How Yoga Helped Me Adjust to My Postpartum Body

When you become a mother your whole world changes in ways that you could never imagine! You grow a beautiful little soul (or maybe souls) within your body for 9 or so months and the moment that they come into this world you are also reborn…

I remember that throughout my pregnancy I was so excited about being pregnant. I loved to feel my baby kick inside, watch my belly grow and have that “pregnancy glow”. I felt strong, empowered and so blessed to be bringing a baby into this world.

But once my son was born, I remember returning home from the hospital and not quite feeling like myself.

The strong, glowing pregnant mama was suddenly pushed aside to a mother who wasn’t quite so sure of herself, didn’t feel confident in her own skin and quite honestly had no freaking idea what was going on.

I was disconnected.

I felt a little bit lost not only on an emotional level, but on a physical level as well. The body I had grown so comfortable in had completely morphed. Where I was once strong, I was now weak. Where I used to have muscle, I now felt softness. This new shell of a body left me feeling unsure and confused….like everything else did as a new mother.

In the early days of motherhood I found literally no time for myself.

Between the whirlwind of diapers, struggling to breastfeed and trying to decipher the unspoken language of coos and cries of my baby – all forms of self-care had been thrown out the window.

But a few months down the road I was ready to rediscover myself … and I did so with yoga.

Gradually, I became more balanced.

Yogic breathing exercises helped me to balance my hormones. These exercises not only helped regulate my stress hormones but it also helped to increase endorphins – helping to create a sense of peace and wellbeing. I noticed that the more I breathed the more I was able to deal with my emotions, newfound stresses and anxiety which helped me feel more at ease with myself, my body and my baby.

I slowly began to accept and embrace my postpartum body.

Taking a few minutes of my day to move my body really brought me back to “being” within my body instead of looking at it as some foreign vessel. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on what my body had just been through the past year and gave me a new understanding of the female body’s capabilities. There is nothing like pregnancy to really open your eyes to the fact that we are always in a constant state of change. And this realization really helped me to let go of my body that once was, and embrace the body that I had.

I learned to listen to my body and it’s needs.

My yoga practice helped me to become aware of all the new changes taking place. How my posture had shifted from feeding my baby, certain muscles feeling weak (hello pelvic floor!), other muscles feeling stronger (I could have arm wrestled the Hulk), and saying hello again to my abdominal muscles after months of them being stretched and relaxed thanks to all those wonderful pregnancy hormones.

I became more in touch with my body than I had ever been before…and this I found empowering.

I began to understand how to listen to my body – when it was asking for me to rest, when it was asking for a little movement and when it wanted a little love – maybe a bath or a massage. With this new attention I was able to care for myself a little more…in a healing and nurturing way, in a patient and loving way, in a motherly way.

Adjusting to your postpartum body and self is not an easy transition. It is important to be kind, gentle and give yourself as much time as you need.

For some it might be quick, for others it might take years…yes, years…and that is ok too. My recovery took over 6 months but yoga made me understand that I didn’t need to put a timeline on my recovery and healing. If I took care of my body and paid attention to it’s cues, I would get there. There was no rush. And somehow through this process of  becoming aware, I slowly began to recognize myself again, feel comfortable in my body, and truly love and accept myself and my body and this amazing journey we are on.