And so last weekend I did dive back in. When I walked into the gym I felt like a kid in the candy store. I hopped on the stair step machine for 10 minutes, then the rowing machine because I didn't have a stomach to stop me. Next I returned to my Barbell Strength class. I didn't try to show off. I used low weights and took breaks often. But it felt good to do what I could do. And then, blessedly, the next day I was even a little sore. Not too much, just the good sore, that tells you you challenged yourself. I started planning my fitness future: one day a week at home with some sort of weight routine and one weekend day at the gym. Plus, I wanted to add yoga back in and extend my walks. Not too crazy, just moderate progress.
By Wednesday (without having done any of my aforementioned fitness plan) I was on antibiotics and suffering dearly with mastitis.
I knew this was the Universe telling me: "Not!"
Even though I was trying to ease my way back into fitness and take my postpartum recovery seriously, my life, like any mother's, is a brutal workout all its own. No matter how many baths I took at the end of the day (and I took a bath almost daily for a month) life's daily tasks still pack a punch that a good soak can't always relieve.
During these last few weeks I've tried to channel my friend Nina. Nina returns to her family in India after the birth of each child (she's currently there after having her third) to stay for a month or more. She takes a leave from her job as a physician, packs up her other children and goes home for the traditional Indian customs that pamper new moms. As she explained it to me once, she practically gets sequestered in a room to herself, she gets massages daily (she is from the area in India that created Ayurvedic medicine), and her baby is brought to her to nurse. Family does all the diaper duty, cooking, cleaning and caring for her other children. You might understand why she braves some 30 hours of air travel alone with three kids to get there. I imagine that Nina is pretty blissed out by now and at the end of her stay she'll feel so good she'll be dancing to Jai Ho with her friends and family (Nina is just as gorgeous as Freida Pinto, the beauty in Slumdog Millionaire).
Last week I was so sick it hurt to move my eyes (and I thought the week couldn't get worse after my last post). I'm feeling myself again thanks to antibiotics, but it makes me rethink my ambition. Part of me wants to reconsider my goals, the other part wants to tell them: "I'm just not that into you."
The fit, and especially athletes, are generally in a big hurry to get their game back on after birth. I suppose I should be, too, since my blog is about balancing fitness with motherhood. But maybe this IS the balance for me, this not doing very much, or at least what I expected. Strangely, I'm fine with that. Everyone keeps telling me (as if I don't know this already), "They grow so fast!" These first few months, these crazy, sleepless, wacky months I can make myself sick trying to get back in shape or I can hang back and watch my newborn change.
For now, I'll stick to my mental health walks and my core exercises (which The Boy can ride along for). My new goal? To feel good enough to dance to Jai Ho.