Before I had a baby, I wasn’t really in great shape, but I worked out pretty regularly. After my oldest was born, I was back at the gym, regularly, by the time Alex was four months. This was mainly as an escape from the baby every now and again. I never really got back to my pre-pregnancy weight after Alex since he was seven months old when I got pregnancy with baby #2. (I can hear the sighs now. Yes, I know that was crazy!)
After Anna was born, it took me six months to get myself to the gym. But upon my reemergence into the workout world, I discovered that I was already in shape. I could run a good 20-30 minutes on the treadmill without too much work and wow, I could lift weights like I could back when I was working out regularly. How, you ask, is this possible? Let me explain:
- Baby in Baby Bjorn, toddler carried on hip, diaper bag on back
- Baby in infant carrier, toddler on hip, diaper bag on shoulder
- Baby in stroller/Baby Bjorn, toddler riding on shoulders, diaper back balanced on knee
- Lifting toddler into/out of stroller with baby in Baby Bjorn
- Carrying both kids on hip, toddler carrying diaper bag
Ok, so you get the point. I was a regular workout junkie without even knowing it. I could lift and squat with the best of them with at least 40 pounds of baby/toddler on me at a given time.
Alex and Anna are now 3 ½ and 2, respectively, and really babies no more. They either walk everywhere or catch a ride in the stroller that they can climb into themselves. But this week I was forced to resort to one of my old positions of baby in stroller and older baby on shoulders due to a hurt foot and paid for this later. After a few months of workouts limited to running and kickboxing, I realized I had neglected to do and weight training. Today, on a whim, I decided to go back to the old weight routine (the one I could do when Anna was six months old) and found out that I am, indeed, out of baby shape.
While taking care of two children less than two years apart is a lot of work, what once was physical work has now become mental and emotional work. Now it’s about negotiating, scheming, creativity and planning, instead of balancing, lifting, squatting or running. For the past four years, my body which has been defined by babies—nine months of pregnancy, recovery/breastfeeding, nine more months of pregnancy, recovery/breastfeeding, heavy lifting of two children—is now defined by me. Guess, I should start going to the gym more often. Thank God they have childcare there.