The postnatal period can be stressful and even depressing for many women. March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of mothers and their children, explains that women may feel soreness and swelling in the weeks after pregnancy. There may also be more permanent changes to their bodies, such as stretch-marks. Though the organization advises women to moisturize these marks in order to minimize their appearance, some marks will never fade. That is why you should always have a post-pregnancy workout plan ready once you give birth to your child.
Fitness Goals and Body Positivity
In response to these changes, many women decide to set fitness goals with a post-pregnancy workout plan, and others simply embrace their new figures. For women in both categories, it is important to note that fitness goals and body positivity are not mutually exclusive. One major strategy helps to balance this mindset: focusing on the positive. When beginning a fitness or weight loss journey, it is tempting to put down one’s body as it currently exists.
For example, many individuals take initial photos of themselves that are meant to represent themselves at their “worst,” with the intent of taking photos at their “best” when they have achieved their goals. There are many problems with this approach. For one, postnatal mothers should be focusing on loving themselves first. A postnatal body is a new normal; it is self-destructive and futile for women to fight the permanent changes to their bodies that have already taken place. Women should resist the urge to return to their old bodies, as this goal is often impossible.
Fitness Is a Part of Your New Life, Not Punishment
Another problem with this approach is that it makes weight loss or fitness a negative experience or punishment. Fitness is an element of life that should be enjoyed, not dreaded. If an individual uses fitness as a punishment, he or she will be less likely to follow through with fitness plans.
Furthermore, if there is a relapse in progress, an individual will struggle to find the motivation to start their punishment all over again. There is an argument to be made that body positivity and fitness should always be coupled. Countless reputable studies have concluded that physical fitness reduces the risk of certain diseases and helps to prevent premature death.
Your post-pregnancy workout plan does not have to be an intense one-hour exercise session in the gym. It can be home yoga, cycling classes, a pool workout that minimizes stress on the joints, or a hike in the woods. Furthermore, consistent fitness will have noticeable physical and mental effects. Body positivity isn’t always a mindset that must be induced; it is oftentimes the natural result of treating the body well.
A Word from GR8NESS
Overall, focusing on the positive when embarking on a postnatal fitness or weight loss journey is essential. Postnatal bodies often have permanent changes that women must adapt to, instead of blindly pursuing their pre-pregnancy bodies. These bodies are not any less beautiful or valid than pre-pregnancy bodies—they’re just different.