Children Are No Excuse to Ignore Our Health

September 10, 2014

I can’t scream loud enough how much I love all of these campaigns that celebrate the different sizes and shapes of women’s bodies. I especially like the post pregnancy blogs that celebrate stretch marks, love handles, saggy boobs and more.

I am a mom of three who marvels every day at the amazing things our bodies do to bring life into this world and I support every blogger who would rather cuddle their babies in the months after childbirth, rather than diet to a size two. I also balk at the public expectation of celebrities to return to their pre-baby weight a mere weeks after childbirth. This is not in the best interest of mommies or babies.

I agree, I am with you.

However, I would also like to advocate that having children is not an excuse to ignore our physical or mental health.

Pregnancy Health

Being pregnant is not an excuse to eat whatever is in sight and gain 100 lbs. That is not healthy. Nor is it healthy to sit around and not exercise. In fact, it’s documented that pregnant women who exercise have easier pregnancies and easier labors. They recover faster from childbirth and have babies who are healthy size. A healthy diet makes it easier to return to your pre-baby weight too. There is just no excuse to not be healthy, especially when children give us so much to live for and require lots of energy to raise.

With all three of my pregnancies, I ran and worked out. Now, that does not make me a hardcore exercise freak, because I am not. I ran, but in moderation. I allowed myself to run slower and I stopped when I was out of breath or when things hurt. I listened to my body to find a healthy happy-medium. With my last pregnancy, I specifically lifted weights to strengthen my upper back muscles, knowing that it had to support lots of extra weight and it helped immensely. I did not have the same back pain and I was better able to support the added weight of the baby.

This method has proved successful for me, but it doesn’t have to be everyone’s method. Just walking is great exercise.

Post-Pregnancy Health

I had 3 c-sections, recovered fairly quickly and bounced back to pre-pregnancy weight quickly. After my babies I couldn’t wait to get out and exercise again. Babies do consume lots of time, but I was home recovering, so what was my excuse to not get out for a short walk?

But I listened to my body. I started with very slow walks around the block, just to get out. Eventually I was able to work my way up to running again about 4-5 weeks postpartum. I did this in moderation and did not push myself.

I do not advocate for everyone to do this. We are all different. My point is that being pregnant or having children is not an excuse for us to ignore our health, and although I want to celebrate women’s bodies in all shapes and sizes, I want us to be real. If we don’t want to be healthy, that is your choice, it is no one’s fault but your own and let’s leave our kids out of this.

Yes they can and do make it harder, but it is not their fault. We can still strike a balance, spend 90% of the day cuddling and loving our babies, and still get a moderate level of exercise in.

So let’s hike up our saggy breasts, pull some shorts on over our love handles and stretch marks, and get outside for some vitamin D and exercise that will help establish days and nights for our babies, motivate sleepless parents and do something healthy for ourselves.

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