Monday, May 24, 2010

Physical Activity After the C-Section

I haven't posted in a few days because I was preparing for, playing, then recovering from my first rugby game in almost 2 years. You see, before I became a mother, I was a competitive athlete (in addition to all my other roles and identities). For ten years, I trained like a fiend for the only full-contact sport in the world where the rules are the same for men and women alike.

Rugby is an intense sport for many reasons, the biggest of which is probably the cardiovascular fitness and strength the game requires. I was in amazing shape when I got pregnant and, with the approval of my midwives, was able to continue working out up until the day I delivered. I actually had gone to the weight room and done 75 overhead olympic lifts the morning before I had my son. I tell other athletic moms-to-be that power cleans were my secret labor inducer.

All kidding aside, one of the most difficult things for me to mentally adjust to was the physical limitations after surgery. I was going to have a natural birth and start working out again after, like, one week off. And then, instead, I was flat on my back unable to sneeze. Training had always been my way of dealing with stress, too. There was nothing a sweaty workout couldn't clear up.

So, having to face the most intense experience of my life (motherhood PLUS my first experience with any sort of physical complication, injury, or surgery) and then spend five weeks "taking it easy," well that was tough.

It's been ten months since Miles was born, and I am only very recently beginning to feel rested enough and recovered enough to truly test myself physically. It feels so, so, so amazing to exercise again! But boy, my body is really different now. For one thing, I still can't sit up from lying flat on my back. Other things seem much easier (like any sort of lift mimicking hoisting up a 21 lb baby...).

Returning to fitness is a slow and winding road. It sure feels good to be driving it.

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