Each mom has their own unique birth story. This past year I had the privilege of being part of a local mom’s journey towards postpartum healing. Here is a part of her story.
I had an 11 pound, 24-inch long baby girl in September 2018. I labored for five days before I gave birth at home to my giant child. Postpartum felt like I had been ran over by a big rig truck and dragged 100 miles down the freeway. During pregnancy, I tried to do as much research possible to prepare myself for the postpartum period, often called the fourth trimester. But as most moms tell first-time moms, there’s not much you can actually prepare for. It’s hard to describe. However, as I stand 15 months postpartum, here is my experience I’d like to pass on to any new mom or expecting mom reading this.
Signs that something was off…
1. I had absolutely zero energy for months on end.
I constantly felt like I had just had a baby even at 10 months postpartum. My baby started sleeping through the night at four months. Why in the world did I still feel foggy, depleted, and exhausted all day? I am an Army veteran and have been an athlete my entire life. It is my lifestyle to MOVE. I could not move my body to exercise. I was too tired.
2. When I went for walks, it felt like I was Bambi.
I was always tripping and felt wobbly on my feet. My body didn’t feel like my body.
3. My brain was foggy.
I literally couldn’t remember things for more than 10 minutes. When speaking I’d forget basic vocabulary words. My husband was always making comments about my mom brain.
4. I still looked pregnant.
In fact, people would always ask me if I was pregnant already…6 months after giving birth to my daughter . Truth be told, I still felt pregnant.
5. It didn’t matter how much abdomen exercises I was doing.
6. I could not hold my urine in.
If I had to urinate, I knew for a fact that I needed to find a bathroom instantly or I was going to pee my pants. I could not hold my urine in. If I sneezed, jumped or jogged, it was time to change my underwear.
7. Intimacy was uncomfortable.
Being intimate with my husband was uncomfortable and sometimes was too painful to continue.
8. I couldn’t lose weight.
I eat healthy. And with the efforts to workout (despite the exhaustion), I could not lose weight to save my life.
At 10 months postpartum is when I met Justine Calderwood at The Healing Spot. Justine is a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor for women. To describe what happened often brings tears to my eyes. I was living in a dark, muted world that often gets labeled as postpartum depression. Everything felt heavy and exhausting. But after three visits with Justine, a light switch was turned on. The dark room became flooded with sunlight.
My brain cleared.
The fog was gone.
My mind came back.
My steps literally became lighter.
Something really changed for the better.
What I’ve learned is that my hips were in the open birthing position.
This means that for the previous 10 months, my body was being told that I was still in labor. Therefore, it was keeping my muscles loose and my abdomen soft. My cervix wasn’t truly healing because it was still being told a baby needed to come through. Justine determined this within the first 15 minutes of our appointment. Through her gentle adjustments, my hips went back into their normal position and miraculously my body changed almost overnight. Please reference the picture below, as it’s hard for me to even believe what has happened. Because what happened in just three appointments, I knew that it was critical that I do a complete package of 10 appointments with Justine. If I didn’t, it would be like working out for two weeks and saying, “That’s good enough, I don’t need to train anymore for my marathon that’s next year.”
I went from barely being able to work out twice a week to hiking almost every day for an hour with my daughter. I’ve lifted weights since I was a teenager and hadn’t been able to touch them since giving birth. But after completing my therapy package with Justine, I’m lifting weights again, I go to barre three times a week, yoga once a week, and I look forward to spending time with my husband. I’ve lost all my baby weight and then some, in just three months. The results are incredible. The proof is undeniable!
The bottom line is that I want more children.
The way I was feeling for the first 10 months did not make me want anymore. But now through my experience with Justine and pelvic floor recovery, I’m ready to keep growing my family. I am excited for what the future holds. And I’m even more excited to experience the postpartum journey with this new information.
Don’t settle. We want to thrive, not survive. And finally, while peeing your pants because you sneezed is common in women, it is not normal. As women, we must advocate for our health. Our intuition is powerful and we cannot ignore it. We deserve the very best.
~Sarah H, Colorado Springs
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written by yours truly.