Yoga is my Postpartum Jam

It’s time to start rejecting the idea that the ultimate goal after childbirth is to “get our bodies back.” Moms have come out saying they never lost their bodies, but are instead embracing their new mom bods without shame.

That’s rad.

After my first baby was born, I noticed my body was softer. It wasn’t just my belly, but up by my breasts, around my ribs. I also had some cushy love handles. This new shape supported the nourishment my body provided to my child. It felt as if I’d gone from a pregnant body to a breastfeeding body. This mindset helped me stop thinking about my body in terms of what it looks like and started thinking about what it does. Just like in pregnancy, where we expect our bodies to change to meet the demands of growing and eventually delivering a child, the postpartum body has another purpose: sustaining life. My body is astounding even in this phase and I learned to appreciate it.

Many moms are anxious to get back into working out. There are a lot of pins on Pinterest and ads on Facebook pushing the message to “lose the baby fat.” This is alright if we keep the right mindset. But, it’s plain old harmful if we lose focus on what our bodies are made to do. If you’re going into a workout routine to maintain a specific shape or – worse – to appease the demands of your partner, you may be losing balance. But if your focus is on keeping your energy up and feeling capable again (and your body has healed from labor) activity can be a wholesome, healthy choice to help your body recover.

My regimen of choice throughout postpartum is yoga. It’s worked for me, it makes me feel good, and it’s easy to ease my body into. Here are my thoughts on doing yoga in the postpartum phase.

After two weeks, use the basics of yoga to help yourself simply feel good.

Even the basic tenets of yoga (e.g., breathing deeply and intentionally) is beneficial for the postpartum body. In the phase between my 2-week mark and my 6-week appointment, I like to just sit and breathe. Deep breathing uses your abdomen to massage your organs and nurture those parts of you that are moving back into place. Deep breathing (the kind that moves your ribs outward) is especially beneficial for cesarean scarring. It massages from the inside and prevents unwanted fusions from forming between tissues. This is huge, and can allow moms to avoid health problems later on, like migraines and back pain. Hallelujah!

When I want to do some deep breathing, I’ll hand the baby off to someone else. This way, I don’t have to be on guard while trying to relax (impossible!). I’ll choose a position that I’m in the mood for (usually savasana, but sometimes it’s sukhasana. Or I’ll place an exercise ball against the wall and lean my back against it with my head resting near the top of the ball. My arms naturally fall back and this opens up my chest. So relaxing!). Then it’s as simple as it sounds: I just breathe in and out in a deep and relaxed way for a few minutes. Usually, that’s enough to loosen up my body and help me feel rejuvenated.

Before doing a physically strenuous yoga routine, get your primary care provider's concurrence at your 6-week postpartum appointment.

Six weeks sounds like a long time to not work out. But your body is actually experiencing a recovery process. You have a plate-sized wound in your uterus where the placenta detached, and the old mantra still holds true: “rest is best” for healing. While you are recovering, choose low-impact activities, according to your own limits, like short walks outside (fresh air being the added benefit) or simple stretching.

After I get the approval from my midwife and I know I’ve healed well, I take to YouTube to seek out Postpartum-specific yoga routines. I find they’re meant to loosen up your body and nurture the recovery phase. They’re usually very simple, but you’ll find it’s more than enough. Find my favorite playlist from Sarah Beth Yoga here.

From there, work your way up!

Once you start feeling really good and you have no hiccups (like recurrent bleeding or exhaustion), up the ante as you see fit! Start doing yoga routines that build strength, muscle, and tone. Find a class at a local studio (this is also a great place to meet other moms!). Research yoga classes and workout groups that are geared towards moms; often, you can work out with your baby in tow! Fit4Mom is a great place to start.

Before you know it, you’ll feel great, your life will start to feel more balanced, and who knows, you may even “get your body back” on accident!

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Instacart: A Review

We surveyed moms about a year ago to ask them: “What challenges did you face postpartum?” Was it family balance? Nutrition? Breastfeeding? Knowing how to care for a newborn? It was a great discussion because many different topics came up, and I was even surprised a little by the results (I faced different challenges than other moms did and I realized that everyone’s postpartum experience can be so different).

One thing that came up was running errands. This was something I myself found to be very difficult. I had to (a) get myself out of the house, while recovering from childbirth, enduring a dodgy sleep rhythm, and having no energy, (b) get the baby out of the house in hopes that they wouldn’t need to nurse or poop, and (c) get my other children (hopefully fed, rested and happy) along for the ride! A grocery run was always quite a feat at that point.

In spite of all the challenges, I love grocery shopping. Planning ahead and making decisions in the moment, I find it to be a fun process. And after these many years, I know what we like and appreciate being to shop for my family.

This is the age of convenience, though. Why haven’t I tried the ubiquitous delivery service that every store now offers? I let go of the reins and decided to try Instacart for myself. I believe this company is nation-wide, or the closest thing to it; and people are loving it! I gave it a shot and here are my thoughts.

PROS:
  • Obviously – convenience! It didn’t take me long at all. Selecting which store they’d be shopping at, where I live, and when I want the delivery to come was all very simple.
    • I could also put in all of my payment information, including what I wanted to tip my shopper! I didn’t have to do anything on the tail end except receive my groceries and get them put away in the kitchen.
    • They also keep you updated. Notifications are sent to your phone when your shopper starts the process, when she replaces something, when she’s finished, and when the driver is on their way.
  • Good choices. There were no impulse buys from wandering a grocery store avoiding well placed treat tables and ignoring incessant requests for gummy worms and Cheez Its. I was also at home, so last-minute decisions (oh, I want to make muffins this week!) were easy to look up in my recipe book (see here!) instead of having to rely on my terrible memory.
  • Simple delivery. Instacart offers 1-hour delivery time slots. Many grocery stores themselves offer time slots based on delivery fee (e.g., you pay more for a 1-hour window and 4-hour windows are cheaper). Having all 1-hour slots means you don’t have to plan your entire day around being home for when your groceries show up and you have more flexibility (always a plus when children are involved).
  • It seems they thought of everything. You can even choose a replacement while your shopper is in action. Store out of the ketchup you requested? Choose a good second choice!
CONS:
  • Paper waste. We usually bag our groceries in reusable cloth bags, but that wasn’t really an option here. My 4 bags of groceries were all paper double-bagged, so I ended up with 8 paper bags! It just seemed excessive after using cloth bags for so long.
  • Multiple fees. I expected delivery fees, of course, and I knew I would tip my shopper. There was also a service fee to support their insurance, background checks, and customer support. It’s all fairly reasonable, but it would add up quickly over the month of using grocery delivery.
    • Delivery fee ($3.99) + service fee ($3.43) + tip (they suggest %5, and I rounded up to $5) = $12.42.
    • I don’t want to spend $12 on top of my groceries every time.
    • They do offer a plan for free deliveries for $99/year. I think this is a good way to keep your fees down, if you plan to use Instacart all the time. Of course, it doesn’t eliminate tip, which is a must for your shopper.

In the end:

I thought Instacart was a great service and very well implemented. For my family, though, I’m still inspired to shop myself. I know for a fact I’ll use Instacart through challenging times – my next postpartum phase, illness, a death in the family, or even if we just have a particularly crazy week. It’s nice to have the option, but I don’t think I’ll use it on a regular basis.

I can tell you, though, that it’s worth trying once to see how you like it and if it works for your family. Maybe that unlimited deliveries subscription is something that would work for and benefit your busy life!

Check out Instacart here.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Why I Love Whole Grains

I never intended to become a domestic fairy, but it happened anyway. When I first married my husband at 23, I didn’t know how to cook.

Let THAT sink in! Eesh!

The silver lining is that I got to learn! I got to experiment and try new things and develop my own style. I got to follow food and baking blogs and learn on my own. I loved the process. I sifted through food ideologies and discovered Michael Pollen and his In Defense of Food. My personal mantras lend themselves to pursuing the natural ways of the world, and I never realized how unnatural a lot of our food could be!

This is when I stumbled upon whole grains. I’m not talking about buying “whole-wheat” flour and bread, I’m talking about oatmeal and quinoa and barley and farro and millet and bulgur, oh my! Ever heard of those last few? That’s why I love whole grains: I discovered a whole slew of new things and a new way of cooking that I never experienced growing up.

There are a few diet trends lately that exclude whole grains, but before you discredit them completely, know that they come with many health benefits. They reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. They can lower your cholesterol and contain essential phytochemicals and antioxidants. Oh, and they’re yummy.

Adding whole grains to your food plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, they are a great addition to standard meals, or can replace boring staples like plain rice and oatmeal. Here are my highlights:

  • They make great salads, which make excellent leftovers for quick, hearty and transportable snacks.
  • They’re easy to add produce to (think berries and fruit to porridges and fresh vegetables and greens to salads) and promote the best things to have in your diet.
  • They’re cheap! Try any health food bulk section and you’ll be surprised what you can come away with for 5 bucks.
  • They’re fun to discover! When I made my first quinoa taco salad, it blew my mind! I’ve been cooking with whole grains for about 4 years, and I have yet to try amaranth, buckwheat, and sorghum. Can’t wait!
  • They are easy to cook up and can be added to any meal (think brown rice to enchiladas, couscous to curry, barley or wild rice to soup). Extra credit: cook them with homemade vegetable stock for added flavor and nutrition (see here)!

Here are my favorite recipes so far:

Millet Breakfast Porridge (we make this at least 3 times a week!)

Farro + Kale Salad (currently in my fridge)

Barley + Lentil Soup

Thai Farro Salad

High Protein Bulgur Black Bean Chili

Quinoa Oats

Quinoa Taco Salad

And next on my list to try:

Nourishing Coconut Milk Oatmeal

Cinnamon Buckwheat Groats

Morning Glory Oats

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup

Have fun with whatever you try! I started with the Creative Ways with Whole Grains class from Craftsy (see here); it’s a good place to start and it’s free!

And now I spend my days dreaming of our future pantry. It has spice jars for bulk-bought spices, bins for all our baking ingredients (no more flour dust storms!), and … a whole shelf filled with containers of whole grains. Ooooohhh, the dreams of a domestic fairy. 🧚

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Why Kid Independence is Not a Case Against Co-Sleeping

As I mentioned in our post Taking A Second Look at Co-sleeping (see here), we love bedsharing. I did my research weighing the pros and cons of co-sleeping during my first pregnancy. The more I read, the more the arguments that are used against co-sleeping fell down around me, including the idea that if you don’t sleep your baby by themselves, they’ll never learn to sleep alone or self-soothe and they’ll struggle to be independent in general.

As a zoology major in college, I took an Animal Behavior of Primates course. In this class, they discussed the progression of newborns from infancy to adolescence. Primates start their life literally attached to their mothers. They’re carried all the time and slept with mom. They’re no more than arms-length from their mother, most of the time clutching their mother’s hair with their grippy little fists.

Over time, though, primate mothers let them wander and quit pulling back their little ones. And when they’re old enough, the mothers are literally pushing them away. Intuitively, this feels right. I had a sense, even then as a young woman, there is a similarity between raising a human baby and how primates raise their young. So, why is society saying something else?

I’m not sure who came up with this notion on independent baby sleep or how, but I was sure boggled by it when deciding how I would sleep our baby. How are they determining this? Is it opinion or actually backed by scientific research?

But most of all: What if they’re right?! You hear an idea over and over again, and sure enough, you start to believe it. I was planning to stay home with our baby for the foreseeable future. What if you can become too attached, and suddenly your kid can’t function without you??

Then my husband blew my whole mind wide open when he said (nonchalantly, of course; and now it’s one of the defining moments of my mothering journey): “Well Carrie, independence comes from a feeling of security.”

🤯

Huzzah!

This led me to put my faith in the opposite idea. What if kids practice curiosity and independence naturally when they’re kept as close as they want to be? What if having affection boosts your sense of self-worth? What if having someone respond to you when you cry tells you that you’re valuable? And what if knowing the value you have in your family and home inspires your ability to function in the world?

It sure made sense to me. And now that our oldest is 5 years old, we can affirm that this beautiful idea is true. At least in our experience. I am actually surprised by his independence, because I certainly didn’t teach him how! Let me give you a few examples:

  • When enrolling him in preschool, I figured I would forgo the bus option and drive him in myself. His younger brother, a 3-year-old, wasn’t allowed to take the bus yet but would need to be driven in 3 times a week anyway. My 5-year-old begged to be allowed to take the bus. So, I put him on the bus route. From day 2 of preschool (day 1 was orientation with parents), he flew on that big yellow bus with no second thought. It’s now his favorite thing.
  • I lose him at church. He prefers to be with other people. And he finds his buddies at coffee hour.
  • He takes overnights away from us with his grandparents without struggle. He went tent camping with his grandpa last summer, and spent a weekend up north with my parents. He loved it all!
  • He sleeps with his younger brother with no issues and no parent. Bedtime is a breeze. We read something to them and they pass out until morning. Somewhere along the way, he learned to self-soothe without training. Of course, he still ends up in bed with us from time to time, but it’s not anything we resist or are frustrated by.

Now, of course other sleeping options are necessary for different families. I’m not saying ALL must co-sleep! I’m just suggesting that to be wary of co-sleeping for fear of developing a leech child has no ground to stand on. It’s simply not true. So, if you feel that safe co-sleeping is for you and it’s the best sleeping arrangement for your family, do it! You may just be pleasantly surprised by how independent your co-sleeper turns out to be.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Cheer Here: Take What You Can Get

Somewhere along the way, I stopped expecting *me* time. When you’re a young mother, everyone emphasizes its importance to you. That you need to find time for yourself – everyday! – in order to stay balanced, to be the best mom you can be. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE an uninterrupted hour on a daily basis. I’m an introvert; it’s how I recharge. I was able to get me time when I had one kid who napped. But after #2 came along, me time became elusive! And since I had grown to expect it, I was bitter when I didn’t have it for a week straight. Honestly, not having me time on a regularly basis was somewhat inevitable, but its loss was upsetting.

I prescribe to Attachment Parenting. For me, this means that – at least initially, when they are young – I’m never away from them. Even when they’re napping, they’re napping on me. When they’re sleeping, they’re sleeping with me. Heck, when they’re eating, they’re eating from me! There isn’t a lot of wiggle room to accommodate time to myself; it takes a lot of intention and assistance from another adult to get any.

Now that I have three children, me time is more out of reach than ever. So, instead of grappling for time to myself, I take what I can get and practice gratitude for whatever it is or however much it is. For me, it means ignoring thoughts on the me time I didn’t get that week, and being thankful for what I did get. This way of thinking has made me much happier. If I’m home with our kids and I sit down with the crossword (yes, I do crosswords, and next week I’ll get my AARP card) only to get interrupted with a poopy diaper, I try to think, Awesome! Five minutes of crossword fun! Instead of, Ugh! I just sat down!

It’s the small things: a square of dark chocolate savored (quickly and discreetly) in the kitchen. Coffee that’s lukewarm instead of ice cold. A bright and sunny day to enjoy. Ten minutes to crochet (again, AARP!).

There’s a bit of joy to be found in the little things, and I’ve learned in this tumultuous journey of daily motherhood (harder than any other job I’ve had!), I always get what I need right when I need it. As long as I’m looking. If I choose to be blind to the good things around me, if I’m determined to focus on the negatives, then I will be. I’ll be negative. Understanding that good things are there and that it’s worth just taking what I can get helps me weather this season of life and be full of joy instead of grumps.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.