By Naomi van Jaarsveld
“How to speed up your C-section recovery?” Click.
When my son asks me a question and I say that I don't know the answer, his six year old response is "just google it". Yet after my emergency C-section six years ago it took less than a second and I was faced with over 2,330,000,000 results claiming they had the answer to my questions. Yikes!
No wonder I was overwhelmed and confused on what to do.
And I’m sure I'm not the only one.
Have you ever googled “how to exercise after a C-section” or “how to speed up my C-section recovery”?
After having a C-section the drive and desire to “quickly heal” or get back ‘normal’ can be so high on our priority list. Sometimes to the point where we skip over some important keys of who we are getting the advice from.
- So where do you go when you want to know what you should do to recover?
- And how do you know who to trust and who to take a wide berth around?
- When is the right time to begin and how do you know when it is safe to do certain exercises?
Well ladies, my hope is that by the end of this blog series you will feel more confident in what your next step could be.
Because how many know that being a mum has enough challenges to navigate.
So let's get to it.
Why My Approach To C-Section Recovery Changed.
There is a real art to creating the right approach for your journey. After all, your body has gone through a lot, growing a baby/ies AND having major abdominal surgery.
When I first began as a personal trainer (PT), the world's view of what a personal trainer was, were trainers from the Biggest Loser. These trainers were known for yelling and screaming and pushing their clients till they vomited, forcing their bodies to do things they weren’t ready for in the name of getting results as quickly as possible.
The whole ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy was king, I trained my clients that way (minus the yelling and making them vomit) and I trained myself this way too. And to be honest I loved it and so did my clients. The nick name the "happy assassin" fitted me to a tee.
Yet after facing some significant injuries that prevented me from achieving my own goals for years, I learnt the invaluable lesson that: our bodies deserve greater respect and understanding.
It can be easy to give up on a dream when you don’t see a way forward, right?
That was me for nine years. Frustrated, stuck, confused and in need of help.
Our bodies are incredible. They have been designed so intricately and wired beyond our understanding. As I learnt to approach my own training more holistically I began to see results I didn't know were possible. The knowledge I had gained through study and the wisdom I gleaned from specialist physios, osteopaths, nutritionists and other health care professionals led this change.
But I had to start way back at the beginning. Beyond what I thought was basic. I had to slow down, to speed up. I had to start with what many (including myself) saw as the boring stuff. What seemed insignificant. Yet day by day, week by week as I applied myself and I surrendered myself to the process, I started to see a change. My body started to heal, and strengthen.
I went from NOT being able to run more than 100 meter before being in excruciating pain, to running a marathon completely pain free. I ran with a smile on my face because I was experiencing what success felt like, a dream realized.
So to be able to come to a place where I had a healed, restored and strong body was incredible. I was able to function more effectively than ever before. This changed my approach to how I trained people forever.
But when I had my emergency C-section this new approach to training became all the more real. I had never faced a challenge like this before.
Pushing through wasn't an option. So I was patient. I waited. I walked. I was careful with my movements. I followed the guidelines.
And YET...around the time when I should have been getting the "all clear" to return to normal exercise...I injured my back. Any sort of confidence disappears. I felt lost, confused, alone, frustrated and gutted. I knew my body was capable of so much more, yet I felt trapped and unsure of my next step.
It was time to go back to basics again, but at a whole new level.
You see our bodies are incredible - but we need to learn to honor the journey that they have already walked:
- We’ve been pregnant, our bodies have grown a human! WOOOOOW! It still blows my mind.
- We’ve been through major abdominal surgery with our C-section to bring our little ones into this world. Ouch and WOOOOW.
Now our bodies have the opportunity to once again become healed, restored and strong and without limitations.
- How does that make you feel?
- Does it give you hope for your own body and situation?
- Or have you been walking this journey for a while now but haven’t succeeded yet. So along the way you've lost hope.
Your current reality doesn’t have to stay that way. But it is a journey. It takes intentional effort and it takes time.
Unfortunately yes -longer than we would like. There are no ‘quick fixes’ or ‘short cuts’ for this recovery. The truth is we need to slow down to speed up.
But what would happen if we were to honor the incredible body that we have been given and slow down? Giving it the tools to heal well, restore functionality and gradually improve our strength.
I believe we'd be unstoppable.
What does your dream look like? Do you want to be able to run confidently again? Or to be able to jump on the tramp with your kids? To be able to wear that favorite pair of jeans again with confidence. Or to be able to independently bath your baby without pain?
Am I willing to honor my body and the journey that it has been through? Am I willing to slow down and take the time to progressively work towards my ideal healed, restored and strong body?
If the answer is yes, then I have hope for you.