Facebook regularly reminds me how my last maternity leave went. I was totally that annoying person who worked out daily and posted about it on social media. I am not saying that I shouldn't have worked out or talked about it, but I put a ton of pressure on myself to lose my baby weight, which wasn't healthy at all. This time around, I hear these sentiments everywhere, from friends, the media, and articles on the internet. I have a few things I would like to say to anyone who suggests I work out post-baby, mainly along the lines of, "Please don't tell me what I can or should want to do right now."
For me, each of my pregnancies has been different in terms of my health, complications, recovery time, and also in terms of how much weight I gained and how quickly I was able to get "back into shape" after my babies were born. For the record, by "back into shape" I mean "a shape," because honestly, my body will never be the same shape it was before pregnancy, no matter how many miles I run or push-ups I do. I didn't always feel that way, though. In fact, it's taken me eight years and three pregnancies to be OK with the fact that my body will never be what it was pre-babies.
I realized that I need to seriously cut myself some slack. Pregnancy is a big deal. I freaking grew a human in my body. That's badass by itself, no matter how much weight I gained, how quickly I am able to lose it, or even if I don't ever work out again. Pregnancy is also incredibly really hard on your body, and rarely goes as planned. I went into my last pregnancy in the best shape of my life. I had just completed an intense yoga teacher training program and had trained for and run a full marathon two weeks before I conceived. I was super badass. Then, I had pregnancy complications and "life" complications. I am still badass, but working out has been impossible.
So, please don't be offended if I don't appreciate your unsolicited comments about my postpartum body or my work out plans, because I'm recovering from freaking childbirth. In fact, I may just respond in one of the following ways:
"Mind Your Own Business"
That's right. My body and work out plans, goals, successes, and failures are none of your business. I don't owe you a response and you shouldn't offer your opinion.
Did you seriously just say that? It sounds like you may be concern trolling. Why not worry about your own life and health? You aren't actually saying that to be kind, right? Like, we can at least just be honest with ourselves.
"I Just Grew A Human"
Seriously. A human. In my freaking body. Then I pushed him out of my vagina. I deserve to heal and recover at my own pace. That's not an "excuse," it's a reality.
"I Am Still Hurting"
You have no idea how I feel, and you absolutely have no idea how much it hurts me, as an athlete and fitness professional, to be "benched" after birth only to have someone tell me what they think I should be doing. I want to run so badly it hurts, but if I ignore my doctor and physical therapist, I may get injured and may very well never run again.
"I Am Doing My Best"
I am literally doing my best. Just a month ago I needed a freaking walker to get around my living room. I realize that my situation was extreme, but my point is that life is relative, all bodies and pregnancies are different, and only I can know what I am capable of. I am doing my best.
"I'm Under Enough Pressure As It Is"
I already feel like I am weeks behind where I should be in my recovery and weight loss. Anything you say about it I've already said to myself, and probably worse, because I am my worst critic.
"Why Do You Care?"
Seriously, I really want to know. I know you may think you are just making conversation. In that case, ask me how I am feeling or ask me questions about my baby. If, on the other hand, you are trying to motivate or encourage me, that's not the way to do it.
Just, you know, don't. I don't want or need your advice. If and when I do, I'll ask. Until then, stop.
"Are You Volunteering To Babysit?"
Of course, when I do feel up to working out, you are totally going to babysit for free, right? I mean, why else do you keep talking about it?
I may be taking things slow and listening to my body right now, but once I get back to my normal routine I am going to run circles around all of the haters. Because slow, steady, and at your own pace is the best way to recover from childbirth, and anything, really. I will be sure to wave when I pass you on my way to the finish line.