Bittersweet Burning

Just like I do with my clients, I must acknowledge my own small victories in my postnatal recovery program. I woke up this morning feeling like my core is the tightest that it’s been since I had Andromeda. The tightness feels differently than before pregnancy. Scar tissue under the skin and even way below the visible scar along the public bone is itchy and burns. The fascia that my abdominal muscles are held together with is pulling tighter as my muscles begin to really get stronger. This same fascial network is made up of scar imprints of the trauma from the lifesaving major abdominal surgery. My lower core muscles were literally severed so that I could deliver my sweet baby girl. The burning and itching is so bittersweet, and so it prompted this blog entry.

My core was fit even during pregnancy. Not 6 pack fit at the end, but I was working out up until I had her. I was training myself for the imminent birthing marathon. If you know me personally, you know that I had set myself up with a very fit pregnancy and for natural birth. That all changed the day I had my precious little girl. I surrendered myself in ways I wasn’t prepared for. I was prepared to surrender to the pain and accepting of the process, not the cut across my core to deliver my baby.

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My lifesaving scar 6 weeks postpartum.

My overall recovery has been a serious Mind-Body-Soul rebalancing process this past year. For those who can relate to me, an unplanned emergency cesarean section can not only be detrimental to the body but also your spirit. You were planning and prepared to do it naturally, having an ideal image of how it would be like but all that was “taken away” from you. It’s also an intricate bodily healing process. Holding your baby to feed was painful, getting up in the night to attend to her/him hurt. Those who have had this lifesaving procedure can understand the emotional processes and how long it can be until your body begins to “bounce back”.

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My festie gypsy alter ego at LIB (3 mo), Woogie Weekend (4.5 mo), Symbiosis (6 mo) and Youtopia (7.5 mo).

I did all the prenatal workouts, the yoga, walking. The activity kept my weight in check (until the last month when my water weight skyrocketed), and I never had any leaking because of pelvic floor weakness. Being a fit pregnant lady is the key to any healing processes you must go through after child birth. When you have a C-Section It’s just takes a lot longer to do what you used to, walk as fast as you did while pregnant, or run. For me I couldn’t even lift my legs in an L sit like I used to. I would feel tugging in my core with every step I took while pushing a stroller. Acrobatics had to go on the back burner. Because my activity plummeted after having my babe, I gained weight. I have always been an emotional eater, so chocolate was making me feel better… Emotionally. I allowed myself go through this recovery mentally and spiritually. I truly began to feel the best when I began to hike again and be around my supportive family of festie and bestie friends. My pooch of a stomach was never judged during the summer. Then again, I did opt for a 1 piece this past summer for the first time ever. I have been honest about how I was a work in progress to get my body back in shape. I finally admitted to myself that I was emotionally eating and that was the first step to breaking my chocolate addiction.

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Fish Canyon Narrows 8 weeks postpartum and my first hike after delivery. We hiked an easy 6-7 miles and I was sore for 3 days! This was the beginning.
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Andromeda’s first overnight backpacking trip. She was 4 month old in her baby backpack along with overnight supplies. We hiked about 5 miles in and out over the weekend.
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This was Mothers Day on top of Mt. Baldy 10,064ft. Her daddy hiked her up to the top as I followed. I was almost 5mo postpartum.
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Mt Baldy on Father’s Day. 2nd hike up with the babe on her daddy’s back. I felt victorious! almost 6 months postpartum.

The hardest hike over the summer was on 4th of July weekend up near Bishop. We hiked 6 miles up to the base of a glacier. We spent 2 nights in the wilderness. Andi was about 6.5 mo old. She had a great time as I battled altitude sickness and fatigue. But we did it with smiles.

 

So back to my small victories, because I owe it to myself. I have lost over half the weight I had gained pre and postpartum. My goal weight is about 15lbs away. I’ve been feeling good in my M sized clothes again, and I am continuously working on my core strength. Compared to 6 months ago, I do not feel that lifting my legs for an L sit hurts. I can invert again and my handstands are getting stronger. I wake up after a day that I worked out hard, and see definition coming back to my core. My glutes are getting stronger as I continue to increase muscle mass to increase my metabolism. I swim 2 times a week with my client that keeps my heart rate up that also increases my metabolism. I just started religiously drinking green tea again to help me sustain my metabolism and curve unnecessary food cravings.

Diet is about 75-80% component to losing weight. Bad habits are diminishing one by one each week. I’m beginning to rev up my nutritional program so that I can really begin to see the last 15lbs melt off. I’m replacing questionable foods with whole foods so I can feel good about sharing with my Andromeda. When I have to eat out, I make sure to pick something off the menu that is green with proteins like chicken or fish. Unfortunately I am not be vegan because of allergies, but I’m beginning to make my body more alkaline like I’ve have before. My body is clearing out any free radicals I have accumulated over the year from bad food, and I’m beginning to feel like my old self again.

Being fit isn’t just a personal judgment of your body. It really is a state of mind and acceptance or realization of who you are. I might of felt physically unfit during the first the first portion of my postnatal recovery, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working on others ways of being fit. I had to learn how to be strong in others ways like being a strong mother to my beautiful daughter. I had to mentally get fit to deal with my emotions that caused me to overeat. I had to spiritually get fit as I had to accept myself for who I’ve become after my birthing experience. This process was all necessary to keep my vibrations high for my daughter and family. I’ve felt I weathered the emotional storm. I am emerging stronger and more fit than before. Being able to move in ways I had before pregnancy makes me feel so accomplished.

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I’m flexing my core in the first 2 pictures, and releasing in the last. I am 11 mo postpartum and I am happy about my progress. I started carrying my babe in her ergo carrier more as well as incorporate, swimming, strength training, and nutrition to get my core back to optimal functioning. Yay for an awesome C section recovery!

Affirmation comes in the most interesting of ways and in different forms. Earlier this week I took Andromeda to gymnastics and got to talking to the head coach. During the brief moment we had exchanged C-Section experiences. I had told her that right before I got pregnant I was learning how to play on the silks and the lyra at festivals. I told her how strong I had once became and maintained strength throughout my pregnancy. Right away she related with me as she told me that she couldn’t even invert on the silks after having a C-section. Something she’s been doing comfortably for a major potion of her life but because her muscles were severed and she couldn’t do any of it during her recovery period. She told me that it had been almost 2 years and she’s feeling like her old self again with her abilities. I felt myself connect with her, and felt relief that I was not the only person I knew that had a recovery story similar to me. This professional acrobatic, someone who ran a circus of other aerial artists, said I will be back to how I was soon enough.

So even though it has been a tough year balancing my Mind-Body-Soul, I do feel stronger. The missing component of extreme exercises and tough workouts, was the key to my overall happiness. It felt like torture when my bodies abilities were limited as I had to confront my other weaknesses. Now that I am past that phase I will just keep on doing what I love. Because of my passion to move and to increase my physical abilities I have recovered quicker. I hope that this inspires those who have gone through a tough postpartum journey, physically, mentally, or spiritually to continue to do what drives you to be your highest self.

How did you deliver your baby? What were some personal and emotional battles you have overcame as a new mother? What are you doing now to keep up your fitness, Mind-Body-Soul? 

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