Having twins was hard on my body (and still is). First there is the stress of the pregnancy: the weight gain, the aches and pains, the hormonal changes, and the restricted activity. These changes stretched and strained my joints and muscles as I carried two babies and a lot of extra weight. I dealt with swollen hands and feet, light-headedness and fatigue.
After the babies are born, there was healing after a c-section. It took time for my body to recover after giving birth. In my case the doctor recommended restricted activity for 6 weeks, but my incision was uncomfortable for more than 6 months. Of course the first days and weeks were hardest while my body was healing and I was breastfeeding two babies. I was tired and sore.
Then caring for two babies was hard on my body. The repetitive actions of lifting babies, carrying babies, bending over to bath, dress and change babies, and the hours of holding and feeding babies are all focused more on caring the baby than on good posture. Over time, sitting in uncomfortable positions wore on my body. And having two babies and a toddle to care for didn’t leave much time for exercise or taking care of myself.
And then the babies got bigger and heavier and more active. Lifting babies, car seats and diaper bags strengthens some muscles but also puts strain on my body. Hoisting a double stroller in and out of the car made it harder. I definitely get more active as the girls got more active, but again I was too busy caring for them to look after myself.
My girls are 16 months and not yet walking, so I’m not sure of what new challenges they have for my body. I hoping that when they start walking my back will have a chance to rest and heal. Fortunately, the discomfort caused by my feet flattening from the weight gain has improved with custom orthotics, but my doctor says I’ll just have to live with some of the post-pregnancy issues I’ve developed.
I’ve finally got enough of a routine in my life and some childcare options that allow me to go to the gym and to yoga. I’m trying to incorporate more activity in to our daily routine now that the weather is improving. One added benefit is that fresh air makes everyone sleeps better. Looking after my body definitely makes it easier to look after my children. It also gives me a chance to think about something other than who needs my attention now. The benefits are obvious, but sometimes it is hard to get motivated to go to the gym after a long day.
How do you care for your body/yourself? How do you keep motivated when you’re tired? What are the benefits that make it worth the effort?