Babies Change your Body. No Seriously. Babies CHANGE your body.

Did you know that, while pregnant, you quite literally have the DNA of your unborn baby swirling around in your blood stream?

Since having my baby, my already-complicated relationship with my body has changed. In most ways, I’m incredibly impressed with it. I made a baby. I made a BABY. A whole other person. And she’s awesome.

But in other ways, 20 months later, I’m still having trouble adjusting. The aches and pains ever present before pregnancy were amplified. My low back, my nemesis before I made that amazing baby, decided that it had done enough work for this lifetime. It was taking early retirement. My new baby had other ideas and needed a mom with a functioning back.

Enter Pilates; my body savior since college. I decided my abs were just weak. And flabby! Surely this was the cause of my geriatric spine issues?! So I diligently began working myself out three times a week, but mostly managed to irritate my already angry lumbar spine.

So I lost weight. I figured that in addition to ditching the extra flab on my stomach that this might help my back. No dice. Though I must admit that over the year of weight loss, my back did get marginally better. But I couldn’t reconcile my past body with my new one. For starters, I’d never had to WORK at losing weight before. This time I went Vegan. Second, I’d had periods of very intense back pain in my past, but never with such consistency. Every single time I bent over, when I reached my waist bending, I fell until my hips were able to take over. And every single time I rolled up from bending, I had to climb or cry my way back up. Third, I’d always been more active. I’d always danced on top of my Pilates. Taking care of a baby, while exhausting, was not the same as dancing four hours or more a day. A new level of body displeasure began to settle on my shoulders.

So I began taking Pilates regularly with someone who wasn’t me teaching me. Slowly, ever so slowly, my body began to accept exercises it used to love. I realized that I had been asking my post-baby body to function just like my pre-baby body. And that isn’t fair. I was trying to run before I could even crawl. I tried to do advanced system before I could even roll up. I saw a chiropractor whose work got me out of 75% of my pain. But that last 25% was standing in the way of my fitness. And I wanted it back. Pilates, slower and more modified than I teach most of my clients, followed.

I grew stronger, little by little. My compassion for clients who are having trouble connecting to their Powerhouse grew stronger too. My understanding of the roadblocks people can face with their Pilates work was broader. I relearned Pilates with a new body, the amazing beautiful baby making body that I have now. So in a way I’m glad that it was so hard to climb out of the pit that pregnancy left me in. It has made me a better teacher.

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2 thoughts on “Babies Change your Body. No Seriously. Babies CHANGE your body.

  1. […] few weeks ago Rebecca Garrison, a fellow Walnut Hill alumna, made a blog post about how having a baby changes your body. And it really made me […]

    • Thanks Meg! It amazing how some women, those lucky, beautiful, strong women, are able to bake a baby for nine months, and then get back to full time rehearsal two weeks later. I’m thinking of course of my friend and beautiful mother of two Callie Chapmen. Someone women can do that, their bodies seem to magically create this other creature and then are seemingly fine in what I consider no time. Was Callie fine? I’m not sure, you’d really have to ask Callie. But SHE was able to get bak to rehearsal in two weeks. But this is where it is oh soooooo important to remember, our bodies are DIFFERENT. You live in your body, and I live in mine. And they all have different needs on different days. I was lucky enough to find and compassionate and amazing mentor who helped nurse me back to my health and made me STOP and move on to something else when I started to do exercises that irritated my back. On my own I do exactly what you do: I think I SHOULD be able to do this! This was never hard, I’m not working hard enough. Or alternatively: God this is impossible. I’ll never get there. My body is gone and I should just give it a nice funeral. I’m happy to report that since posting this, my body is better. It might not look much different on the outside but inside it feels better. Strong, fluid, and amazing. I can once again get my legs to 45 degrees or below and hold my pelvis strong and steady. I haven’t been able to do that for almost two years. I can do pull ups on the wunda chair one armed. Not well but I can do them and not be in pain.

      I get so angry at women who had an easy time bouncing back from their pregnancies and then advocate that a woman is lazy if she doesn’t lose her baby weight in five weeks. (Heidi Klum!) That skinny *&^$# has no clue because it WASNT hard for her. Does that mean that we SHOULD NOT try to reclaim our bodies? NO. But it does mean that you have to let this new body be the BEST body it can be and stop expecting it to look feel and behave like the old one. For instance, I’ve gained a solid 4 inches that hasn’t gone anywhere on my once 24 inch waist. But my thighs skinnier and more importantly better functioning than they were pre-pregnancy. I can find my butt in a way not possible before that baby was in there. Sex? I was lucky; for me it’s better. My arms can now toss around a near two year old with ease. So: no better, no worse. Different. Keep getting to know your new body and reclaim your Mind/Body connection!

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