Postpartum recovery is sometimes a topic that new moms overlook when preparing for baby. I was one of those moms. Prior to Tessa being born, I bought the pregnancy/baby books and apps but did not do a whole lot of research into what would happen to my body after giving birth. I mean don’t get me wrong, I of course did a lot of reading on what happens immediately postpartum but I am talking more long term (past the 6 week check up).
At around the three week mark I started feeling a lot better down there, and decided to return back to fitness and to the squash court. Yes, it was slow moving at first but it all came back quickly and without any apparent negative repercussions. In my mind, this was so important to lose the extra weight and to help get my pre baby body back quickly. I went straight back into my routine of playing squash a few times a week but started neglecting the gym and weights to help build my core back. I prioritized the social aspect of squash and did not focus on overall balance for my body.
Along came Scotch basically one year later and recovery took a bit longer but for me that meant holding off on squash until four weeks, not three. Big difference in my eyes at the time. Insert eye roll here. Movement and footwork took a bit longer and the sleepless nights were starting to take a toll this time around mentally as well as physically. I felt more aches and pains than before but nothing that I was overly concerned with. Nothing that I felt I had to address with professional help. My thought process at the time was that it was all because I wasn’t sleeping properly. Muscle recovery was slower because of this so I gave myself a mental out so to speak. I still felt this sense of invincibility as my prior recovery was so quick.
Fast forward twenty two months, thats right…three littles in under three years. Super mom here I come!! This recovery was way different. Still a straight forward vaginal delivery for Monty Man but the recovery down there was so so so so so slow (too many so’s?). Now let me go back a minute here.
Prior to Monty being born around the fourth month into pregnancy I started experiencing significant sciatic nerve pain in my right leg. It ended up getting so bad that most days by noon, I could barely walk. Now parents of toddler’s can attest, that this is not something that is acceptable on any account. I needed to be able to keep up with them and I couldn’t. That was a huge let down in everyone’s mind. It showed in my own mental well being as well as Tessa & Scotch’s behaviour.
I sought out the help of a physiotherapist, a massage therapist, and a pelvic floor specialist to help solve the problem and all suggested some tips and exercises that would help with providing some relief, but that this had to be managed by sufficient rest and that once Monty was born this pain would go away. I kept this information tucked into the back of my mind and tried to remember it each pain filled day leading up to his birth.
They were right, the nerve pain did subside substantially after D-day. I didn’t have flare ups to the point of not being able to walk anymore. Though what I hadn’t realized was that there was some underlying issues here. The original pain started in my hip and went down to my knee so I assumed that Monty was positioned lower than normal (aka having multiple pregnancies in such a short time obviously weakened my pelvic floor) and may be impeding the nerve somehow with his body. Is that possible? I am not really sure, but that was my initial thought.
Wow, my nerve pain is subsided substantially, but “this time I will wait until the six week mark to get back onto the squash court”…smart decision in my mind. I should have enough time to recover and let my body heal and have no problems. I worked with a pelvic floor specialist and got some exercises to do at home to help with the “heaviness” and with those tools in my back pocket all will be great! WHOA how wrong I was.
When Monty was about three months old, I started having the most intense neck pain. My entire right side from the base of my skull to between the shoulder blades was very unhappy. Most days I had to manually stretch my neck so that I could turn my head. Simple things like driving and playing with my kids were now so painful for me. The mommy muscles were ANGRY!
A combination of improper breastfeeding posture, holding babies & toddlers for three years straight, paired with playing squash a few times a week (the sport is very dominant to your preferred hand) with essentially no recovery time, or any type of balanced workouts/stretching routine was a recipe for disaster. I thought I was invincible, that I could do it all. I needed help to figure this mess out as soon as possible. I was no longer invincible. Insert a sad face here. That was a tough pill to swallow.
I am not invincible.
Your body will only take so much abuse before pushing back in a not so fun way. Be kind to your body and listen to what the professionals say will happen if you push it too hard too soon mamas!
I decided to go speak with Iain’s chiropractor at the Moore Chiropractic Group to get assessed and see if he could help me. Iain has several herniated disc’s in his spine and has gone through surgery and multiple plans to managing his pain. So after meeting with Dr. Moore, X-rays taken, and his assessment complete, turns out my spine is imbalanced and out of alinement. Not good! This was a huge factor in what was causing my muscle imbalances and pain even prior to Monty being born. It wasn’t that he was sitting on the nerve,
I started treatment three times a week to help me get my neck mobility back and the pain manageable. Now I am down to twice a week to try and correct the poor posture that has stemmed from carrying little people, breastfeeding, looking down all the time at the kids, squash, and slouching over a computer for years prior.
I swear I am getting to the point of this article soon…stay with me!
Now Dr. Moore’s clinic is located north of Toronto in a city called Aurora. When I initially heard about the appointment schedule of two to three times a week, with a drive of 45 minutes to one hour each way I thought to myself, how am I going to commit to this? With three little people under my wing, how can I possibly commit to a minimum of nine hours a week away from them, for Chiro?
I came home in pain and deflated because I did not think this would be the best use of my time, away from the kids. I spoke to Iain about it and he reiterated that I couldn’t turn my head more than forty five degrees so there wasn’t much of a choice. He also mentioned that with all the driving he did for his treatments (five days a week). He started listening to audiobooks and podcasts in the car.
Now podcasts are not a new concept, but for me I never had the consistent alone time to take advantage of this. So I never explored it. Now I could.
I agreed to the chiropractic schedule and now had nine to ten hours of week alone in the car that I could start exploring different podcasts and audio books.
With my personal interests heavily weighted towards health, wellness, and a plant based lifestyle my first podcast choice was the Rich Roll Podcast. I instantly loved his content and discussions and still listen to it on a weekly basis. I have learned so much from listening to numerous different conversations he’s had, and it has completely opened up my eyes to many like minded individuals and new topics that I identify with. Thanks Rich Roll! The conversations are mentally stimulating and seem to come from the heart. So many different types of topics are discussed and he seems to really be able to find a commonality with each guest, all while letting them take on the spotlight to discuss initiatives and movements that are important to them. He also films his conversations to give the listeners an added value to his content. It provides a face to the information being provided and gives you insight into the connection and trust he’s built with his guests. I love that there is the option for both audio and video to take in the content. He posts this on Youtube for easy access. Rich’s own story is impressive and motivational in its own right. It’s totally worth checking out.
The point is that had I never experienced any pain or mobility issues with my neck, I would never have allocated the time to learning and nourishing my mind. Maybe never is a strong statement, but it would have take a lot longer to make that choice for myself. Like most I have always had interest in pursuing knowledge but at this time in my life, it was at the bottom of a long list of to dos. As most moms do, taking care of my kids and surviving took all priority and my own mental stimulation took a back seat. How wrong that was of me to do.
It only took a week or two of starting to stimulate my mind, that my mood started to improve. I felt excited again. I felt like a woman again. Not just a mom. It pulled me out of this little bubble that I lived in and gave me new perspective on how other people live their life and their points of view. I would walk in the door and tell Iain about this new topic I had learned about and how fascinating it was.
What was really cool to see was that after a few weeks, that I would actually gravitate towards similar podcasts and conversational subject matter Iain had previously listened to a few months prior. It was great to now have stimulating conversations with him on topics other than our kids poops and sleep schedule. Hallelujah! We could share back and forth recommendations on episodes to listen to and other podcasts to explore. It truly helped us get on the same page mentally for how we wanted to plan our lives together.
Now after months of having the time to listen to and absorb new information, I feel a connection to other people through their alined opinions. Even if I don’t fully agree on said person’s complete outlook, they still offer a great deal of value by providing an apposing thought process to expand my own mind on something that I wouldn’t have considered before. It’s brought forth a sense of passion and drive to pursue more than surviving day to day. I would have never thought about starting any new initiatives had I continued on the way I was going prior to this shift.
I look forward to those weekly drives as my peaceful alone time that I can listen to a conversation and absorb new information. It’s an amazing tool and way to start the day and get motivated. The injury that I had and (still have by the way) has a bigger purpose. Yes, its a big warning sign of imbalance physically but it was also a huge callout to a change I needed mentally and will help me stay focused on a stimulating path forward as my own person.
I have compiled a list of my top five favourite podcasts right now. It will give you a glimpse into where my mind is at and I will update this list periodically to keep it current.