After giving birth to my first child, I felt like I crossed through the looking glass. I knew staring down at her that I’d never be the woman I was just a day ago, heck even an hour ago. I remember looking at her in shock that she was really there. Our eyes connected and I was hers and she was mine.
But I was no longer me.
As I adjusted to parenthood — with the fun breastfeeding and sheer exhaustion — I felt like I moved even farther from my old self.
Before I got pregnant, I was active in CrossFit and just starting to get into power lifting. I continued doing both throughout my pregnancy and I credit staying active for my textbook pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
I thought because I’d stayed active throughout my pregnancy, I’d rebound quickly. I was wrong.
At 10 weeks postpartum, I decided to finally return to CrossFit, after phoning in some home workouts. But I still did not feel like working out. I felt like a shell of a person, just going through the motions during a workout.
I could barely squat 100 pounds, even though I’d regularly squatted 125-plus pounds up until the day my water broke. I lost my pull-ups. And my running, forget it.
I never did another CrossFit workout after that and for the next 10 months, I went worked my squats and deadlifts at the rec center gym. Some days were better than others, but overall I put on a pitiful display.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, I decided to take charge. No more cutting myself slack because I was postpartum or pregnant. If I wanted to be the mom I always envisioned myself being — fun, active, happy — I had to get a grip.
I began lifting heavier and heavier. I began pushing myself in my workouts and I began game-planning my postpartum return to fitness.
Instead of going back to the gym and the workouts I’d done throughout pregnancy, I planned to join a new gym, specifically a barbell club. And instead of focusing on the lifts I’d done throughout my pregnancy and getting frustrated at my lack of progress, I’d focus on an entirely new workout regimen with Olympic lifting.
Watch: MamaLifts works the Būband
I truly think this shift in approach saved my mental state after having my second daughter in January. Since I had never really done Oly lifting before, I wasn’t too discouraged when my form stunk. I listened to my coaches and adjusted when needed. The strength I’d gained from squats and deadlifts served me well, and I still did these as conditioning, but I could focus on mastering new lifts and set my sites on new goals.
And it’s paying off. Six months later, my squats and deadlifts are back to the numbers I was putting up before becoming pregnant with my first daughter. My form and technique are clicking with my new lifts and I’m happier in the gym than I have been in a long time.
I’m still not the woman I was before kids. I never will be. But I’m now able to embrace this new normal and this new version of me.
Andrea Signor provided this blog as a guest blogger. Check out her own blog, Mamalifts
To watch our interview with Andrea and hear what else she has to say, join our BounceLab, our private Facebook group, where we're redefining what fitness looks like.