If you’ve read the first two instalments of this series, you’ll have hopefully begun to understand the precious balance of moving your body and giving yourself the time and space to be moved. Of course, having purpose is one of the most integral ways to feel moved and to get moving in a direction that serves us: forward. Cue the final pillar of our series. Together with energy, presence and purpose, I hope my final four tips move you (and us, as motherkind) to move forward into a strong and happy future.
MOVE FORWARD, MAMA
-1- Fulfil your obligation to the next generation of mothers.
It’s time we move on from post-natal language like bouncing back to more productive conversations about moving forward.
I’m going to take this early opportunity to say, for the record, that fitting into our pre-baby jeans is the least appropriate validation of our post-natal wellbeing. Seriously, your body shape-shifts during pregnancy and labour in a way that no denim designer can anticipate. Your organs may never settle in their original place – you just can’t beat the physiology, and there are far healthier and more compelling goals to aspire to than a restrictive waistband. You can be stronger and even leaner than ever but those skinny jeans will still look and feel shit because they’re not right for your new body. To self-flagellate with any item in your wardrobe is nonsense. Please stop it, and get some new clothes that make you feel like the rockstar mother, human being and resident of your superhuman body that you are.
Our present day language, actions and community will set a precedent for the next generation of mothers, and it’s only by choosing to swerve societal pressures that the wider conversation will follow suit. Let’s stop striving for a pre-baby ideal and look instead to a stronger tomorrow. Let’s ditch the skin-deep evaluations and learn to appreciate the depth of our value.
-2- Get Stronger Together.
While we reprogramme the way we talk to ourselves, let’s also reflect on the way we talk to each other. When support and celebration replaces the language of comparison and degradation, we pay forward a revelation in post-natal progress through every message we vocally or silently send, every hug we offer, and through every example we set together.
-3- Move your mantra.
Rehearse positive thinking, positive modelling and self-kindness. The more you do this – and the more you see the results – the less you’ll feel the need to compare yourself to others or to wider societal standards (which no one really feels they’re fulfilling). When you begin to see comparison or self-flagellation as an obstacle to your progress, your motivation to think and act differently will become more attainable. Choose a mantra that really resonates with you, and repeat it to yourself as you do your exercise. This works particularly well for yoga or mobility flows or strength training workouts. One rep or one movement = one full internalisation of your mantra. Here are a few of my favourites to help you brainstorm your own:
- My worth is mine to give
- My strength is my gift to others
- Challenge moves me forward
-4- Your baby’s building blocks are genius.
One of the first concepts your baby learns is about patterns. Blocks sit atop of other blocks, not hovering in space with no foundation. So when did we, as grown-ups, get so ahead of ourselves setting targets with no respect for foundations?
I encourage you to join baby on his or her learning journey as you play together. Lay your foundation of blocks. Reinforce that foundation with support – in terms of movement, think different variations of exercises to test your body before you add weight or impact. Stack each subsequent cube carefully – but confidently, because you’ve bypassed guestimation in favour of a true foundation. Remember that some layers take longer to set than others. The slowing of progress is not necessarily a plateau, but instead a process of patience and respect for your achievement. Be more kid – learn through play, and remember that towers don’t rise taller by sitting on air.
Thank you for following this series. I will soon be releasing an e-book on Strength Through Every Chapter, with more tools to specifically help you feel moved by the exercise you move to and to see its effects resonate through all areas of your life. To receive the e-book, join the Fit Brit Collective newsletter today.