As mothers, parents, we are always moving. We sit, stand, walk, run (sprint?), lift, carry, etc., ALL DAY LONG. To say we are not physically active would be absurd, we are constantly active. This ebbs and flows with the season of life and age of our children, but in the baby/toddler years… it is definitely true. We are movers. As such, we often don’t 1) give ourselves credit for any activity or capability we have and focus instead on how we look or feel about ourselves, and 2) we often don’t pay attention to the incorrect or inefficient ways in which we move that may be leading to back pain/neck pain/shoulder tightness/hip discomfort/etc. For now I am going to skip over that first one, we will dig deeper into that in another post. Back to number 2, so you have mommy pains? Well, you did grow a baby with your body. Then you brought that baby into the world, in whatever fashion got you both safely to the other side. CONGRATS!!! If you don’t already view that as training for and competing in an IronMan Triathlon, consider this your permission to do so. Let NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE, attempt to tell you otherwise. Now, unless you did continue being very active and engaged with physical activity that promoted strength, stability, and (safe) mobility… you are probably experiencing some physical changes in capability and function. This is completely normal, it is your body’s new normal. It should not be viewed as a problem, but a lesson. Get to know this new magnificent body, embrace the strengths and weaknesses. See the capability that remains, and the possibility for what more can be achieved.
Ok, we have addressed the fact that things may be different for you physically, now how do we get you back to a place of physical capability that you WANT to be at? In the beginning days it’s not about that, sleep, eating, and bonding with baby are all you should be focused on. That beautiful, strong, soft and comfortable mommy body is exactly what that amazing baby of yours needs. Love it. Take care of it. Don’t diet, eat real foods. Don’t fret about numbers on a scale, go for relaxing walks with that new bundle and your spouse/family member/best friend. Pay attention to any little kinks that may arise. Get a massage, stretch, move. Explore any new movements you find yourself doing. Do you gaze lovingly down at that new little nursling while you feed him/her? Every parent does. Is your neck stiff? Try a few neck rotations, don’t stay in one position for too long, lean back in that recliner to allow you to look more to the side and less down. How is that back holding up from all that carrying? Do you have a carrier? If not, consider getting one that evenly distributes your child’s weight across your shoulders and back… we lived in an Ergo Sport (I am very short, it’s the only one that fit), and a ring sling. How about lifting? This one is tricky. When they are little we often scoop them up to bring them close. But as babies get bigger we tend to use our hands more. Do you lower your center of gravity and lift closer to you? Do you find yourself using your arms more than your legs? Do you already have “mommy thumb”? Do your hands and wrists ache/throb? The video (Mom Lifts) is an example of this movement, the right and wrong version. Watch how my wrist moves more when I stay upright, versus lowering my body and using my legs… those big, strong muscles we all have… to lift those heavier growing loads. Is lowering difficult because your hips are tight? Do you find yourself limited by lacking ankle mobility? These are all areas you can easily work on at home with just a few minutes a day of movement.
That’s it. Capability is a choice. Your choice. We all start with it, and we can choose to grow or remain stagnant. You already chose to grow in a big way, you chose to become a parent. Even if you did not physically grow your child, you grew your ability to love and care for another human. You sacrifice sleep and time to care for this little human. We make these choices every day. It is time we choose to grow our physical capability. It is time we choose to be healthy, to be active, to be ready for whatever those fast-moving children throw our ways. Because, I don’t know about you, but I hope to be chasing after my grandkids one day. I am willing to bet that you are too.
**Over the next few weeks I will begin posting clips of tips and movements to address other areas of movement often needing work. If you’re not sure you are getting them, or would like more direction, send me a message. **