The body is an incredible thing, and able to do things that are nothing short of a miracle. Giving birth to a baby can be one of the most thrilling experiences, and even in pregnancies and births that go relatively smoothly, the postpartum symptoms can send the body into a tailspin. Most women who suffer from postpartum do not realize they have symptoms. As awareness is more openly talked about now with social media platforms, women may have an outlet to share their own stories and have support as they move through this challenging time.
Olivia Munn, an actor, has come out and shared her continuous and personal struggles with postpartum and how she attributes her martial arts training to help her feel more like herself. Having a baby changes the body physically, chemically, and mentally. Symptoms of postpartum are broad and include body shame, emotional surges, and feelings of inadequacy as a mother for one reason or another. Triggers can vary, and the symptoms can last for months and beyond. Women suffering from postpartum should talk to someone about the symptoms. If you know someone who may have symptoms related to postpartum, please encourage them to see a medical professional who can help them navigate this season of their lives. Motherhood is lovely, and postpartum can take much of the joy out of the journey and have devastating results.
Martial Arts Help Strengthen the Body, Build Up Endurance and Confidence
As women approach the last months and weeks of their pregnancy, the size of their bellies and energy levels may limit their desire or ability to exercise. Many gyms and doctors will recommend very mild workouts or none at all. Pregnant women are not even allowed to travel in planes near their expectancy date! Although the baby\’s body is stronger, it is still a critical time to be careful in choosing which activities are safe to continue. So, naturally, the body is not as mobile and may become weakened in the last stages of pregnancy and into the first months after the baby is born. Many women want their pre-pregnancy bodies back as soon as possible, but it takes time to regain strength, balance, and muscles. Martial arts, being a full body workout, allows balance, the mental engagement that keeps focus, and core building all to take place simultaneously while learning a new skill or technique.
The core building allows the rest of the body to begin to strengthen, and strengthening the core also provides increased balance.
Martial Arts Builds Confidence and Shifts Focus
The most experienced martial art instructors understand that different people in different stages of life end up on the studio mat. Finding an exceptional studio where anyone can attend without feeling judged is critical. Some studios are more competitively focused, and others are more family friendly. Make sure you try a free class first before signing up and finding out the studio atmosphere isn\’t a fit.
Olivia Dunn shared that her inability to bond with her baby while breastfeeding fed her insecurities. Of course, there was no shortage of people telling her she was the reason the baby wasn\’t breastfeeding. This is entirely untrue and unfair to say to a new mom! In some cases, there may be something a new mom can do to help her baby connect to breastfeeding, but the baby getting the nutrients necessary is first and foremost the most important thing! Martial arts engage the mind, helping manage emotions and the mental aspects of being a new parent. Martial arts are known to build confidence, and that confidence, along with a supportive peer group, can be immensely valuable to those suffering from postpartum symptoms. Confidence allows women to rise above the negative comments, even when it comes in the form of well-intended advice. Acknowledging thoughts and emotions and having faith in knowing these feelings are very typical is more significant than most think.
There is nothing courageous about trying to overcome postpartum on your own. The courage is in reaching out and speaking up. Martial arts are one way to take steps in managing the inevitable ups and downs that most women experience at some level after having a baby. Connecting with a local studio offering multiple classes at convenient times that will allow your baby to hang out on the sidelines is the best studio for your needs. It is probably not a good fit if they will not allow it. However, you may choose to leave the baby with someone else while you go to your class, and that is ok too! Motherhood is not the same for anyone, so embracing your own experience while keeping a pulse on any postpartum symptoms is essential. Self-care is critical, and martial arts is an easy way to transition and do just that.