Expectations for Postpartum Life as a Mom
Before we have kids, we tend to have unrealistic views and goals for our postpartum life. I love remembering back to right before I had my daughter and the goals I set for myself. I had always been a runner; some would say it was sort of my life. So, being that I had no realistic idea of what my postpartum life would be like, I decided I was going to run a half marathon three months after giving birth.
All the moms out there are cracking up reading this and I laugh hysterically when I think back to it. I figured, baby would come out and then I would have three months to train. Easy. No big deal. Don’t mind the fact that I just pushed a human out of my body, have stitches everywhere, have huge milk filled breasts, oh and a newborn to take care of. With that and the realization that my body is completely different than before I had kids, my goals changed and I ran that exact same half marathon but a year later.
I often hear soon-to-be moms setting completely unrealistic goals like, “I am going to be back into my pre-pregnancy jeans by my 6 week check-up!" "Losing the baby weight is going to be a breeze! I heard all you have to do is breastfeed!” No. No. No. I hate hearing this. It is quite possibly the worst thing you can say around me. After it is said and done, when the baby is here and moms aren’t able to accomplish their unrealistic goals, they feel like a failure.
- You just had a baby, cut yourself a break. It is important to be active and healthy but more important to know that it is hard and it will take time. And yes, breastfeeding can lead to weight loss in some women, but in other women it does not. So, do not have that expectation. I have seen far too many moms crushed at the fact that the weight did not fall off simply from breastfeeding.
- Be easy on yourself! Your body is healing, you are taking care of a newborn, and you are getting used to motherhood. All of these things take time, energy, and patience. Know that you CAN accomplish your goals but it might take longer than you had originally expected. It's ok and completely reasonable.
- Know that you are not a failure. Even if it takes you years to reach your goals or if it is just something that doesn’t fit in your life anymore, you are not a failure. It means that things changed for you and that is totally normal, realistic and understandable.
Our lives change when we have babies. Our bodies change when we have babies. Shouldn’t we have the expectation that our goals and what it takes to achieve them would change too? Motherhood is hard. Set goals but make sure to be easy on yourself and know that in the world of motherhood, things change constantly. Always remember that you are doing great and you are not alone, we are all in this crazy mom life together.
By Alexa Hasman, Owner & Instructor of Baby Boot Camp Portland (NW & SW), OR