My little girl arrived on 23 July, 9 days late, 10lbs (!) and was a horrible birth. She was a back to back labour, forceps delivery, I suffered a third-degree tear and had to have two blood transfusions. 8 weeks later when I started to feel depressed, a failure, emotional and irritable with everyone around me I went to see a counsellor. She said that I had baby blues but due to my lack of support it is turning into post-natal depression. I actually wasn’t that shocked.
Now there actually wasn’t/isn’t a huge amount I can do about the lack of support so I thought to myself (after a lot of tears to my fiance) right I need to put my big girl knickers on and get a grip on this before it spirals. What can I use, how can I get out of this rut, because let’s face it 12 hours sleep isn’t going to come any time soon!
Exercise…my outlet, my stress reliever. I exercised when I was pregnant right up until about 7 months and was a fitness junkie beforehand. Training 4-5 times a week and teaching at evenings and weekends. I needed that back in my life. Something I had control over, something that made me feel better about myself, something that made me sleep better. I also started having anxiety from my lack of sleep.
That was it, I started once a week, then twice a week and now I aim for three times a week (if I can). Don’t get me wrong I still have bad days, bad nights, days where I don’t get dressed all day BUT I make sure I get a workout in three times a week. To save my sanity. Something for me. Something I have control over. I don’t particularly like what I see when I look in the mirror as I’m sure many of us don’t, but if I exercise I am doing something about that. Changing what I don’t like. Us humans are guilty of moaning but not doing anything about it. So I’m here writing this to tell you that it is VITAL that you do it! It is so unbelievably important, as a mum, to find something that separates you from your baby. Your downtime even if it’s just 20 minutes. Most of the time you probably won’t want to exercise but think about how much better you will feel afterwards. Exercise is the most underused antidepressant. The endorphins and that ‘feel good factor’ that is produced after you exercise, naturally alleviates stress and tiredness.
So here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re going to warm up for a minimum of 2-3 minutes, get that heart rate up. I jog around my bedroom (!) Pick 5 exercises – I suggest target areas you don’t like that much so maybe legs, bum and arms. Once you have your five you’re going to perform them back to back, have a 30 second – 1 minute rest then repeat again 3-5 times.
After you’ve worked up a sweat you’re going to stretch, have a shower, sit down and wait for the baby to wake up!
Roxie is a personal trainer who specialises in pre and postnatal fitness. You can follow her on Instagram @roxfitt