My journey after baby Nelson #2.  I share my insights, pictures, and lessons learned for 30 days postpartum.  I learned alot after having my first baby and was determined to show moms that the fourth trimester is a time of healing and recovery and not so much about “getting your pre baby body back.”

Each day I posted a picture along with my “message” for the day.  I want to show moms that it’s not all about the abs.  It’s not all glamour and snuggles, being a mom is HARD work.  It can be so hard as a new mom to not get depressed when you are sleep deprived and covered in spit up.  When you feel like you live in pajamas all day and trying to balance your attention with a toddler, well that’s a whole new level.  Enjoy these 30 days of “real life” posts 🙂

 

Day 1

A little over 12 hours after birth. Taking a walk with Baby Kai around the hospital. Focusing on recovering, resting and of course refueling but feeling amazing already. So grateful for what my body is able to do. This means so much more than any number or size. This…is what a woman’s body is capable of. #mombeyondbaby #takebackpostpartum

12 hours after birth. Walking Kai in the halls.

12 hours after birth. Walking Kai in the halls

Day 2

Postpartum Day 2.

2 days postpartum from Baby Kai. This is what it is looking like for me this time around. Dark circles under my eyes are the indication that Kai is my top priority while the rest of the house is sleeping. I live in drawstrings and nursing tanks and my hair is never done (not much change there). My uterus is going down my the day, I am top heavy with milk and my hips are wider than normal. All perfectly ok.

Postpartum is about recovery first. It’s not about how fast we can can comeback and make a transformation. I wish I could post this and say life is back to normal. It’s not and it won’t be for many months. Everyday brings a new challenge.

While I feel great physically and emotionally, this is a time for us as a family to discover our new addition and to rediscover ourselves in the process. This is a special time for Sydney to step into her new role of big sister and for us as parents to learn how to adjust to life with two kids.

For me, it is not about my body and how fast I can get abs or fit back into my pre baby jeans. I have no idea how much I weigh or how much of the baby weight I have lost. My plans going forward are to recover, rest, maintain my milk supply and keep my hormones balanced. It’s about eating for fuel and slowly getting back into exercise as I feel ready.

For all of you trying to regain yourself after having a baby, give yourself a little time and grace. Be patient with yourself and embrace the process as just that. Focus on chipping away every single day and know that with time, it will happen.

I came from the hospital today and decided to snap this picture. I plan to take them for awhile. Maybe they will one day serve as a “before” picture but most likely they will serve as a reminder of when these days were “hard.” To give myself a reminder of what my body is truly capable of. To remind me that I grew a human, had an amazing labor and birth and can stand in front of the mirror proud as hell of my body 2 days later.

Day 3

Taking a leisurely stroll with the kiddos and the dog. If I had one tip for keeping the hormones in check and battling the baby blues it would be to get outside everyday. Even if it’s to see sunshine and nurse or it’s taking a walk with the stroller or carrier, sunshine is vital to keeping a new mama happy Today was emotional for me. Between adjusting to our new normal, lack of sleep and sending my toddler for her first day of preschool, I was a hot mess. Even though I am tired and have a million things to do, I went for a short walk because I knew I needed it. And while it’s easy to let everyone else come first, I know that I have to take care of me. Especially in the fourth trimester. #takebackpostpartum

Day 3 postpartum

Day 3 postpartum

 

 

 

Day 4

Postpartum day 4. Back brace for my shoulders because milk. Top heavy with enough milk for a family at this point. It took months to correct my posture from baby 1 so I’m being proactive this time. When I sit or nurse, the brace is on 🙂

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Day 5

Postpartum Day 4.

Postpartum Day 5.

I cannot believe I gave birth to baby Kai only 5 days ago. Here is what 5 days after my second baby is looking like for me. Some may say “wow” and others may think “still have a long way to go.” Both are perfect but neither are what I see. What I see in these pictures Is a process. I see my unique recovery process. This is my fourth trimester and while i definitely see physical changes I also know it’s not so much about how I look as it is how I feel. Last time I pushed through because I did not respect the healing process enough. I exercised before my body was ready and ended up taking steps backwards because I did not properly heal and recover. Lesson learned. This time is different. I know better. I respect my body and this process too much to do anything but allow my body to do what it needs to do. Pictured is a fit splint that I am wearing daily for extra support and recovery of my core. I do not have a separation at this point but I am being extra cautious and wearing this brace to give my core extra support and compression as I heal. I may look back on these pictures in a few weeks and use them as a “before” but most likely I will see them and be proud of myself for taking my time. For taking these weeks to recover and heal and let my body do exactly what it needs to do. My plan this week is walking daily and next week I will start body weight exercises. Nothing hardcore. I post this because If you are a new mama remember I want you to remember you have your whole life to “get your body back.” And if that’s not your jam that’s perfect too. There really are bigger things to life than how many visible abs you have. And yes I have very tired eyes and new pajamas.

Day 6

Heading out for a walk. Postpartum Day 5.

Heading out for a walk.

Today is day 6 postpartum and I’m extra happy because ✔ I’m on my way out for my walk, ✔i’m rocking my ‪#‎eatliftandbehappy‬ tank and ✔ because shorts.

If you have been following my pregnancy you know I have been wearing compression all 9 months through the summer. While my veins are not gone, they don’t hurt so shorts it is! Embracing my quads and my top heavy milk factory ?

Contributing much of how I feel to a fit and active pregnancy ??. My main goal during the pregnancy was to remain healthy and fit through working out and to eat for my body and my hormones so postpartum would be exactly like this. ‪#‎mombeyondbaby‬ ‪#‎takebackpostpartum‬

 

 

 

 

Day 7

My husband snapped this today maybe as a reminder for me when I look through my photos. Today I chose this over a walk. You know I am all about moving but today my body needed to rest and sleep. The hardest part of the fourth trimester for me is to remember to do this. Between taking care of a newborn and a toddler I have to remind myself to slow down. I don’t need to do it all right now. I need the rest to fully recover. So today I got much needed rest and snuggles

Postpartum Day 6

Postpartum Day 7

Day 8

Family day with an adventure to the aquarium. I say adventure because with 2 kids, that’s exactly what it is right now. Learning our new rhythm as a family of four. So thankful for baby wearing at this point…gives me two free hands and I get extra snuggles from Kai:)

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Day 9

Celebrating coming home from the hospital only one week ago with an outing on my own to take my daughter to swim with both kids?. Hard to believe it’s only been a week and this is my new normal. But everyone is fed and dressed so at this point I am winning:)

My first outing alone with both kids. Day 9 postpartum.

My first outing alone with both kids. Day 9 postpartum.

Day 10

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I wouldn’t have it any other waySomething you may not know is that I was dreading the newborn days again. I often called it “the black hole” because last time that is exactly what it felt like for me. It was a very rough few months with depression, sleep deprivation, nursing around the clock and being away from all family. I cried more days that I can remember. Naturally, heading into this phase again scared me a little especially because I have way more on my plate than I did 2 years ago. But this little guy has proved me wrong. He has shown me the other side. He has been in my life for 10 days and he has already taught me to slow down and take this all in. I instantly fell in love with him and his snuggles. I am humbled daily. I am reminded that our children, even at 10 days old, are our greatest teachers. So as I sit here with Baby Kai sleeping on my chest, I will forget about my to do list and just listen to the sound of his breathing while my daughter is at preschool. This is by far the greatest recovery there is 🙂

Day 11

Our new normal 🙂

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Day 12

 

Just like that I’m BAACCCKKK to lifting, modified of course for now. I’ve taken 13 days off since my last real workout was the day before I gave birth to baby Kai.

Of course there is a lot of debate about how soon you can get back to exercise. My doctor knows me and told me to rest, recover and not do anything that doesn’t feel right. Obviously stop any activity that gives me pain, bleeding or complications. I have felt and still feel amazing this time around but I’m still starting back modified…walking, bodyweight and lighter weights. I’ll continue to add more intensity as the week’s progress.

For me, returning back to exercise has zero to do with the “pre baby” body. It’s about how it makes me feel and how much energy I get from a quick sweat session. Even after being up many hours at night, I still feel energized after exercise. It also helps keep my hunger and cravings *somewhat* In control as I am nursing full time??

I have no idea how much I weigh. I don’t know how much I’ve lost since giving birth and I don’t plan to find out anytime soon. It has zero to do with the number for me. I don’t own a scale and I don’t care how long it takes to button my “pre baby” pants. I DO care about how I feel?? I contribute much of how I feel to being active and for the entire pregnancy. I am so grateful for my body and give it so much credit than I once used to.

Mamas, wherever you are right now, just stop and thank your body for all that it CAN do. Whether you are pregnant and growing a human or just gave birth and are recovering, honor your body and remember that it is your house. Take care of it.

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Day 13

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Vitamin D, exercise with my babies, rocking my ‪#‎liftlikeagirl‬ tank and a podcast. Life is good. Day 13 postpartum.

I have gotten tons of messages about working out postpartum. Some asking questions, others telling me how horrible I am for telling women to listen to their bodies and some just thanking me for inspiring them. Here’s the thing: I love all messages from you. I read and respond to every single one.

The tricky thing about postpartum exercise is that you do need to know your body. If you don’t feel comfortable exercising before the standard 6 weeks, don’t. If you do feel like you can, start slow. Modify. Listen to your body and do what feels good.

For me it’s not about the body or the weight. It’s about feeling good and being strong. I haven’t taken much time off and I am still humbled daily because I am recovering even after a very quick and easy labor/delivery. Some days I just don’t feel like doing anything and that’s ok. It’s what I do…nothing:)

I am not lifting heavy, I am walking slow and I am taking a nap daily. That is what feels right for me right now. My one hope is that wherever you are, pregnant, postpartum or just busy being a mom, you take time to understand and know your body and do what feels good. Always.

Day 14IMG_1937

 

 

The toddler dip progression?. When Kai takes a nap she says “I workout with mommy.” Since I’m not ready to head back to the gym yet, we are working out at home these days. I love that exercise is fun for her and working out something she knows mommy does as part of our regular “routine” Right now in the midst of all the chaos, this is keeping me somewhat “sane.” ‪#‎postpartum‬‪#‎day14‬

Day 15

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What a difference only two weeks can make.

As with everything in life, take each day for what it’s worth. No rush, no urgency, just enjoy the ride. Because when you look back big things can happen in a short amount of time

On the right, I have very tired eyes. My hair gets washed and thrown in a bun. My hips are wider than normal. My house is a mess and some days I want to cry because I’m not sure I’m going to make it until nap time.

Each day gets better. I am getting better. I am learning my new normal and adjusting with my family. I am focused on taking care of myself right now, not whether my pre baby pants fit?

Whether you are pregnant, just had a baby or often caught up in the “small stuff” remind yourself to stop and take it all in.

It’s so easy to keep looking forward and miss this…”the good ole days” as I like to call them‍‍‍????

 

 

Day 16

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Get out from behind the camera.

I spent way too many years hiding behind the lens. I was too fat, too puffy, my stomach wasn’t flat enough, oh and my legs, forget it. I would never post a picture showing those!

Just a few of the things I told myself time and time again.

When I look back, there is a period of my life, about 3 years of so after I rebounded from anorexia that I have very little pictures from.

The funny part is that while I told myself all of these things, this is the time when I met my husband. After our first date (when I was at my heaviest) I called my mom and said “I know he is the one.” But yet I have very few pictures of when we dated.

Kind of ironic right?

Now, I take alot of pictures with myself IN them. Today my daughter said “mommy picture” at the aquarium, so this is what we took.

Sure I look tired (I was up every hour last night feeding). My hair is never done (unless you consider a ponytail/bun, done smile emoticon. I just had a baby 16 days ago and people keep saying ” you look great….for just having a baby.”

Seriously, does my daughter care that my hips are a little wider than normal right now? Does she care that my eyes are puffy and my outfit is always gym clothes? Nope.

I want her and Kai to look back on pictures with us and see all of the fun things we did. I could have said “mommy doesn’t want to take a picture because she looks really bad.” OR “mommy doesn’t want to be in the picture because she still hasn’t lost the baby weight.”

But I don’t. I refuse to give in to that. I refuse to let them see anything but me. The real me. Loose skin, cellulite, tired eyes and all. Get out from behind the camera and remember your kids want you‪#‎takebackpostpartum‬

Day 17

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Day 17. I’m smiling today (despite being very tired) because…
✔(modified) goblet squats are BAAACCCKK (these are a staple for me always)
✔I’ve learned how to maximize my time (and fat loss) working out at home while the kids nap-20 min workout FTW. No more stress over getting to the gym!
✔my ‪#‎liftweightsfaster‬ tank has come back out.

Off to write some new workouts for my mamas until baby Kai awakes 🙂

 

Day 18

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The nursing sports bra. A must have in my life because I rarely get dressed in real clothes ?. Pictured is a new one from Le Leche League. Supportive, comfy, super accessible (clips at the top) and very reasonably priced. I normally run in the moving comfort Juno but decided to try this once since it’s about 1/4th of the price. I haven’t done any high impact yet but as far as moderate activity this gets a two thumbs up 🙂

 

Day 19

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Nursing nutrition. This is such a confusing topic for so many because it can be very hard to balance your hunger, hormones, cravings with an adequate milk supply.

For me, I eat ALOT of food throughout the day, constantly munching on proteins and fats because I am always hungry, because I am up MOST hours of the day and because my body needs to fuel to recover and to heal 🙂

Pictured is dinner (cooked by my husband of course!) flank steak with ketchup, sweet potato and Caesar salad.

 

Day 20

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Day 20 postpartum. Today I’m headed out for a longer walk because…hormones. I have been getting between 5-7 hours of interrupted sleep which means cortisol isand I could wander around the kitchen looking for every starch and sugar available. But I know better?

That won’t make me feel good although it seems like it will in the moment especially in zombie mode. So today I’m getting extra sunshine with a leisurely walk with the kids to help lower my already high cortisol. I will also add some BCAAs and cocoa throughout the day to help manage my hunger, energy and cravings. I will still eat chocolate though.  

 

Day 21

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]How has this little guy been in my life for only 3 weeks? It feels like so long ago I was anxiously awaiting his arrival.

As I lay on the couch with him sleeping on my chest while my daughter naps, I’m smiling because there is no place I’d rather be right now. I am extremely tired running on about 6 hours of sleep in 3 stretches of less than 2 hours? and while I would really like a full night of sleep, I know it will happen one day. It’s not happening anytime soon and that’s ok. I know it will.

Right now I have to focus on taking care of myself which for today means rest. I will try to walk later when my husband comes home but I’m not stressing because if there is one thing I have learned: less is often better.

I used to stress about not getting my workout done and not checking off my to do list but I learned the hard way. Driving myself into the ground does way more harm than good. Especially when it comes to fat loss.

AND, I still have 100% control over what I put in my mouth 🙂

I am enjoying this phase as much as I can. I know now how quickly it passes and while I have a million things to do, I’m going to just sit and be. I know one day I’ll look back on these pictures when my kids want nothing to do with snuggles and remember these times, the “good ole days.” If nothing else, Baby Kai gave me a second chance to enjoy these early days and not always think of them as the black hole as I once termed them from my daughter. For that, I am forever grateful:)

Day 22

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I am officially in Zombie mode but seeing these two keeps me running.  Oh, and lots of coffee obv.

 

Day 23

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Day 23 postpartum. Playing and moving my body with my toddler. Took my workout outside today with my 2 year old while baby Kai took a nap. It was such a beautiful day and we got to spend some much needed time together.

We ran a stretch a few times, did squats, lunges and played with resistance bands. This is how it gets done daily. Sure it’s not “hardcore” and it doesn’t require equipment or a gym but it’s fun, keeps me healthy and fit and my daughter enjoys it. How else is she going to know exercise is part of her life if I don’t show her?

So many times we get caught up in the idea of *what* it is and think of it’s not a certain amount of minutes or at a gym it’s not worth it. NOT TRUE. Everything counts? especially when you see exercise as simply moving your body in a way you enjoy. Not as a punishment for what you ate, to burn extra for a big meal or because you told yourself you were fat

 

Day 24

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When you look at your baby and feel like a complete badass because you are not only feeding yourself but you are providing the nutrition for another human being. It’s hard, it hurts, it’s exhausting, and there are times when I say “I can’t do this!” but at the end of the day, I am so freaking proud to be able to do this. Not only did I grow him for 10 months, I’m now able to feed him *several* times a day (and night).

 

Day 25

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Today was one of the hardest days I have had postpartum. I am running on very little sleep, my husband is traveling for work and I started to get down on myself. What started as a pity party quickly ended in with some much needed time with my daughter. Just us. Being silly, laughing and having fun. The best cure there is.

It quickly reminded me of only 3.5 weeks ago when it was just us. While that feels like a very long time ago, it was nice to get back there even if it was only 15 minutes before we had to stop so I could feed Kai.

Right now I am in the “trenches.” The days and nights are running together. Some days I wonder how I am going to make it and then others things run as if they have been like this for years.

One thing I remind myself of daily (sometimes numerous times a day) is that this is a phase. This is a season of life and it will all be over too soon. So while I would be lying if I said I loved being up all night and wasn’t dreaming of the day when I will sleep again, I know this time that rushing it is not the answer. Just like our bodies, no need to rush to get anything back. It all comes with time.

If I have learned one thing, it is to trust the process and have faith in what will be. Whatever that is, I know I will be ok. We will be ok. My priority is being a mom to my two amazing kids, being a wife to my husband and taking care of myself.

Day 26

First run, more of a “jog” post baby today. After yesterday I knew I needed to be outside and get the endorphins flowing so I decided to take the double (minus the toddler) for a few intervals. Humbling as always when you start running again after taking time away. But much needed for my mind. That’s what it’s always about for me. Running gives me clarity and time on the pavement to think and reflect.

My last “run” was at 32 weeks pregnant so it’s been quite some time since I have hit the pavement. I felt great and followed a 3 min run (more of a jog right now) with a 1 min walk ratio. I highly reco anyone starting to run follow an interval style training program as it increases your speed, keeps injuries minimized and gives you feeling of success! Nothing worse than going out for a run and feeling like you “had” to walk. This way, it’s all in the program 🙂

I plan to continue this style until I feel ready to decrease my walk time to 30 seconds as my run speed increases. I will continue training with the double @BOBduallie since that’s a whole workout in itself! My first race is in October and I am super excited about the fall race schedule now that I am back in FL with all the races I have been doing for years. That being said, I won’t run long distances since it wreaks havoc on my hormones and will continue weight training as it’s always top priority for me.

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Day 27

me and kids

Just got these pictures back from when baby Kai was only 10 days old. I am beyond grateful for these two beautiful, healthy kids of mine. I am still in shock that I am a mom to two after spending so many years battling an eating disorder and exercise bulimia. To say I have come full circle is an understatement.

Sometimes when stress is high and life seems to happen as it always does, I take a step back and remind myself that this is what matters. Always. They keep me grounded and are always teaching me how to be better. How to do better and how to live in the moment.

They remind me everyday that I am not any better or worse because of how I look. My worth, my value as a person and as a mom has NOTHING to do with the size I am wearing. Nothing.

Being a mom is such a gift. I am so happy I was chosen. Twice?

Day 28

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Hot mess all around. Toddler is off the charts, baby wants to nurse all day, husband at work and mom up all night with a fever. It’s not all glamour over here.

Today was one of those days where my big goal was to get everyone fed. Seriously not much else happened. But then after being home all day, I put them in the stroller and around the block we went at 6 pm. It’s the only thing that gets me out of my funk and the sunshine was good for all of us. If I could give all new moms one tip to staying clear of PPD it would be to get outside everyday. Even if it’s for 10 minutes, it makes a huge difference.

I was thinking while on our walk how easy it is to see pictures on social media and think “how does she do that?” especially as a new mom. It can be discouraging sometimes when you have days like today where you feel like you might not make it. So just know that we all have days like this. We all have survival days and if anyone tells you otherwise, just smile.

Being a mom is something I wouldn’t trade for the world even with days like this. It just makes me sit back and live in the moment. That’s all we can do right? If nothing else, we get to look back on this time and smile because “we made it.”

Day 29

A day in the life. Day 29 postpartum and feeling extremely grateful to not have missed a day of “work” because THIS is what I get to call work. Took some time today to film all new workouts for the mamas in the healthy mom lifestylers club as we “fall back into fat loss mode” before the craziness of the holidays happens?

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These are the exact workouts I will be doing ✔at home ✔in less than 20 minutes ✔with a few sets of Dumbbells??

Not only do we workout, we talk food, hormones, everything “mom” and are basically sisters from around the globe. What started as a “fat loss” club online quickly became a community of moms cheering each other on and keeping each other accountable. Truly a dream come true! Healthymomlifestylers.com

Day 30

One day before baby Kai is one month old.  I have made it one whole month as a mom of two.  While some days are REALLY hard between lack of sleep, a crying baby and a toddler who is still adjusting, it does feel like Kai has been a part of our family for more than just 4 weeks.  So today, as the last of the daily postpartum updates, I wanted to post a progress picture.  The top two are from 2 weeks postpartum and the bottom two are from today.

As you can see, my body has changed slightly but I still do not have visible abs.  On that note, I probably will never have them 🙂 They just aren’t a priority for me. Right now, these pictures resemble what it is important right now.  I am sure I could have made more progress had I been “stricter” with my nutrition but right now, at this time in my life when sleep is few and far between and meals are shoved in my mouth with one hand while nursing, this is perfect.  This is where I am today.  This is where my body is today.

I have no idea what I weight or how much “baby weight” I have lost and I honestly do not care.  The majority of my clothes fit again and those that don’t I just don’t wear yet  They haven’t been banned to the “fat side” of my closet and I don’t try them on everyday and cry like I once did.  My stomach looks flatter in the second picture, but it is far from tight.  I have a roll when I sit and when I bend over, the skin hangs down.  And my my hips…well those are far from back to normal.  Again, all ok.

My point in posting these is to show you that this is a process.  We all have our own and when we give ourselves grace and practice patience with our bodies, bigger things come to light.  I could focus on the numbers, but I am choosing to see:

1.  A new mom who is adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn.

2.  A mom who was active her entire pregnancy and feels amazing after just having her second baby.  Seriously, my body feels unstoppable.

3.  A mom who is looking in the mirror after 2 and 4 weeks of having her second baby to take a picture for everyone to see and feels awesome.  Seriously, I like what I see because I see strong and capable.  I don’t look for abs.  I look at my body and I see badass.

4.  A mom who is nursing full time with a priority to feed my baby for at least a year.  As easy as it sounds to just quit some nights, this is my priority and my body will adjust accordingly.  IF I hold on to a little fat to make milk, that is 100% ok because I have my whole life to “get my body where I want it.”  And I am hungry.  I have tons of cravings.  I do my best but I’ll be honest and say that tracking my food and counting my macros right now…not happening 🙂

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If you made it all the way here, thank you so much for reading.  I appreciate you 🙂