I will warn you in advance, this story is not super warm and fuzzy. That’s just not how I roll. But it is real and if nothing else, I hope it helps other mothers in some way—even if it is just by giving them a laugh in between changing poopy diapers.
Client Spotlight: A Mom’s Tough Road Back
I have to start by saying that I had the best plan ever for after my baby was born—
be back into a regular workout routine (including volleyball, my lifelong sport) as soon as I hit the mandatory six week wait post c-section. I had done prenatal pilates and worked out with an amazing prenatal personal trainer all the way through my pregnancy. I was certain I had set myself up for success and would be back in action in no time. After my first baby was born (12 years earlier), I went on a run the day after I came home from the hospital (CRAZY, I know) and was back in shape and back on the volleyball court in just a few short months (note—this one was not a c-section). Let’s just say that the second time around did not go as planned whatsoever…
I didn’t get to workout at all for nearly four months following a c-section because of a scary blood clot situation and then another major surgery. By the time I was cleared to workout, I felt like I had an enormous mountain to climb—starting with not crying when I looked at my flabby self in the mirror.
It had been over a year since I had played volleyball by this time. My plan to “bounce right back” had been seriously derailed and all of the harsh realities of having a new baby again had hit me. I am not gonna lie—when I had a newborn baby, the simple thought of leaving the house and exercising in the presence of others was enough to convince myself that wearing maternity jeans forever is completely okay, especially since they were totally getting looser by the day! I’m sure other mothers can attest: It feels like you have, at best, 30 minutes to yourself during any decent stretch of time, and you have to choose only one of the following per day: 1) eat 2) bathe 3) wash hair (sorry, 2 and 3 are now separate—you will rarely get both at once) or 4) work out.
I could talk myself into not working out like nobody’s business. A salesperson by trade, I sold myself on “waiting until I was caught up at work” or “waiting until my favorite lululemon leggings didn’t look like spanx that are two sizes too small.” Trust me, if you run out of excuses, I have 100 I could lend you but that would defeat the reason I wrote this.Onward…
I ended up at Dancer’s Shape after my neighbor (also a new mom) told me how much she loved it, and that it had really helped her get back in shape after her daughter was born. 15 seconds into my first class I was sweating and my legs were already burning. I was like OMG THIS IS NOT GOOD, I AM A HOT MESS. By the time we got to the ballet bar, I was actively thinking of potential excuses for needing to leave unexpectedly (Oh no, I think my c-section scar might have burst! Gotta go!) I even contemplated a possible “re-injury” of one of my many previous knee & shoulder injuries (I have had six knee/shoulder surgeries since 2001). But, I did it. I got through it!
I was so weak in the first class that trying to do a push-up on my knees felt like the hardest thing in the world. During my last workout before the baby was born I did like 12 real push-ups! How was one “easy” push-up so hard??? I was mortified. I knew I had to accept where I was and channel my inner crazy athlete power to start making real progress. So I sucked it up and set a goal to get better every single class. Plus, my knee push-ups were getting pretty baller at this point…
Eventually, the shock to my body from being challenged and resulting soreness subsided and I had to shift my focus to keeping myself motivated and believing that I would kick the dang baby weight to the curb!
My internal mantra became- just push through. You can do it. You CAN do it! You’re almost there. Aaaaand the hour was over. VICTORY!
After a few weeks of going to Dancer’s Shape classes, things were starting to look and firm up, and I was feeling a little more like myself. I had survived the early newborn baby stage, gone back to work, fit back into some of my pants again, and was managing to workout 3-4 times a week. I decided it was time to try and start volleyball again.
I have played volleyball my entire life and a huge goal for me was to get back into the “sand volleyball uniform” (bikini) as soon as possible. I gave it my first go in August (what was I thinking??!!! Holy burning hot!) and it was ugly. But it got better as the day went on and I didn’t give up. It gave me even more motivation to bust my butt at Dancer’s Shape and tighten everything up/get stronger to help my return to volleyball.
Finally, I was able to include working out, bathing, eating and sleeping! SA-WEET!My confidence improved, and I even went to the Advanced class a few times (CRAZY HARD)! I wept inside through “8 more” push-ups/squats/lunges/chair sits/planks, etc. But I swear, it gets better!
As my brother in the Army says, you have to “embrace the suck”. It never truly gets EASIER—the work-outs are hard. PERIOD. And no two are ever the same so your body is always guessing. But you get stronger and your technique gets better and your butt looks better in your lulu pants—a little more each time.
If I can do it, you can do it. Now go check your shirt for spit up, spray some dry shampoo in your hair, get someone to watch your baby, and then go willingly get your butt kicked at Dancer’s Shape. I will be the one in the corner cheering you on.
- Melanie Taliaferro, Dancers Shape client