What it feels like to run after giving birth
WARNING: The following article contains the world’s longest disclaimer:
DISCLAIMER: The following article contains discussions of blood, periods and poo and should probably be avoided if the reader is squeamish. The author, (who emphasizes she is not a medical professional) has based her observations on her own experiences and has not sought to deliberately exclude yours. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below; your stories are genuinely appreciated. Finally, some schools of feminist thought argue that a woman shouldn’t make gags about the ruined state of her private parts post-birth. The writer is a feminist but nonetheless feels compelled to occasionally make fun of her own fanny because it’s funny.
I gave birth in October last year and by December, felt ready to go for a run. It was a tentative, gentle jog, and I’d spent a fair bit of time visualizing it before actually doing it. I aimed to do a 2km walk/run and taking it very slowly, was successful. There was no pain, but there was a surprising amount of fear. The whole time I was wondering how to describe the feeling.
What does running feel like after you’ve given birth?
In fact, what does it feel like doing anything physical after you’ve given birth? And when I say “what does it feel like”, what I really mean is “what does it feel like – down there”.
Is there a reason why no one talks about this?
One reason might be that for every woman, it’s different.
Another reason might be that for most women, it’s not great.
Pregnancy and childbirth takes an immense toll on your body and the impact lasts years. (Like I say – it’s different for every woman, but in my experience it took 2 years per baby to return to how I felt pre-pregnancy.)
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After delivery there’s at least 6 weeks of vaginal bleeding (by caesarian or vaginal birth) and the bleeding can be anything from a light-period kind of a day to a “Why aren’t I dead and did somebody get murdered in my underpants?” kind of a day. Often a combination of both. Your tush feels like it’s been horse-kicked a dozen or so times, or as a friend described it, “It feels like my fanny has been put through a meat grinder.”
Then there’s the scary incontinent feeling, which I used to joke about when heavy with pregnancy; “Don’t make me laugh or the baby might fall out!” The bad news is, that feeling only gets worse after you vaginally deliver. It’s as though everything that used to keep your insides in can no longer be trusted. After a whole entire human has passed through your vagina, surely it’s reasonable that a violent cough or vigorous bowel movement could send your womb slipping out of your body where it’ll be forced to fend for itself, wear sunscreen and perhaps do something crazy like hitchhike alone to Splendour in the Grass…?
Top 5 womb vacation destinations
1. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
2. Rooty Hill, NSW
3. Punani, India
4. Burning Man Festival, Nevada
5. Fanny, Brazil
(Yes, it is scientifically possible for your womb to come out of your vagina – it’s called a ‘uterine prolapse’ and is not uncommon after childbirth. But no, your womb is not going to grab a suitcase and fedora and take up smoking and head off to South America without you.)
After birth, your core is like a drunk octopus. The muscles might still be there, but they’re loose and floppy. The joints that softened in preparation for birth haven’t firmed. Your belly, which so generously stretched to accommodate your new baby, takes a long time to shrink back and there remains a baggy pouch of flesh.
So – jogging after giving birth?
Imagine a jar half-filled with overcooked spaghetti. That jar is you. Now shake the jar up and down. (Don’t be shy with the shaking. Give it a good shake.) That’s what it feels like to go jogging after you’ve given birth.
I had a fear that I might collapse in a pool of blood and entrails. The engine that previously powered my whole body felt sloshy and unreliable. But once I got going, there was the marvelous feeling of moving without someone’s head banging against my cervix, of my body being gloriously unoccupied. And there was (and still is, four months after birth) a delicious feeling of recovery and healing with each forward step. My power is returning.
- Ease back into fitness on Bodypass
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