To all the moms I have judged - I owe you an apology pt1

Before I became a mom I always wondered at the women who became moms and seemingly stopped caring about their bodies! I wondered: ”What is it about having a baby that makes a mom stop caring about what she looks like and let herself go???” I figured all these moms have the whole day off, (Wait! The whole year off!), why don’t they get to the gym? They don’t even have to get up early, they can go between 9 and 12 when they have babysitting…at the gym!! How convenient is that?!

Well, I have a bit of insight now. Ten months ago I delivered beautiful twin boys and was rudely awakened to the constancy of being a mom!! My life that used to be my own now is governed by two little babies. And yet our expectation, and the expectation of those around us, is to have our pre-baby bodies back within the first two to three months, partly because we are driven people but also because we allow ourselves to be bombarded with images of celebrities who, according to the headlines, are able to achieve this. But at what cost to the baby, to themselves and their loved ones?

When a woman becomes a mom, there’s this amazing thing that happens. It is indescribable, the intensity and passion with which you love and guard your fragile little baby. You become a lion. And so your goals change without you even knowing. Your number one used to be yourself, your health, your career, your social endeavours, your life. And now the first person you think of is your baby, what you will feed your baby, when they will nap and how they are feeling. All the energy that you used to put into being fit and fabulous, you now channel into this little light-weight. And so it is expected that something or someone is going to suffer – and it is probably going to be you.

When I had my boys, I was determined not to buckle under the pressure of needing to have my pre-baby body back right away. It takes months for a woman’s body to heal from the huge undertaking of creating and delivering life! Somewhere along the line we have started believing that our ancestors bounced back immediately after having babies when in reality they took time to heal, had other women to tend to them, and had wet nurses. Knowing myself, and that I like to work out hard, I knew that if I pushed myself to get to the gym and work hard, without sleep that I would dissolve into a puddle of disappointment. So my goal was to get back to the gym regularly once I was getting a good night’s sleep. This is something that people who don’t have children CANNOT understand. A coach who wants you to push yourself without having had good sleep clearly doesn’t understand that our bodies become stronger in the rest phase. It’s like asking our car to drive us somewhere without any gas. Our fuel for exercise is food and sleep –and sunlight and laughter, but that’s another story! I wanted to put my boys first, and I do…. But just like I need to have a good night’s sleep in order to be a good mom during the day, I know that, in order to be a good mother, I need to take start taking care of me.

Getting to the gym, eating well, or getting outside was now more about my mental sanity than about whether I had a 6-pack or not. Some days when I would have my mom or mother-in-law over, and I would run off to the gym, I felt amazing — elated to have some time to myself, to do something for me. This is what made me realize that, in order to put my boys first, I need to make time for me. In an airplane they always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before putting the mask on your children. This is against a mother’s instincts to protect their children first, but we understand, if there’s no mom to take care of the children, the children will die.

So what’s a girl to do? How do you balance putting your baby/babies first and still take care of yourself?

Guest Blog by: Sarah Hutchison, stay tuned for part 2.

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