You may or may not have noticed a shift in content recently, the small changes to the website, a word here or there. But this is my formalish (as formal as I’ll get probably) announcement to share that I’ll be shifting my focus to support prenatal and postpartum wellness. This isn’t a sudden move for me; I’ve always been passionate about women’s health. But during my own pregnancy, like many other mamas out there, I sifted through the mess of confusing and sometimes downright dangerous fitness and nutrition information gifted to women by Dr. Google and realized there had to be a better way. So I began dedicating my time and energy to learn from the best when it comes to pre/postnatal care, so I could better help my mama clients and friends.
At the end of August, I was lucky enough to attend the BIRTHFIT Coaches Seminar in Denver, CO. For two intensive, long days, I was surrounded by strong, passionate and inspiring coaches, mothers, and advocates learning how to best support my female clients through pregnancy and the postpartum period with fitness, nutrition and mindset.
I took away three big things from this weekend.
1. Women are incredible and powerful.
2. THIS. This work is incredibly important and exactly what I want to dedicate my life to doing. Supporting women from preconception to postpartum with functional fitness, whole food nutrition, and mindset. Sorry. Not want. This is what I HAVE to do.
3. SLOW IS FAST.
Slow. Is. Fast.
Take it slow and you will recover quickly.
Slow is fast.
This mantra was hammered home for me at the BIRTHFIT coaches seminar. I was once again reminded of the power and importance of this mindset as I read Melissa Hemphill’s post on the BIRTHFIT blog. Go read it. Right now. I’ll wait here….
It’s good right?
Moving slowly and mindfully through postpartum recovery actually allows for faster physical and emotional recovery. This hellish, sleepless, magical, snuggly time is a gift. It is a time to rebuild physically and go back to basics. How often do we get to do that?!
Honestly, I wish I had adapted more of a “slow is fast” mindset during my initial postpartum recovery. I waited four weeks after having my daughter before diving back into CrossFit. I couldn’t WAIT to get back into the gym. I missed my Intrepid fam. I missed moving like I used to. I missed me. Though I didn't go back full bore (thanks to my smart coaches), I wasn't always the wisest with my programming and definitely didn't do my outside core and pelvic floor work until much later.
Partially because I was stubborn and determined, and partially because I didn't know any better.
We don't talk about postpartum recovery. We talk plenty about getting our pre-baby bodies back. We talk plenty about bouncing back into the old routine. We celebrate those who magically find their abs in 6 weeks, go back to work 70 hours a week, while teaching their infant Spanish and Mandarin and volunteer at the community center and and and and and....
And high five to those who do all that or any of that. You are amazing and I imagine you have an incredible support system. But by only celebrating this scenario or making this sound like the norm or only option, we leave the rest of us in the dust wondering if we are inadequate or failures if we can't complete that rope climb or pull-up or we are still carrying "baby weight" or we can't fathom ever running or jumping rope again without peeing at 4 weeks or 4 months or 14 mos postpartum.
For those of us who thrive in our competitive gym junkie settings, taking weeks off can sound like personal hell. The thought was for me! I remember my doula telling me that the first two weeks postpartum should be as restful as possible. Lots of snuggling in bed and limited movement. I looked at her like she was crazy.? Snuggles sound nice, but like…
For many, crossfit or Zumba or Barre is not just about working out, it's also about the community.
In what may be one of the most magical and isolating and hellish times that is bringing home a newborn, being separated from our community is awful. Combine that need for support with the societal pressure to return to "normal," and just like that we rush back to the gym. This rushing can result in slower physical and emotional recovery. Cue injury and PPD.
So what do we do?
Moms: Take it slow. Slower than you think. Go for walks with friends. Do accessory work. Find a postpartum fitness class that focuses on building your core and floor (this does not mean sit ups for days). Talk to your coach about quality postpartum programming. Do NOT hurdle yourself into box jumps at 6weeks (hi. I did that. And I peed. because DUH LIZ)
Community: Support those mamas! Don't let them feel like the only way you care about them is if they are doing burpees next to you. Go on a walk or a hike. Do accessory work with them (you need it too, you know you do.) Bring them a meal. Just listen.