Saturday, January 31, 2015

Birth, Baby, Body

Here is a copy of my article that recently featured in PABC's Directions  Magazine.  With no e-copies, I decided to do a repost for people to read.  

"Birth, baby, body"

During a recent PABC course, I finally came up with the title of the article I was wanting to put together.  Don't you love it when things just fall into place?

If you read no farther, I want you to know this.  When a woman gives birth to a child, what follows is a tremendous period of change.  It isn't just sleepless nights, blurry days, aching body parts, diapers, and constant worry that you may not be doing the right thing for your baby.  Your heart and eyes are opened to something completely anew.

What I've found to be a bit disheartening, is how fast we want this baby and new mama stage to pass.  Ever heard, "Does your baby sleep through the night?", "is he or she walking yet?", and the classic, "When are you going back to work?".   What is the rush here? Where is the fire?  It's nobody's fault - it's our culture - but we do have some power here to make a change as leaders in a health care field that is positive, practical and professional.

I thought you had a baby and just got on with things.

Then I had a baby.  Let's just call it a game changer.

You spend the beginning of your baby's life in a dreamy, heart bursting, love-filled state, mixed with soul crushing tiredness and a constant feeling of being out of control.  Eventually though, a lot of people asked, "When will you be going back to racing?".

I struggled with not training like I had. I began to feel out of shape.  At the same time, I was so much more tired than I had ever been during Ironman training, so what was I doing wrong? To be both 'out of shape' and too tired to actually run?  I started to take all this quite personally.  

And I know I'm not the only one.

Ever seen a sign for a 'Mommy Bootcamp'? Heard 'how to lose the baby weight'? These are rhetorical questions.  I know you have.  And I do believe, in clinical practice, we are beginning to see women with significant problems from returning to intense sports too soon because our culture drives us there.  And we're seeing pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain, pelvic girdle pain, postural pain, knee pain, the list goes on.  

So let's support a slower, gentler approach to the postpartum period.  Let's realize and recognize how hard this period of growth for both the baby and the mother can be.  Let's not worry so much about getting 'back on track' and be the leaders in supporting this period of time we get to spend with our tiny, little, perfect humans.

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