Back to Work

It’s hard to believe my 17 weeks of maternity leave is over. Harder to believe my baby is 17 weeks old. That’s like 4 months! I took last week and really soaked up every minute with Layla. I was anxious about going back to work and honestly wasn’t looking forward to it. The day came and I got ready, loaded all my bags up (moms have a lotttt of bags!), dropped Layla off at my parents house, and off I went. As I was pulling out of my parents drive way, I turned up the music, stepped on the gas, and felt a sense of freedom. This was the first time I’d been alone in 4 months.

I am so thankful to have supportive parents and in-laws who are able to take care of Layla while we’re working. It’s a huge relief to know I don’t have to worry about her and I know she’s in the best hands. I am also thankful that I work for a company that allowed me to take 17 weeks to bond with my new baby girl. I enjoyed every single minute of it but staying home can be hard and the days can get long.

With my first day back in the books, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I’ve always enjoyed routine and getting up, getting dressed, and getting moving. My corporate job gives me a purpose and sense of accomplishment different than that at home. It’s part of what makes me me and I’m happy to be back.

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That time I pumped on the trail

I wanted to share this for all you mommies out there who are finding balance in motherhood. I believe it is so important to continue doing what makes you happy after bringing a baby into the world.

My man and I love riding our side by side. It’s actually how we met. When Layla was 10 weeks old, we took a trip back to West Virginia to ride and celebrate our anniversary, back where it all began.

I wasn’t sure how it would go. Fortunately, my mom encouraged us to go, so I left Layla and our dog with her, along with plenty of frozen breastmilk and off we went.

We rode, rode, and rode some more. Just the two of us, back where it began. We had to stop for me to pump right there on the trail. We had a fabulous weekend and came back recharged and reminded of how much we enjoy each others company. Have you taken time out for yourself and your partner? If not, you probably should. It’ll feel good and your entire family will benefit from it.

$10 Letgo Find

I found this piece on Letgo for $10. I sent my man to check it out. He brought it home and I intended to use it as a changing table. I later changed my mind and decided I didn’t want a changing table but still had this decent piece of furniture. Since it was pretty cheap, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and paint it a robins egg blue color.

I removed all the hardware, took out the drawers, sanded it all, wiped it down and then painted it. I re-stained the top and I found some cute new drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby and boom!, I had a new buffet for my dining room. So easy and it brings me so much joy bringing a not so great piece to life with just a few simple changes. Happy DIY!

Bouncing back after baby

I posted a clip of my 9 month body transformation while I was pregnant with Layla. The human body is so amazing! What’s just as amazing is how it can transform after baby. The photos below show me 8 weeks postpartum, 12 weeks postpartum, and 15 weeks postpartum.

People ask me often how much I’m running or how much I work out and the truth is, I do it when I can. I haven’t been running much at all thanks to the not-so-pleasant weather here in western PA and the fact that my c section scar still bothers me when I run. Lately, my workouts have consisted of low impact exercises on the floor- sit ups, push ups, leg lifts, squats, etc. I also practice yoga in my living room while Layla is asleep.

The other reason (other than good genes – thanks mom!) I’ve managed to bounce back so quickly? I am breastfeeding-pumping on a regular basis. It’s no secret that breastfed burns calories and helps to contract your uterus post baby. It is imperative for me to eat right and drink plenty of water so that I can continue produce milk for Layla. So no, I’m not starving myself.

I eat right. I eat breakfast every morning, lunch every afternoon, and I cook dinner every night. I have a sensible snack when I’m hungry between meals and yes, when I crave something sweet, I eat something sweet.

Health and nutrition are so important to me. I like to look good, I like to feel good. When I feel good, I’m able to be the best version of me, which is who I need to be for Layla. I’ve still got work to do but I’m pretty proud of where I am today.

A Fit Pregnancy

Fitness is a huge part of my life and a part that I love. I am passionate about fitness and I love sharing it with others. With that being said, it was no different during my pregnancy. My first question to the doctor was “Can I still work out?” She said as long as I kept doing what I was already doing and listened to my body, I was able to continue throughout my pregnancy. So, that’s what I did.

I continued to teach and practice yoga. I teach a vigorous, vinyasa style power yoga and for me, it’s about a mental and emotional workout, as well as a physical one. I did as my doctor recommended and listened to my body. For the first couple of months, I didn’t really notice a difference in my practice other than just feeling more tired (thanks first trimester for that). Around month 4, I did notice some poses becoming more uncomfortable like many twisting poses, poses that required me to lay on my belly, and even some back bend poses. So what did I do? I listened to my body! I would either modify the pose or skip it all together! Skipping a couple poses didn’t ruin my yoga practice. If anything, it strengthened it, teaching me patience and how to take a step back and come out of the pose, rather than push myself further into it (which is what I was accustomed to doing). Even now, 3 months postpartum, I listen to my body more, I take queues from myself, sometimes going further into and sometimes coming out of poses.

But what about lifting? By no means was I lifting heavy weights but I was doing some intense workouts that did involve anywhere between 10-25lb weights. I kept at it, using my 10lb dumbbells, I continued to workout the way I love to. I needed to stay fit for myself and for the baby, I needed it physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plus, I workout in my brothers barn with other members of my family, so it’s a family affair for us all to gather in the barn for a good workout. We encourage each other, share tips and advice, and hold each other accountable. I continued to do my usual workouts, modifying and removing certain exercises that didn’t feel comfortable.

A little part of one of my workouts. This is the first selfie video I’ve recorded so pardon the amateur video quality. I was six months pregnant here.

I think part of the reason I was able to lose the baby weight so quickly is because I stayed fit throughout my pregnancy. In addition to yoga and my other workouts, I walked at least 2 miles almost every day, and I ran until it was no longer comfortable (about month 6 for me). I gained nearly 30lbs, and that was gone within a month of having Layla.

Running for 2

So ladies, keep at it as long as your doctor advises that it’s healthy for you and your baby. Most importantly, listen to your body!

The typical disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and every woman and pregnancy is different. Consult your doctor before starting a workout regimen to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Yoga After Baby

Anyone else struggle to get motivated to workout at home? I’m good once I get going but it takes me some time to get into the rhythm. I’m finally getting back into yoga after taking a couple months off when I had Layla. I love practicing yoga and I love teaching it, but it can be hard to set that time aside at home with the baby. I try to get it in while she’s napping, but so often I put dishes, laundry, cleaning, and showering ahead of yoga. Then she’s awake and I didn’t get it in. Luckily I have the best baby ever and can put her on her exercise mat while I hop on mine. Even if it’s a quick 15 minute practice, it changes my entire day and I feel a million times better. So, make that time for yourself to get it in. Whatever “it” is- do it for you. Your family will probably thank you for it too!