Postpartum Rest: Not in Jest - FitMama

Postpartum Rest: Not in Jest

Postpartum Rest: Not in Jest


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I am sure you were told by your doctor or midwife after you had a baby that you “should rest.”

How did that go for you? REALLY, how did it go? Did you take that advice seriously? I know initially I didn’t. Truthfully, I didn’t know how.

I didn’t really realize at the time how important it was. I just wanted to get on with things.

But let me tell you…it IS very important! We are so used to doing things as women, wives and moms, and taking care of everything that we can easily forget – we are human beings, not human doings, we don’t need to always be do do doing!

I am here to remind you why exactly it’s so important.

Why is it so important to rest after we have a baby? And I don’t mean just take a couple of days off. I mean like really really rest. Like enter a resting phase that lasts 2-4 months. Yes! it’s possible. It’s wise and yes, you can do it.

Trust me, I understand, we are so excited after we have a baby! Yeah, maybe we are tired and up all night, but we also are often so fired up. We think about all the things we want to do with our bodies that we haven’t been able to do for a while because we had a baby inside. We want to get back in action. I totally get it.

That being said, there is a time and a place for being active and there is a time and a place for rest. The key time for rest is in that first 8 – 10 weeks after you have your baby. That is a very vital time when your body is naturally healing. There is a lot of stuff going on hormonally, physiologically, neurologically, emotionally, spiritually, physically and more. Everything is changing, moving, adapting. It’s really important for us to take the time for our bodies to heal and rehabilitate naturally. That’s where rest comes in. It’s absolutely vital.

Sometimes we don’t want to, but it’s a key to The FitMama Way.

This time is needed for rehabilitation and restoration of the deep inner core, as well as for the healing of the very common diastasis recti (thinning of linea alba and separation of your abs) which needs this time of rest (lessened intra-abdominal pressure postpartum) so it can naturally come back together and heal up. Getting back into those “ab workouts” will do exactly the opposite of what you want when healing your core from pregnancy and birth.

There are many things we can to accelerate the healing process, but most of the time we do things that decelerate the healing process. We take steps back in our healing because we want to do so much, entertain, nurture others. We think we need and want to do it all, and we feel energized.

We need take this energy use it to heal up. Every time you stand up: downward pressure is placed on the pelvic floor. Each time you climb the stairs, it splits the pelvic floor, causing those muscles to have to contract and work in a way they may not be yet ready for, due to the natural changes that went on with pregnancy and traumas of childbirth.

 

I am always encouraging FitMamas to “Stay flat for five.” Stay on one level for five days. Take the escalator down at the hospital. Only climbing stairs once a day at maximum. Go downstairs for the day if you must, or stay in bed all day.

 

I really want you to think of it as a three step process. A lot of us don’t know how to rest. We have to learn these tools. It doesn’t always come naturally.

You may think, oh it’s not a big deal, I’m not going to the gym. This is not what I am talking about though. You are going up and down stairs, getting people drinks, cooking people food, taking care of your baby and other kids, doing laundry or standing and doing dishes…these things are not considered rest!

 

No!!! Those are activities of daily living that yes, we must do. But in the first 5-10 days postpartum, it is a time for those you love to step up and allow your pelvic floor to heal – so that you can once again get back to doing all the things you love in life. Those who love you will understand!

 

  1. The first step to rest is ACCEPTANCE – accept the situation at hand. Does it mean that you are going to be resting forever? Unfortunately no 🙂 Does it mean that you’ll never get back to the things you want to do? No! It just means that this is time that you are accepting a new normal for you. Your body is never the same after you have a baby. Once you are postpartum you are always postpartum. And there are a lot of things you can do in terms of retraining and rehabbing that will make you stronger than ever before. It’s about understanding that at this point, the first 8 – 10 weeks ACCEPTANCE of your situation as your current phase is part of the game plan.
  2. The second step is ASKING. Once we have accepted that this is your new normal for now, the second step is asking for help. I know right?! It’s difficult for us. We want to be able to do everything ourselves. We want to go out and put on our super hero capes and make sure everything is perfect, and take care of everyone else along the way. There is no perfection. If you are striving for perfection, especially with a newborn, it’s going to come back at you in a very negative way. Thinking about “what can I not do myself that I can ask for help with?” People want to help you. They really do. Ask them.
  3. Step 3 is ALLOW. Allowing that time, that first 8-10 weeks or that first 6-12 months and realizing that these are key periods of time where our body is naturally rehabbing and restoring but it’s never going to be able to do so fully unless you allow it to. Allowing that time for you to adjust and your family to adjust, and your body to adjust is vital and it requires rest.

Don’t worry FitMama, there will be plenty of time to be running all over the place again!

Who do you know that is pregnant and could benefit from this information? Please share now!

Did you take the time to rest after you had a baby? Was it or is it hard for you to rest?

Comment below and join the conversation in the FitMama Facebook Support Group!

See you online,

Hugs,

Love Jen

 


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