Self

One Year Postpartum: Finding my WHY

EricaFriedmanWellness

After my son was born, everything changed. I stared down at the tiny human in my arms, overcome by exhaustion, joy, and pure awe. My world would never be the same. My priorities would forever change. I was now responsible for a beautiful baby boy. I was a mom. 

Newbornbabyboy

The Transition to Motherhood

The first month at home was hard. I remember dozens of times sitting in my son’s nursery, pumping, struggling to feed, and just crying. Hormones. I found myself angry, sad, and frustrated that I couldn’t do all the things. I’ve always been fairly independent, but it was now that I needed others more than anything. 

They say it takes a village, and I 100% agree. It takes a village to raise a child, but also to care for a postpartum woman. In the weeks following Benji’s birth I saw four different doctors related to my recovery: 

  • OB/GYN
  • Women’s Health Physical Therapist 
  • Colon & Rectal Doctor -the not so pleasant side of a vaginal birth
  • Physical Therapist / Acupuncture – Still recovering from an injury sustained while pregnant

This does not count all of the strangers that offered advice in mom groups, the visits to lactation consultants, postpartum massages, and support groups. The transition was physical and emotional. It still is, one year later. 

Working Mom

I stayed home with Benji for five months. I loved watching him grow and discover the world. Although part of me wishes I had stayed home with him longer, I remember feeling anxious to head back to work. In retrospect, I don’t think it was the “work,” I craved, but rather the socialization and connection with adults, and independence. 

I took a role that at the time seemed like a perfect fit, and Benji started at daycare. My husband and I balanced two working parents’ schedules, squeezing in workouts and appointments, daycare pick up/drop-off, taking care of the dog, and everything in between. Six months in, I knew the job I had wasn’t a fit for my family. The long hours, exhaustion, and high stress were taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I made the hard decision to leave. 

I felt like a failure for a long time. I’m not someone who quits. But, ultimately I chose my son. I chose to show up as a mom. I recognize I am lucky I could make that decision. Reflecting back, I know it was the right one. 

Finding my WHY

In the early postpartum period I often felt overwhelmed with the “what to do” and “what not to do” when it came to my body. I turned to social media and the internet for my biggest questions, which often led to more confusion. 

I was cleared by my OB/GYN at five weeks postpartum, but received very little guidance on next steps. Blanket statements like “walk as long as feels comfortable,” and “just use lighter weights and modify” are not what I needed to hear. I wanted specifics. I wanted to understand the trauma of birth, how to recover, and what I needed to do for my body. Yet, that’s not (in my experience) what our medical system provides. 

I self referred to a Women’s Health Physical Therapist. At visit one we discovered a three finger wide diastasis recti, posture/alignment issues, and pelvic floor dysfunction. I often struggled to make it to the bathroom in time, which is not uncommon. My pelvic floor needed some love, and for the first time I was making the effort to learn about it. 

I quickly realized how many moms are not provided this support throughout pregnancy or during the early postpartum period. Peeing your pants may be common, but it’s not normal. You can get help. I read and hear questions like, “how soon can I run again? When will I get my body back? Should I be doing kegels?” all the time. There is so much work to be done to raise awareness and educate. 85% of women will become pregnant at some point In their lives. That’s A LOT of women.  We deserve better. 

StrongMom-EricaFriedmanWellness

What’s next? I’ve become very passionate about women’s health, and learning how to support pregnant and postpartum mamas during the biggest transition of their lives. I’m making the leap and starting my own business. I’m scared, nervous, and all the things. But, I want to make a difference. Through 1:1 training, online coaching, and mama movement meetups and events, my goal is to help moms feel strong, confident, and powerful in their bodies. I want moms to feel empowered, and have the opportunity to connect to other parents in their communities. 

My why is supporting moms. My why is helping moms navigate the transition to motherhood and return to safe movement. My why is helping every mama discover how amazing and strong her body truly is.

Together we are stronger. 

 

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