Birth changes you forever in myriad ways. Serious lifestyle changes demand your energy: Staying up all night nursing a baby, rather than say, nursing a sweet glass of wine with dinner. And then there are the physical changes—too numerous to list, really. Breasts, belly, lady parts, all so very, very different, although those changes are not all that unexpected.
What can catch you by surprise are the random body aches and pains that come from bearing and raising children.
“I have low back pain so intense it hurts to sneeze. I haven’t been able to run in 10 days. I am referring to it as ‘phantom twin-pregnancy back pain’ because last time I felt this way I had 60 lbs protruding from my belly. I am doing all the ‘right things’ to get better, but mentally I’m starting to feel down about not being able to move (even picking up my son) the way I want.”
Now I’m no runner, but I can only imagine that for triathlete Kara, 10 days without hitting the road is painful in more ways than one. Her complaint reminds me of my own experiences with postpartum lows of various sorts. When the physical strain of motherhood takes its toll on you, here are a few mental, emotional, and spiritual pick-me-ups to help you cope:
Give yourself extra attention and TLC, and lots of praise for shifting out of negative thinking when you catch yourself doing it.
Gratitude meditation and an invitation for your back (or injured area, or negative feedback loop) to “tell” you more: “Thank you for bringing my attention deeper into my body (breathe into the painful area); what is needed here?” Sit and listen to what comes up for you as you consider the message your body is sending you.
Spend time journaling—short, timed, keep-the-pen-moving writing sessions on prompts that metaphorically relate to what you’re feeling in your body. For back pain or injury, your writing might reveal:
- I’d like more support for…
- What’s undermining my support system is…
- I feel out of alignment with…
Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then go! With no judgment, a good pen, and your internal censor set to “off,” you’ll have better access to your intuition and inner wisdom.
Spend time “earthing,” which is to say: get outside! 20 minutes outside, flat on your back on the ground (in this case, with your knees bent and resting on each other, feet wider than hip distance apart, to take the pressure out of your low back), eyes closed or softly gazing at the sky. Breathe fully.
How do you ease your aches & pains?
What tools do you rely on, mamas, for getting you through situations that are bringing you down physically or emotionally? What resources do you use to heal?