When I imagined this maternity leave I had ideas that it would be similar to my last maternity leave. My first maternity leave I ended up focusing on being healthy, and it was the first time I had felt healthy since high school. It was like a body reset and I learned a lot about myself and my health that year. I’ve mentioned several times that when I went back to work I really lost that feeling of being healthy due to stress and all that comes with that. When I dreamt of this maternity leave I dreamt of losing all the weight by the 6 month mark. I dreamt of loving being in the kitchen and inventing good healthy food. I dreamt of walking every day and being super active and busy.
However, this maternity leave has been so much different. I still have 15 pounds of weight to lose to get to pre-pregnancy weight and 15 more to lose to get to my ideal weight. I can count on two hands how many walks I’ve been on in the last 3-4 months and my husband can attest that I’m not cooking like I used to.
Reflecting on how different these past six months are compared to what I thought they would be it’s easy to think I let myself down, that I didn’t motivate myself enough, that I was lazy. All these thoughts try their hardest to creep in and bring me down but the truth is that I’ve been listening to my body and I’ve been honouring what it’s telling me.
I’m giving myself time to rest and heal and that’s looking a lot different than I thought. Honestly I thought that healing would mean exercising and building physical strength but my body has been showing me that healing first starts with resting. This last week I’ve been feeling a rhythm start to our days, my body has been allowing for that to happen. Up until recently I had no idea what I would be waking up to – would it be an Ashley full of energy or an Ashley unable to move much at all. The past couple weeks my energy has been fairly consistent – even with Eden having VERY unpredictable nights. So I can see how beneficial it’s been to listen to my body, to go to bed early, to stay home when I needed to, to relax when I was feeling run down. With each passing week and month I gain a little bit more endurance and strength to just get a little bit more done each day. Of course having a baby that is growing and maturing also helps with this but I can also feel the change in my body. In August I barely had the ability to clean my whole house one day and be up moving a lot the next. I couldn’t stand for longer than an hour doing things in the kitchen because my body just hurt all over and didn’t have the endurance. This past month I’ve been up the majority of days canning, cleaning and just keeping busy and my body feels pretty good! Not awesome, but not awful and that’s a happy medium that I gladly welcome after a couple years of feeling terrible.
One thing I’ve been incorporating that last couple months is taking Sundays off. That means that mentally I allow myself the space to not have a list of to-do’s. If I wake up and have some energy to do a couple things I will, but I put zero pressure on myself to accomplish anything. I sleep in an extra hour or two (which means up at 6 or 7 instead of 5), I rarely clean anything, I don’t do laundry, and my husband usually does the cooking. This allows me to read a few more books to Ezekiel, to sit on the floor a little more with Eden, to write and read a bit more and maybe even spend some time on a hobby – which, with the changing of the weather means knitting!
Lots of lessons have been learned this year and resting is definitely one of the biggest.
Do you force yourself to rest? Is it hard or do you welcome it with arms wide open?