As most of you know, I gave birth to my beautiful boy, Ravi, five weeks ago. I was two weeks overdue and there was a fair amount of time between my waters breaking and when he actually arrived. My body was taxed beyond my imagination.
Recently during my post natal appointments I met with other midwives than my primary carer. When it came to discussing my health, without fail, every single one of them danced around the ‘make sure you’re not overdoing the exercise and diet’ issue – because they all assumed I was wanting to lose that dreaded ‘baby weight.’ And every single one of them got the response of ‘thank you, but I am a fitness instructor and an athlete, my goal right now is to allow my body to recover in order to return to training in optimum health. I am not concerned about my weight.’ [Insert awkward silence here]
For me, the concerns of the midwives indicated a bigger picture at hand here – that this is a conversation they feel obliged to have very frequently with new mothers. Why? Because we have been conditioned to fear the dreaded ‘baby weight,’ and our ability to look like we were never pregnant has become one of the key indicators of our overall performance as mothers. We have an array of products that erase the stretch marks, diets and workouts that help us lose weight fast, and images of new mums with ripped abs asking us ‘whats your excuse?’
I have no excuses. I refuse to excuse away my baby belly like its something i should be ashamed of. I don’t want to look like I’ve never had a baby, or discuss my body with a past and future focus, treating how it is now like some unpleasant ‘phase.’
Herein lies the difference in training from a position of fear as opposed love for yourself and your body. I don’t fear what my body looks like now. I love my body for what it is and what it has achieved. The way I see it, I wouldn’t finish an Ironman and wake up the next day saying ‘right, time to train really hard – we have weight to lose!’ What my body went through in the process of labour alone was physically and mentally as taxing as an Ironman, not to mention the 42 weeks I spent growing another human.
I also don’t fear that my body may not be exactly as it was pre-Ravi. I had just trained for and ran a half marathon before I fell pregnant and was in peak physical condition. My only goals are to train consistently and return to peak physical condition for race season – what my body will look like when this is achieved is anyone’s guess. I measure my achievements by split times and performance increases, not kilograms or centimetres.
By training from a position of love for my body, I will not only train and recover effectively, but my nutrition will also reflect my desire for performance and not weight loss. So you can keep you fast results diets, your ‘baby belly’ exercise regimes, and any other fear-based campaigns you have – my baby belly and I are quite happy on our journey of recovery, strength, and love.