this is kind of cool. I have a stomach because the baby was there.” 

Next time a friend or family member has a baby, ask how THEY feel, ask how they are doing, ask what kind of support they have. If you have any questions about anything above, please feel free to ask. I’ve touched on many topics above and will continue to write blogs about each of these in the near future.

With love & support,

Erin

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