After having my baby, I thought I would bounce back like every other woman on Instagram. That’s real life, right? Instead, I barely lost any weight, had severe hip pain, and experienced postpartum depression. As new moms, society expects us to be extremely grateful for our exciting new chapter, but to be honest, it’s no walk in the park.
If self-care is just about the last priority on your list as a new mom, it’s important for you to know that releasing tension, scars, and overall soreness in your body is not only physically but also mentally relieving. The better you take care of yourself, the better you feel. And we are all more loving moms when our life is in balance. Here is what helped me rehab my body after giving birth.
While delivering my daughter, I suffered vaginal tears, which — like any other tear in your skin or muscle — left a scar. Scars within our muscle tissue can be like a run in a stocking, potentially causing issues in other areas of our body (in my case, it was my hip). I ended up having to internally release my scar and, to be brutally honest, it felt like giving birth again. Every single time the nurse ran her finger over the scar, it felt like I was having a contraction. I was in tears, but I knew it would help my hip pain, and luckily it did. I am so grateful that the physiotherapist suggested a scar-tissue release. Was it awkward? Definitely. But now, I am finally pain-free.
Keep in mind that releasing a scar should happen within a year of it occurring, ideally. Some women have no symptoms at all and won’t need any treatment, while others, like myself, will.
After giving birth, a woman’s body experiences many biomechanical changes. Some areas of the body can become extremely tight and, while a massage might help, it’s hard to find the time to schedule that in when you’re taking care of your baby 24/7 and living off just a few hours of sleep.
Once you’ve given birth, it’s common to experience back pain. Fortunately, a simple myofascial release tool can take away the pain. I used the Rad Roller, which helped roll my erector muscles (a set of muscles that straighten and rotate the back) and release my entire back. The crease in the tool was perfect, making it easy to use. It also comes with a free mobile app you can download that has helpful how-to videos.
Beyond my back, my neck was constantly sore from looking down at my daughter while breastfeeding. Releasing my neck helped me remain calm and breathe deeper after long, drawn-out days. This was extremely important as I also experienced postpartum depression, which made me even more irritable and unhappy.
The reality is that new moms don’t get sleep (I was up every hour). At least once a day, our baby poops on us. When that’s not happening, we’re stressing about why they won’t stop crying. Even if we have support (like our spouse), we feel alone. In addition to that, because we’re constantly caring for the baby, our friendships, relationship, and intimacy are put on hold. There’s no doubt about it; new moms experience a tornado of change.
If there’s anything I’ve learned since giving birth to my daughter, it’s that taking care of yourself is key. Releasing my scar put a stop to the seemingly never-ending pain I was experiencing each day. Then, I made a habit of rolling my muscles because it gave me time to focus on my breath, putting me back in the present moment. Rolling is now my number one healing meditation. I no longer feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel with no sense of who I am or what I am feeling. I now tune into my body to see what it needs, allowing me to truly step into my power and be a great mother.
Alison McLaughlin is a certified yoga teacher, registered dietitian with a Masters in Public Health in Community Nutrition from Canada, and Master Trainer for Rad Mobility. Her yoga journey began five years ago, after moving to Dubai, when she noticed stress beginning to take over her life and her personality. She educates health professionals and trainers on how to use her mobility tools, helping individuals move better. She has also been chosen as a Lululemon ambassador, representing the community in Dubai and participating in events on a monthly basis. Allie combines both her nutrition education and yoga knowledge to promote a holistic approach to living.