Working Out After Babies

Working Out After Babies

This is a more personal post than normal. I don’t love talking about myself and I especially don’t like sharing photos! It makes me feel so awkward, like, who even cares about my exercise schedule!! So I wrote this last week and kept getting embarrassed about posting it… but I also know that A LOT, like almost ALL mothers (and also fathers! It changes their lives drastically too!) struggle with their bodies after having a baby. I mean, having a kid changes EV-ER-Y-THING, physically, mentally, and with your time/scheduling/priorities/lifestyle. So maybe my/our story will help you.

I reached a milestone at Pure Barre last week, 100 classes, and it’s had me thinking about the last year and a half or so that I’ve been working out there. So I thought I’d share a little bit about how Andy and I prioritize exercise and make it work in our lives with two small children. Joey turned two in January and Olly is 8 months old.

(Photo from @pb_westlakeavon)

My very first Pure Barre class was on my 40th birthday. Joanna was about 8 months old. Honestly, I felt gross. I was squishy and weak. I still didn’t fit in a lot of my non-maternity clothes. Honestly it wasn’t about clothes sizes or numbers on the scale, I just didn’t feel like me.

After Joey was born I struggled A LOT with feeling like my body didn’t belong to me anymore. After ten months of being pregnant, weeks of pain after delivery, and six months of exclusive pumping multiple times a day (which is torture, btw) and then at 8 months postpartum, I still had this belly and felt yucky… I wanted my body to be mine again. For me.

I decided to give myself the birthday present of committing to taking better care of myself. I hadn’t worked out regularly in YEARS. That first Pure Barre class was hard, really hard. But I went back the following weekend and tried to go once a week – ish.

We knew we wanted to have another baby soon, so my goal was to get as strong as I could before then. In December I found out I was pregnant with Oliver, about 3-1/2 months after I’d started Pure Barre. I wasn’t able to work out much during my first trimester since I was queasy a lot of the time, but as soon as I was able to, I amped up to two classes a week, Saturday and Sunday mornings first thing. Since Andy was at home, he could take care of Joey while I went to class. And then when I’d get home from class at 8:45 a.m., he’d jump in the car and go to his workout class at 9. I was able to take classes twice a week pretty much every single week up until 30 weeks pregnant, when I had to stop all unnecessary activity since my pregnancy was high risk.

My pregnancy with Olly was SO MUCH better than my first. I didn’t fall into any of those traps of “you’re eating for two,” or “might as well eat it now while you’re pregnant” like I did the first time. I only gained 25 pounds, instead of the 40 I gained with Joey. Exercising and eating better made me feel stronger and healthier the whole way through. My recovery went WAY better, too, and the second I got the go-ahead from my doctor to start working out again at 8-weeks postpartum, I was back at the barre.

I had ZERO ab strength and it was a little embarrassing. But I kept going and eventually was able to add a third class, immediately after work since the kids are already being babysat, and now I’m doing four or even five classes every week, mostly at 5:30 or 6 a.m. before Andy leaves for work. And Andy is doing 2-3 weekly classes as well, mostly after work. He goes to a small-group personal training class, in addition to playing indoor soccer. So one or the other of us are working out almost every day of the week.

A typical week for us may be… Monday: Kerry works out at 5:30 a.m., Andy works out at 6 p.m. Wednesday: Kerry works out at 6 a.m., Andy works out at 6 p.m. Thursday: Kerry works out at 5 p.m. Friday: Andy may have a soccer game (except he’s taking this season off due to injury) Saturday: Kerry works out at 7:30 a.m., Andy works out at 9 a.m.

(Except this week because I wasn’t feeling well and skipped two classes, but that’s also how life goes!)

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