by: Emma Aguirre
February 9, 2011

Before being pregnant, I had major body image issues. I’ve yet to meet one woman who doesn’t. I was a healthy eater, I was a Spinning instructor at one point, ran a few races and enjoyed the benefits. I battled with my weight since I was a teen and I was finally in a good place about my body. My pregnancy really changed my perspective though. For the better.

I delivered my daughter vaginally, something I wasn’t sure I was mentally or physically strong enough to do. I had an epidural (which I slept through most of!) and a painless labor and delivery. It CAN happen and I look back in total amazement. Not only did my body help this little girl grow and develop with little help from me, protecting her from harm, but it delivered my daughter in a way that many only hope for. My body is an incredible thing and I owe it to myself – and to my daughter – to treat it right. So, I’m back on the health kick and hoping I can shed the last 10 pounds of baby weight, but I’m actually ok if I don’t. I’m adjusting to this new shape and reminded every day, whether I like it or not, that I grew a human in there! I’ve realized it’s more important to be healthy and be a good role model for my daughter who will grow up in a world where a woman’s body is scrutinized unfairly by her peers and by herself.

So with that thought in mind, I try to go to Tuesday’s mom and me yoga class as part of my weekly work out routine. I’ve always been a yogi and consider myself pretty good at it. I did the prenatal class and firmly believe that it contributed to my labor and delivery experience. This week was like no other week. I learned that my lower back and my lower abdominal muscles are shot. This was by far the toughest class I’ve done. No matter how much I breathed, sweated, pushed, pulled, there were some poses I simply could not maneuver my body into. Talking to my daughter, the instructor said, “Mommy got you out, she can do this no problem!” I was thinking, “No…no…that was easy in comparison!”

I think my low back is weak because of the epidural and I’ve often heard women talk about it, especially older women. I doubted in this day and age there would be lasting effects. It didn’t hurt at the time – the IV was worse – but I can really feel it when I bend now and when I do yoga (if I had to do it again, I would still get the epidural. This is a small price to pay!). I may have to add Pilates to my workout and I’m considering going to see a chiropractor. I need to nip this in the bud. I wasn’t a big pregnant lady by any means. I gained a healthy 26 pounds and measured on the small side prompting lots of testing toward the end of my pregnancy.

My lower abs – gut, belly, tummy, the pooch, we all have our name for it – have gotten considerably firmer over time but are still so flabby despite hours of sit ups, so I’m going to quit sit ups. I just don’t think they’re helpful at all in this battle! Instead I’m opting for more core workouts targeting that dreadful area and my low back. I’ll also keep going to yoga – this week’s class really kicked my behind and reminded me about muscles I forgot I had! It’s just going to be a work in progress. I may have been in the best shape of my life pre-pregnancy, but post-pregnancy, I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life, pooch and all.