On Nov. 2, I gave birth to my eighth child, a very healthy and handsome baby boy. And just like every other pregnancy, after one look in the mirror and feeling my post-baby belly, I knew I had some work to do.
However, unlike previous pregnancies, I am not worried about hitting the gym to tighten up my abs and tone up other areas. I'm not even concerned about doing a significant amount of cardio to help slim down my waistline.
There are many different ways for mothers of young babies to get back to their pre-pregnancy fitness routines and each woman needs to figure out what works for her and for that particular pregnancy.
This time around, I have decided to let nature take its course. Because motherhood by nature, I have found, is designed to help us get back on our feet from the very beginning.
From the first time I nurse my baby, my uterus starts to contract and shrink. And with subsequent feedings, it continues to do so until it is back to its normal size, allowing me to finally fit back into normal clothes. Nursing also helps burn fat and calories in a very useful way, might I add.
But, as much as it may seem like it, having a newborn isn't just about feedings. It includes constant diaper changes and oodles of laundry and other household chores often done while holding the baby. Talk about major arm, back, ab and cardio workouts when doing these things with a baby in tow!
And if you have other children, a good portion of your day is also spent burning calories as you prepare meals, clean up messes and do laundry, among other things.
Did I mention laundry?
Being a new mom, I am convinced, was not designed to be a sedentary lifestyle — and that includes the nighttime hours.
This is the part when letting nature take its course is not all that wonderful. The late night feedings, diaper changes, and time spent getting boogers out of my baby's nose with that suction thing is not my idea of a good time, nor is it helpful to my physical and mental health.
That's when I am grateful for the time during the day when I am forced to sit and feed my baby.
Yes, once again, nursing my baby helps me by giving me several times during the day when I can relax and even catch up on snippets of sleep I may have missed during the night — all while burning calories.
But before you think I'm giving up running and regular exercise for good, think again. In addition to my physical health, I have my mental well-being that I need to take care of.
And what better place to let nature take its course than in nature itself? Going for walks, hikes and runs in the great outdoors allows me time to unwind and gain mental composure — especially after a sleepless night with the newest member of our family.