The teacher becomes the student

As someone who recently had a baby, I can fully appreciate the desire a lot of my postpartum clients voice to “get their body back”. I totally get it - for 10 months you watched your body morph into a shape that can house another human, and then you had the baby and just want to feel and look like yourself again. But getting there is a delicate balance of patience and progress, and fully appreciating everything your body has been through.

When I’m working with a new postpartum client, I always start with an assessment of their core. Is it strong/weak/overactive/underactive, do they have a diastasis, any pelvic floor dysfunction, any imbalances, or any aches and pains they didn’t have before pregnancy. Then based on what they tell me and what I observe, I determine which exercises are most appropriate. For the first few weeks, the exercises may seem too easy because they aren’t feeling the muscle burn they are used to when working out, and they will tell me they want to kick it up a notch. The truth is, rebuilding and retraining the core muscles is a huge endeavor that actually feels very subtle because we can’t see the progress. We are working the innermost muscles in the body which have a huge impact on everything we do and everything we feel.

I know all this, and yet, at my pelvic floor physical therapy session last week, I told her I was ready to amp up the core work. I wanted to be pushed. So she had me do a few exercises to test my core strength and it turned out I was right where I needed to be - I wasn’t ready yet to move forward. It was an amazing learning opportunity for me and helped me better understand how to meet my clients where they are. It showed me to trust the process - my process - and my body, and take it one step at a time.