To begin with, I’d like to take a moment and thank you for your prayers, support and well wishes while I was gone on maternity leave. It should come as no surprise that after a major life event, we might see the world through a different lens. I know this was true for me after the loss of my sister four years ago, and it certainly has happened again over the past four months. I have had the opportunity to reflect on the changes that occur from a twin pregnancy and becoming a new mother. I can confidently say that my life has been turned upside down in the most wonderful sort of way. One of the most beautiful observations I’ve witnessed has been watching my babies learn to move their bodies. When I untuck them from their swaddles every morning, their little arms immediately shoot up and stretch toward the ceiling. Their toes curl down with focused intention. Their eyes sparkle with excitement as their hands make their way toward their faces and gummy grins follow. The excitement of simple movement and learning the joy of their body is apparent all day long. The wonderment they express is contagious!
I think it has become part of our culture to associate or even interchange movement with exercise. Exercise can carry the connotation of a punishment for poor life decisions. You’re forced to go through the motions of exercise to burn ‘x’ amount of calories and fat. I began to appreciate the difference between exercise and movement as I attended my first post-delivery ‘exercise’ class about six weeks after my C-section. I was completely discouraged with my immobility and lack of strength. I struggled to bend over to touch my toes or even successfully complete one assisted push up. My chest was so large and engorged from breast-feeding that even lying on my stomach in defeated exhaustion was painful and embarrassingly unsuccessful. I felt defeated at how much stamina I had lost. ‘Exercise’ was awful to me! My body had lost its sense of pleasure for exercise, so long as I kept my focus on what my evolving body could not do. Even though I could not lift as heavy a weight or run as fast a pace, I could still move! I started to focus less on comparing my pre-pregnancy fitness level to my post-pregnancy self. I began thinking about the movements of my body not only when I exercise, but throughout the day. I began focusing on what my body can do – reminding myself to be kind to my body, the same gentle way I’d want to treat my son and daughter. We need to become conscious of the gift of movement that we are capable of. Our bodies were made to move! Completing a workout to achieve an external goal at the expense of not enjoying the process is shortsighted and not sustainable. Focusing on the intentional movement of my body when I swim, walk or pick up my babies has given me a greater appreciation of the gift of my body – regardless of size, shape or weight. What a blessing it has been to be reminded of the simple joy of movement from my babies. I hope you are kind to your body and find joy in the every day movements.
To Your Health,
Hope Placher, PA-C, MMS, IFMCP