“There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.” – Ina May Gaskin

So many changes happen to us after we give birth to our children. I would argue that the most monumental change that usually goes the longest without being addressed is the impact of child-birth and child rearing on our bodies. After all, we are consumed with taking care of a newborn; figuring out our role as a mother with this new addition; and doing our best to balance work and family. It comes as no surprise that taking care of our bodies falls low on the priority list. It did for me, anyway. I was so proud to be part of a movement that encouraged all mothers to embrace our beautiful post-baby bodies, because we have truly done a miraculous thing. But it wasn’t until several months, maybe even a year, after I became a mother that I realized just how critical it is to take care of this post-baby body of mine. More importantly, I understand now that I need to be good to it, kind to it, and gentle to it – for it is a pillar of strength that does amazing things.

A few weeks ago I went to a local workshop entitled, “Your Sacred Belly.” It was a seminar designed to inform women how the abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, and organs all work together to keep the body balanced and strong. I was intrigued by this topic and thought it would be a much more fun way to spend my Saturday afternoon than doing laundry. So I went. I am glad I did. The first thing that floored me was when the presenter showed us a version of this photo:

Digestive-System

Photo of female digestive system via.

I have seen this diagram countless times in health class, but it didn’t really sink in how much we have going in there, until now. And this photo doesn’t even include our “lady parts.” I had no idea my gall bladder was up there. I didn’t even know what it did.

Then we were shown a picture like this:

Normal vs. Pregnant Female

 

Again my mind was blown. Of course I had seen this at the birthing classes I attended with my husband, but all I got from it at the time was vindication as to why I had to pee every three minutes and the fear of “Oh my God how is that person going to come out of me?!” It didn’t occur to me the impact that having a HUMAN BEING in my uterus would have on all of my internal organs. No wonder why I didn’t feel quite myself after giving birth over three years ago!

What initially prompted me to go to that workshop were a few health issues that I had faced in the last year. Those experiences made me feel like it was time to pay closer attention to my body. After nine months of pregnancy, labor, a c-section, and two and a half years of nursing, I felt a little tired. It was time to reclaim my body. So with the advice of my trusted healthcare providers, I embarked on a journey that led me discover to various health and wellness methods, some that have been practiced for thousands of years! What I liked most about these techniques is that they were not vigorous. They simply required me to relax on a table or chair and even let me get a nap in. Yet the benefits were profound. So I would like to share some of those unique health and wellness techniques with you:

Acupuncture – You feel like a bit of pin cushion, but this treatment based on Chinese medicine is a system of healing that dates back thousands of years. The premise is that the proper flow of qi (pronounced “chee”) will create health and balance. With the rise of community acupuncture clinics in Connecticut, this has become really affordable. For the cost equivalent to an insurance co-pay, an acupuncturist can treat multiple patients in a community setting, so you are not paying the same rate as you would a private session. The other good news is that many insurance companies also cover this procedure. Health plans and criteria for coverage varies, so check with yours prior to your appointment. Back pain relief, sinus relief, more focused thinking, and better night’s sleep are some of the benefits I have received.

Arvigo Abdominal Massage – When my doctor suggested that I try this form of massage therapy that dates back to the ancient Mayan civilization, I had never heard of it. According to the Arvigo Therapy website, the technique works to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, and nerve energy. So all those organs (like your uterus) that got moved around when you had a child living in there? This puts things back in place if they are slow to get back there on their own like mine were. Here’s a recent Huffington Post article on Arvigo.

Chiropractic Care – This is a bit controversial for some people. But I swear nothing helped alleviate my lower back pain and pop my pelvis back into place after I had my daughter. My chiropractor has been an amazing friend who I have turned to for parenting advice. She is also the calming force that helped reduce my first-time mom anxiety. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her during baby’s first year.

Go to the woods – The very wise Kate Street reminded me that it is important to take time for myself by going out for walks and to be among nature. It’s a great stress reliever and helps clear the mind. Now that the beautiful autumn weather is approaching in CT, I am hoping to walk among some of the awesome hiking trails this state has to offer.

How can you not feel inspired and relaxed surrounded by nature?  Photo Courtesy:  MG Peak

How can you not feel inspired and relaxed surrounded by nature? Photo Courtesy: MG Peak

Don’t forget to indulge on chocolate and red wine! The antioxidants and health benefits are plentiful in these two things that no mother should live without.

This is the body I was given. I want to be sure I am good to it, given all that it has been through and will continue to go through, for as long as I am lucky enough to have it. Sometimes the cost makes it a bit difficult to do these things often as I’d like, but I make sure to ask for gift cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays to offset the cost (hint – family members and friends reading this right now). So, I challenge you awesome mamas out there to take a few hours and do something special for you and that miraculous post-baby body of yours. You deserve it!

What are some wellness methods you have undergone or wanted to try? I would love to learn about them too!

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