I have always been a driven person and am accustomed to achieving goals I set for myself.

Three months after the delivery of my first baby I was really keen to get back into shape. I still had a sizeable bump that was comparable to when I was 5 months pregnant, but this time the excess was pure fat. I also carried quite a bit of extra weight on my thighs and bum.  My goal for myself after giving birth was to be a hot mum, but in reality I was currently looking nothing like I did pre-pregnancy. I have always been slim without needing to follow any strict diets and the ‘new-me’ sent waves of shock and disbelief throughout my body and mind.

I am fortunate on one hand however as my husband is a personal trainer Sydney CBD and he specialises in weight loss, BUT, the challenge for new mums as I found is not necessarily a lack of motivation or resources, but time. 

As a new mum I was totally overwhelmed and consumed by the demands of a newborn. I also wanted to do really well for her, not let her cry even for a minute, make her happy every hour of the day. But that meant I was neglecting myself every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, three months and counting! I have found this is not uncommon among new mothers.

I was so stressed about delivering the best play, sleep and feed for my baby that I was gulping all of my meals in a rush and my stomach felt as if it was constantly in knots due to the drastic changes I had to constantly adapt to.

Thanks to my husband I was eating very healthy food, only small portions of simple carbohydrates or sweets, lots of protein, lots of vegetables. That’s how all his clients engaging in personal training sydney CBD with him have achieved results. But what was the point of eating healthy when I could not even enjoy my food? Let alone see progress in the mirror.

I was so dedicated to my little bundle of joy that I would feel uncomfortable when my husband offered to take her for an hour of play. My instinct told me I needed to control everything and teach him how to best play with her. My husband kept explaining to me that the hormonal consequences of high stress and sleep deprivation (which is inevitable with a newborn) mimic a high sugar diet but I felt powerless to change anything in my mindset.

One day my husband took me and our daughter out and we went to the exercise equipment in the nearby park. He encouraged me to exercise while he waited with our daughter. I began arguing with him explaining that we cannot stop and let her stay still and just watch from her pram. Of course she would get bored, then start screaming and then we wouldn’t be able to settle her and have to walk all the way home with a screaming baby and avery distressed tearful mum. This scenario loomed like a dark cloud above me. By the time I finished spinning out my horror-story fairy tale to by husband, five minutes had passed. My husband looked at me and said – “you could have done a whole set by now and she is perfectly fine.”

So with mild reluctance, I started doing my sets. I managed to complete four full circuits of exercises and my daughter was still happily smiling in her pram. I was in total disbelief.

The take home message from this post is that if you’re a new mum, it is ok to take slices of time away from your baby to look after yourself. Give the baby to someone you trust, then trust they will be just fine for 30min or 60mins or however long you need.

Since that day in the park I am again beginning to enjoy my exercise and it is my hope that  my change in attitude will teach my daughter that mummy takes care of herself. That way as she grows up she will be more likely to take care of herself also.

Dessislava Mladenova PhD is a medical research scientist and a new mum.
 


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