Wellness Wednesday – Newborn Workout Blues

As I write this, our second daughter is just 5 weeks old. Sleep isn’t a thing that happens anymore in our house but we’re doing our best to survive health-wise. When Everly was born, she had a few health issues that led to a few days in the NICU and several more in specialized care. We basically lived at the hospital for 7-8 days after Everly’s birth; as much as I’d like to complain about that week (it was hell), we emerged with a healthy baby so I’ll just have to keep my mouth shut. From everything I saw visiting Everly in the NICU, I can’t be thankful enough with the end result. Trying times.

Anyway, on a brighter note, one week in the hospital translated to a wee little bit of a health rut. This is to be expected, of course, during a very stressful and transformative time. Still, no matter how stressed out I was, I probably didn’t need that 7th ice cream cup from the Birthcare Center’s free pantry. I definitely didn’t need to eat Chipotle burritos by the dozens in under a week. It’s possible that binging on full sleeves of store brand cookies every night while my wife slept in her hospital bed was a bad choice. Tack on all our annoying family having food prepped for us (obviously just kidding here) when we got home, beer included. I lost my train of thought here, but basically ‘we’ went into labor and whatever weight my wife lost by having the baby, I absorbed so we came back home even.

After another tumultuous week readjusting to life at home with two kids instead of one, I had pretty well let myself go and I looked like I was the next one in line growing a baby in my tummy. My wife, as I imagine most women are, did not show herself much grace or patience before deciding the pregnancy weight needed to go.   The good news was that our newborn was sleeping soundly through the night, the 2 year old acclimated nicely to the household’s addition, and we were free to spend ample time working out and preparing healthy meals. Oh wait, that’s not it at all. We weren’t sleeping whatsoever and the diminishing sanity basically meant the only workout going on was just surviving through the day. As far as healthy meals go, I think I was so deliriously exhausted I could have been chewing on a table leg and not noticed. Although I bet a table leg would have far fewer calories than the gallon of ice cream I was eating.

Six weeks later, a full night’s sleep is a distant memory (blame the stupid blog) but I have managed to find a workout routine and fatigue has somehow managed to suppress hunger—all of which to say that I’m surviving. I don’t know that I’m progressing, but I have at least stemmed the tide on my continual quest to hold off a dad bod for as long as possible. How have I done it? In the most discreet way possible, of course, which I will explain. I have moved my time for lifting weights to lunch. On the weekend, I run to the gym for a quick hour during family naptime. One weekday night per week, I leave work 15 minutes early, stop by the gym for a 20 minute run, and then head home.

Basically, I have done my best to ensure that my working out does not interfere with my ability to help my wife with the kiddos whatsoever. Yet I still sense some hostility when I tiptoe in the door dripping in glorious sweat (yes, when every nanosecond of my time is devoted to kids, sweating at the gym is glorious; can’t say I’ve always felt that way). I’m not saying my wife wants me out-of-shape and softer than our newborn’s behind, but I’m also not saying I feel a whole ton of support from that direction. I loaded up gym clothes into my vehicle last Sunday night and had this conversation:

Wife: Do you work out during lunch?

Me: Yeah, sometimes. Why?

Wife: Hmm. Oh…nothing.

If you read that exchange closely, you can clearly see she’s ready to smother me in my sleep if I keep working out while she’s bogged down by post-pregnancy soreness and an insatiable breastfeeding gremlin.

Is it normal there for a little bitterness to fester when the male starts getting back into the routine of life? Am I a selfish vanity-obsessed shame of a husband for getting into the groove of working out while my wife is still incapacitated? I don’t know…I guess I’ll grab a bag of donuts and start packing on the pounds, that will show her how much I care!

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