Updated: Feb 27
In this episode, you will learn:
How to interpret 'postpartum'
How and why to explore the root of your motivation
The first secret
Why the first secret matters
How your body compensates during pregnancy
5 essential components of a high-quality postpartum exercise program
Postpartum does not refer to the weeks or even months following birth. There is a saying in my field, and it goes like this: "Postpartum is forever." That's not to say that your 'best,' strongest, fittest body is behind you, but to say that the transformation that pregnancy and birth set in motion are both profound and lasting.
How and Why to Explore the Root of Your Motivation
For you, what is important to you when you think about the idea of your 'best body'? Is it (A) an appearance, (B) a feeling, (C) a physical ability? Or a combination?
Knowing your answer to this initial question matters because built into the vision that you have for how you want to look and feel, are deep-seated values that are informing those ideas, hopes and desires. And postpartum - because of the physical transformation that it brings - tends to unearth the unfiltered truth of your body image. Because of this, postpartum presents the unique opportunity to explore your feelings and expectations towards your body, what matters to you, and WHY it matters to you. We would be wise not to bulldoze past this rich opportunity to become better acquainted with ourselves.
We can accomplish this by becoming like inquisitive toddlers who, with undying persistence, keep asking "okay, but why?" Why does losing the baby weight, fitting back into old clothes, looking a certain way, feeling a certain way, or being able to do a certain thing matter to you? And with each answer you produce, ask yourself why again so that you keep peeling back the layers and digging down to the root of your motivation. The benefits of doing this:
Introspection: Once you dig down deep, check in with your body and your feelings. Do you feel inspired, motivated, excited? Or frustrated, discouraged, anxious? Does the root of your motivation feel healthy or unhealthy? Does it feel intrinsically positive, negative, or neutral?
The root of your motivation becomes your ANCHOR: When things get busy, anything in the self-care category is often one of the first things to get bumped. But when you know what your anchoring, deep WHY is, this helps you understand and honor your priorities, so that you are not easily swayed by circumstances.
Now, in whatever way you define your best body ever after baby, YOU ARE NOT ON THE WRONG SIDE OF MOTHERHOOD TO CLAIM IT AND ABSOLUTELY ROCK IT.
The best of your strength, your fitness, your health is yet to come for you. It is not behind you, it is in front of you! And you, my friend, are right on the cusp!
Our bodies adapt to the changes, demands, and stress of pregnancy and motherhood by creating compensatory movement patterns that, when ignored, lead to unresolved dysfunction or injury.
Our bodies are inherently responsive and adaptive. In the short-term, it's wonderful that our bodies are able to adapt, because this keeps us mobile and stable amidst changing factors and variables, like the ones we see during pregnancy and motherhood.
But in the long-run this can become problematic.
Why This Matters
In order to attain your goals (from above), you must I.D. and correct those compensatory movement patterns.
When you take a 'red light' movement pattern (a movement pattern that your body is not able to execute with a minimum standard of safety), add load (like kids, diaper bags, groceries, laundry, etc.), and add repetition (the movements of motherhood are highly repetitive)... this can be problematic!
As women who value being proactive and preventative when it comes to our health, it is in our best interest to intervene so that we are setting ourselves up to thrive and to be able to enjoy our lives, enjoy our children and families, and do what we want now and for long into the future.
How Your Body Compensates During Pregnancy
Your body is more than a sum of individual parts; it is a highly sophisticated, resilient, and synergistic system. This means that changes - even seemingly slight or inconsequential changes - to any area inevitably impact the system as a whole at some level. Remember, your body is responsive and adaptive.
As your abdominal wall stretches to accommodate your expanding uterus over the course of pregnancy, the tissues are gradually stretched out (some of the big players here are the linea alba and transversus abdominis - we'll discuss these more in Secret #2). This stretching impacts (diminishes) the function of your core system, which plays a crucial role in stabilizing your trunk and spine. Of course, the body must promptly find another way to generate stability or risk severe injury. So, to compensate for these new weaknesses, the body will call upon other areas of the body to help generate stability, and it accomplishes this by tightening surrounding muscles. So tightness can be a response to weakness: your body's strategy for reestablishing stability where it's been compromised. Amazing, right?
5 Essential Steps That Need to be Part of Your Postpartum Exercise Program (order matters)
Step 1: I.D. any red light movement patterns or areas
Step 2: Release tension and tightness
Step 3: Mobilize via mobility training
Step 4: Stabilize via stability training
Step 5: Strengthen via strength training