Coming to Terms with My Postpartum Body: My 2018 Fitness Goals

2017 was an intense year, both for the world and for me. All craziness aside, though, the year also brought me one of the greatest blessings of my life: Micah.

Bringing my child into the world meant enduring countless emotional, mental, and physical changes. Emotionally, the first few months of Micah’s life were a rollercoaster. Mentally, assuming a new identity as “mother” led to some pretty profound shifts in my priorities: with a child, my intent this year and in all future years is to live my life in a way that makes not only me happy, safe, and fulfilled, but also my little family (especially my son).

Physically, 2017 proved to be an interesting journey.

Of course, pregnancy brought its physical highs and lows. While I didn’t experience any particularly stubborn symptoms (thankfully, no morning sickness or odd food aversions here!), I definitely felt uncomfortable, especially throughout the third trimester. Aching back. Shooting paints of sciatica up and down my thigh and left butt cheek. Swollen feet that wouldn’t fit in anything but Birkenstocks.

And yet, physical discomforts aside, I found pregnancy to be oddly physically freeing.

Despite being someone who struggled with body image issues for most of my adolescent and adult life, I surprisingly welcomed my growing belly and changing curves. Maybe it was because I knew I was responsible for growing a new life. Or maybe it was just because I was simply in awe of how my body adapted to the needs of a new baby. Whatever the reason, I found myself caring less about how I looked throughout my pregnancy and focusing more on how I felt, mainly for the baby in my belly.

After labor and delivery, my relationship with my body continued to evolve. Spurred by weighty emotional changes, I began to prioritize other things over my physical well-being — mainly, the well-being of my newborn. Whether or not it was the right thing to do, I found myself making lifestyle choices that weren’t necessarily the healthiest, but were definitely the easiest while taking care of a new baby: ordering takeout when I didn’t have time to cook, deciding to stay home to take care of a fussy Micah instead of working out…

Now that 2018 is here, I’ve taken some time to reflect on all these changes. I’m grateful for what my body enabled me to do, but I also feel like I can finally take some time to re-shift some of my focus from others to myself.

So, with that in mind, I plan to make some serious lifestyle changes this year — for a few different reasons. Firstly, so that I can get back into physical shape and feel healthier overall. Secondly,so that I (admittedly) can shed the rest of my baby weight… and maybe a bit more. And, finally, to thank my body for carrying me through a tumultuous — and ultimately rewarding — time in my life. I think my body deserves that type of celebration.

I’ve already kickstarted this plan with a 90-minute spin class bright and early on New Year’s morning. And I keep telling myself that, if I can survive that long of a workout without exercising regularly for almost a year, then I can manage to do anything.

I plan to give some updates on my physical journey from time to time on my blog. But, in the meantime, here’s to a hopefully productive (and healthier) 2018!

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