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Embracing Our Post-Baby Bodies

Note from GGS: Our wonderful pre and post-natal training expert Jessie Mundell has a very special treat for us today.  Amazing stories and pictures of several of her clients embracing and loving their post-baby bodies.  Enjoy!

 

“I feel stronger now than I ever have in my life, because as a mother I have been weaker and more vulnerable than ever before.” — Jillian

“I came to love my body more wholly while I was pregnant, but didn’t truly appreciate it until after my son was born. I feel stronger now than I ever have in my life, because as a mother I have been weaker and more vulnerable than ever before. I know my power because I know my weaknesses.

post-baby-body-jillian-350x375I am so strong. I had a pretty traumatic delivery and suffered from severe postpartum depression, during which time I had zero self-love in spite of all the incredible things I was doing. I had very little support with my newborn and felt hopeless and helpless to my sweet child’s needs, let alone my own.

I had a hard time breast feeding and resented my body for not being more capable. I wanted to lose extra pounds that weren’t really there, even though my stress levels were causing me to lose what little strength I had left (and really needed at the time).

I slowly and steadily learned how to ask for help, crawled out of the dark hole I was in, and started to take better care of myself. As this happened, I finally started to enjoy being a mother, and get what I had heard other moms talking about. I was finally feeling the bliss of being in love with my baby.

It was long, it was hard, I still have bad days, but I work hard every day to feel happy, feel strong, be the best me & mom I can be, and love my body. Body love is a big part of self love, and I’m getting better at both every day.

I’ve lifted heavier weights before, and run longer distances, I’ve been bendier and more “zen”, but never after consecutive sleepless nights, with engorged breasts, aching insides, and a screaming (and beautiful) baby demanding every thought from my mind and move of my body.

I am stronger, happier, and healthier than I ever have been before—and I know it only gets better from here.”

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“I am a firm believer in embracing those crucial moments in life when you’re given the opportunity to take stock and make positive and lasting changes to your life.” — Helen

“I think really, it’s all about your attitude. While I am certainly not an advocate or roaming the land with rose coloured glasses on, I am a firm believer in embracing those crucial moments in life when you’re given the opportunity to take stock and make positive and lasting changes to your life.

Pregnancy is a pretty opportune time to start thinking this way, considering you’re growing a tiny human in your body (!) and are made keenly aware of changes both in mind and body, from Day One. It’s kind of a big deal.

post-baby-body-helens-baby-350x375Joining a prenatal workout class with fellow moms-to-be was the single best thing I did to support my pregnancy. Not only did I benefit physically, but it made me really think about my body—not in the sense of what I wanted to change or didn’t like, but rather what my body was capable of, and what it could be capable of in the future.

Whenever anyone says ‘you look good…you look glowing…motherhood agrees with you’ I always reply with ‘Thanks! I feel good.’ Which, I think, is what it’s all about. I don’t like my stretch marks, and won’t be jumping on the ‘wear them like tiger stripes…rawr!’ bandwagon any time soon. But I do love the fact that I can carry around an active 13-pound little guy all day without getting sore.

I love the thought that I’ll be able to keep up with him when he starts to crawl, walk and run. But most importantly, I love that he will grow up seeing his parents do those things, and an active lifestyle will be second nature to him.

Four months into motherhood…I do chest lifts with the baby! Squats while doing (endless) laundry! Planks during tummy-time! Kettlebell carseat carries and Jolly Jumper family dance parties. And it works for me. I feel great.”

“These babies have made a permanent mark on the canvas that is our bodies—and it tells an incredible story that we should be proud of.” — Constance

Constance-Baby-348x500“I love my postpartum body. Sure, I’m a little softer in my tummy, my hips are a little wider, and I have a scar from my C-section; but for the first time in my life I’m not obsessing over what my body looks like because, frankly, it is amazing!

My body created, nurtured, and gave birth to an astonishing human being and the changes to my body are evidence of that great gift.

In the museum world, there have been debates about whether famous works of art should be restored after they have been vandalized or damaged. One perspective is that the ‘imperfections’ become part of the history of the piece and therefore should be retained. This is a great concept for the postpartum body.

These babies have made a permanent mark on the canvases that are our bodies, and they tell incredible stories that we should be proud of. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being a strong mama. In fact, my favorite part of my postpartum body are my arms. They are strong from carrying around my growing girl, and I love that!”

A C-Section Story

“Scars are a permanent souvenir of a brief moment in time. I see my C Section scar as a mommy badge that many women have a love/hate relationship with.

post-baby-body-kristen-350x375Either way, this scar, like any other physical scar, means a long road to recovery. Through proper training, patience, and constant positive affirmations (from myself and my husband), I have nothing but love for my post-baby body and the C-section scar that comes with it.”

“…being strong helped with all the aches and pains of pregnancy.” — Kristen

“The way I thought about working out changed once I got pregnant. Before baby, it was about how I looked; being healthy was just an added bonus.

Once I got pregnant, it changed the way I thought about fitness and nutrition. I wanted to eat more natural, healthy foods to make sure my baby was getting the best nutrition he could. Then, I met Jessie and started strength training and realized being strong helped with all the aches and pains of pregnancy and would help with labour and delivery and recovering faster postnatally.

Now I train so I can be strong and healthy; how I look is just the added bonus.”

“Yet sadly, this body hasn’t always been loved…and I’ve tried to make it something it’s not.” — Jen

post-baby-body-jen-293x375“I love my body. I absolutely love it.

This body has been a competitive athlete. This body has traveled.  This body has enabled me to work many jobs and live in different countries.

It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s given life, comfort and security. It allows me to run, crawl, play, dance and love.

Yet sadly, this body hasn’t always been loved, and I’ve tried to make it something it’s not. I’ve abused it in hopes of being prettier, sexier, skinnier.

Fact is, this is the only body I’ve got. This is my body. And for the first time in my life, I can say that I accept me. I love me.”

“My postpartum body is beautiful, strong and accomplished.” — Heather

post-baby-body-heather-450x338“My daughter has taught me to love myself, and I truly love all of me now. My body miraculously created her, and I am in awe of what it made.

I may have a few stretch marks on “the feeders” and my back hurts sometimes, but it is all worth it. I would not trade for any other body. My postpartum body is beautiful, strong and accomplished. I have never felt so fulfilled.”

“This body has purpose and power.” — Cori

“My body is amazing.

post-baby-body-cori-350x375I have always been comfortable in my own skin. Now, there is a new and improved me. Since experiencing pregnancy, delivering my baby, and growing, nurturing and loving my baby, I am simply amazed at what my body can do. This body is deeply and profoundly connected to itself. This body has purpose and power. It can create and sustain a life. It can instinctively comfort and love. It knows what to do.

I used to pride myself in what I could do at the gym—getting stronger, being faster, lifting heavier. It gave me great satisfaction and drove me to work harder. I still pride myself in what I can physically do, but this strength means something more to me. I am a strong mama to my child. There is a new, different, welcome tenderness to my heart and body.

Every wrinkle and dimple is a lovely reminder of how hard we worked together, of our time as one. I wouldn’t change a thing. My stomach has a few wrinkles and a gooey spot. My bum jiggles. That’s ok! I am still a strong, fit woman. I am just beginning to understand what my body is capable of. I love and respect this body. I am proud. This body is truly amazing.”

“I was unsure that it would even return to its ‘normal’ state.” — Melissa

“It took a little while to enjoy the changes that my body was going through during the many stages of pregnancy. I was unsure that it would ever return to its “normal” state, although towards the end of my pregnancy I started to embrace the bulge and thought of it as a badge of honour. After all, I was creating another life!

post-baby-body-melissa-450x338Pre-pregnancy I was fairly petite, I worked out about three times a week, and ran about 20 kilometers a week. During pregnancy I continued my efforts, although I found it challenging to keep up the momentum for certain activities, such as running. Joining a prenatal strength training class was great for learning new exercises that I could do successfully and safely while being in my second and third trimester of pregnancy.

It kept my motivation up to keep working out even when I really didn’t feel like it! I mean, honestly, I was exhausted! The last thing that I wanted to do was work out.

I am now one month postpartum, and I have to say I am surprised at how quickly my body bounced back. It is certainly not the ‘same’ as pre-pregnancy, although considering the changes that my body went through for nine months, it is pretty awesome!

It is a little loose in some spots, and there are still a few pounds to be shed, but I can honestly say that it is all good. The hard work during pregnancy and keeping a healthy lifestyle certainly paid off and contributed to the quick rebound. I still have some work to do, but I am looking forward to getting back at it and seeing what my postpartum body is capable of!”

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these beautiful women’s stories. 

Pssst… and if you’re struggling with body embracement, check out GGS Co-Founder Molly Galbraith’s Love Your Body Challenge here!

Exercises To Do And Avoid During And After Pregnancy

There are so many myths about exercising during and after pregnancy, it can be hard to know if you’re doing the “right” thing. Our education materials are carefully vetted by OB/GYNs, PhDs, Registered Dietitians, Women’s Health Physiotherapists, and Pre and Postnatal Exercise Experts, and we have put together this FREE handbook where you’ll learn:

  • The best exercises to do during and after pregnancy
  • Exercises to avoid during and after pregnancy

Whether you’re a mom (or a mom-to-be), or a trainer (who may also be a mom), we have you covered. Select from these options below to receive your free handbook to help you or your clients choose the right exercises for healthy moms and healthy babies.

1. Select Your Handbook
2. Enter Your Information
About The Author: Jessie Mundell

Jessie Mundell is a Girls Gone Strong Strongest You Coach, a certified kinesiologist and a Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach, as well as an author and mother. She specializes in pre and post-natal exercise and corrective exercise. Learn more about Jessie on her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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