Ok. So here I am the other week in NYC meeting all these incredible women, moms, business owners, creatives, health providers, advocates and activist in the Modern Feminist movement.
The one who blew my mind most, well they all did, was an old client of mine who told me how her Pilates instructor changed her life and her body postpartum. The reason it blew my mind: I'm a runner, as is she, and her instructor is STRICT about no running until 4 months post birth to save the pelvic floor and back.
The only time I've ever NOT run for 4 months straight was never or before I was 16.
Hearing this from a Pilates trainer lead me back to a series of events in parking lots at trailheads in Bozeman, when I was a practicing Midwife. One memory in particular was bumping into a friend who had a 4th degree tear during childbirth, and at 3 weeks postpartum was high-tailing it up a steep trail to get her body back. My immediate reaction was frustration after we said our goodbyes...I knew too much about pelvic floor healing and I didn't say anything to her, because I knew she wouldn't hear me. Aside: I had this flash to her 60th birthday where she was considering getting a pelvic mesh hammock as one of her gifts.
Slow down in the immediate postpartum to preserve for better times later.
I have heard so many "Super-Momma" stories of athletes who are competitively racing shortly postpartum, or the mom who goes back to work at 3 weeks postpartum, or the actress-momma who's on Late Night at 3-weeks postpartum and how incredible this is...burns me up like rubber on a hot road. Let's just say it now, this is not normal and it's not good - for your body, psyche, soul, or mind. Our culture prides itself on go - go - go - rah rah and do it early women. I say we start a larger revolution today and learn to "just kick it" a little harder until the postpartum body is tone and ready to go.
The best part of my old clients story was that any time, I mean any time she'd run after her kid at the park, ANY sort of running in the first four months postpartum her husband would yell, "HEY! NO RUNNING!!!" Total pelvic floor preservation which ultimately lead her to "having the best body" she's ever had, and she is fit as a fiddle a year post-baby.
We are on the tip toes of a rebellion of women coming back and exercising their rights to take time to heal from childbirth, and to settle into their souls about becoming moms. We (the american culture - medical, social, and corporate) have to start owning and starting preparing for a new generation of women and men who will demand time off with compensation to take care of their growing families and to heal themselves. And I know you're saying, "but how does this pertain my body?" Oh, woman, in so many ways.
Part of our deficiency in the health care system is not knowing your neighborhood and the experts who live in it. My friend, in Brooklyn, who had her friend/Pilates instructor say, "No running! Not until 4 months or else," she is a lucky woman. If every Midwife/Doctor gave you a list of providers in your neighborhood they trust, oh woman we would have a lot less pelvic floor incontinence at 6 months or 60 years, as well as a very long list of other "complications" that occur in early postpartum years.
A lot of the moms who are regulars around here are athletic of one degree or another (I use that word loosely). Your task for the week is to find 2 instructors or trainers in your neighborhood who are specifically supporting postnatal/postpartum wellness and fitness. It's June and our bodies are coming out of hiding, so love up on it even more. I want you to schedule at least one session, or pay for a series of classes at their studio. **If you don't know or trust anyone in your hood, ask a friend or a local mom shop for a referral.
I have found that trainers who specifically work with women postpartum deeply concentrate on bringing the whole body back together so you can function, highly. More than ever, I have been considering finding a studio or trainer that can help me as I continue on my training for a 100 Miler in August and another winter of skiing (and maybe my first 50K ski race). I'm so freaking independent that I usually try to do this stuff on my own, but I guess I've learned more as I coach women that I might need my own mojo-fitness coach.
In the comments, tell me what's the one thing about your body that's blown your mind since having your kids? Totally curious. Also, if you have a trainer/instructor you love in your city/town, please leave their name and location of this provider in the comments. Let's build a resource list for other's out there and you.
Reading this today and you're a runner or lover of physical activity? Do your momma-friends a favor and forward this post to her. Tell her to hold off of any "running" for the few months postpartum and find a trainer/instructor who will help her get centered physically before she's racing again. #savethepelvicfloor
After all of this education on the pelvic floor, in a short amount of time and as a long-time, long-distance runner with a few drips here and there, I got my mind blown. The things we're not told.
So go forth, get your package tight and have a super week! Big Love and hugs.