Last month, I began writing about my views on the current trend of "Mommy Makeovers". This is a topic close to me, as a 30-something mother of two surrounded by friends and sisters who are in the same stage of life.
My strong belief is that, while physical appearance is important, the outward is firmly rooted in what comes from within. So you've heard my perspective on this; let's hear from some others on the "frontlines": Moms who continually amaze me with their beauty---spiritual, emotional and, yes, physical. I asked some of my peers to give us one or two "pearls" discovered on each of their post-partum paths. Here is what they had to say:
"I believe that if you exercise during your pregnancy, even if it is only a 10 minute walk everyday, then exercising post pregnancy will be much easier and you can start sooner. Set realistic goals for yourself and know what works for your body. Some women get maximum results from yoga while others (like myself) feel the burn from running. Also be aware of the fact that the majority of women will never get back their pre pregnancy bodies so it is useless to stress yourself out trying."
-JM, retired teacher and mother of 2
"I think the most motivating thing for me after both births was to exercise in order to beat post-partum [depression] and to help pass the time (the solitary days seemed to go on forever.) It didn't matter to me what the weather was like, rain or snow I bundled up the kids and got them out in the stroller. The fresh air was great for both of us. I gradually built up a brisk pace walk and then a jog became a run. The weight dropped off of me easily with both kids as a result of eating smart, nursing and exercising. Although nursing made me more hungry than I have ever been I craved "good for you foods". Even on days when I was exhausted I knew getting outside would leave me feeling invigorated and with a more positive mental outlook on trying hours that would surely lie ahead during the evening hours. It was not about vanity, it was about feeling good mentally and physically. I would not take the kids to a daycare at the gym for fear of germs until they were three months old so a track, a trail, a park or my neighborhood was the "gym" for me."
-LP, Spinning instructor and mother of 2
"My advice is to be patience. Diets did not work for me; I needed to let my body seek its own level and it did on its own. It ALWAYS took me a full year to get back to normal."
-WW, marketing executive and mother of 3
"Make time for yourself a priority - take the kids to school and put the baby down for a nap and forget about the laundry, dishes, email, etc (that will always be there) and exercise. You will feel better doing those things if you have just taken 45 - 60 minutes for you. And variety is a must: change it up and try new ways to be active. Don't feel like it has to be done all at once. 2-3 bouts of exercise throughout the day may be all that will fit in the schedule."
-HW, fitness instructor, health editor, and mother of 2
"I believe that the key is BALANCE. A balance between being a mother and yourself, a balance between a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercising and just letting it go from time to time. A balance from listening to your heart and your head. A balance from setting realistic expectations and none at all. Setting your priorities. A balance between your child(ren), yourself, husband, friends, family, work, housework, spiritual life, shopping, cleaning, etc. Look inside and see what makes you tick...and follow through.
A child is an amazing gift and the biggest responsibility. Nurture yourself. Balance to the best of your abilities. It is a holistic approach!"
-JS, master of counseling and family therapy candidate, Spinning instructor and mother of 3
"I enjoy a small amount of scheduled time on a weekly basis either alone with my thoughts and hobbies, or sharing time with a close friend. This helps me maintain an identity outside of mothering so I can grow and evolve as a person that will one day not be constantly packing carry-alls, laundering bed sheets, and wiping bottoms."
-AT, physician and mother of 2
"The thing that made me feel better while in the process of losing baby weight was buying some new clothes (when the weight was plateauing) instead of wearing the either too tight or too loose clothes. I looked a lot cuter in the clothes that fit (and I felt thinner too)!"
-PS, pediatric occupational therapist, author, and mother of 4
In all of our quests for health and happiness, a wide circle of support is invaluable. Reaching out to others and engaging them in your personal program of fitness can be helpful in many ways: motivating you to make positive changes, encouraging you to stick with these changes, and giving you much-needed boosts along the way. We are not in this by ourselves.
One of the most important things to remember as you strive to lose weight or take steps at any stage to feel/look better: this is a continuous journey. There is no end-point. To live your very best life, you must prioritize healthful and life-enhancing habits, allowing for adjustments as you navigate the ever present waters of change.
Yours in the journey,
Published On: October 15, 2007