Mom Posture! Yep, it’s a thing!
I learned about mom posture, or mommy posture, in the most horrifying way. Horrifying for a dancer that is! I sought medical advice for a sore neck, and my chiropractor said, “First, I’ll fix your neck, then we can work on your mommy posture.”
What?! I had always identified myself as a dancer and a part of that self-image was based on having good posture. I knew myself as a person with an engaged core, shoulders back, lat muscles pulled down, and neck stretched up and away from my shoulders. Plus, I had always been complimented on my posture, and those two words – mommy posture – were a newly discovered problem on my growing list of things that needed fixing.
As a tired new mom, I was already longing to get my body back, but I had no idea of the extent of the work that was ahead.
What is “mommy posture”?
Well, all the wonderful cuddling and carrying that we do with our babies and toddlers brings our shoulder blades forward in a loving circle, our heads bending down and forward, and many of us, me for sure, bring our pelvis forward into a posterior tilt. Mine was extra special because as my daughter grew, I remember she could kind of sit on my belly – how horrible is that?! Not holding my daughter of course, but the fact that my belly had somehow turned into a ledge that she could sit on.
I thought the pregnant belly was supposed to go away after you gave birth. This is a whole different story, but my husband once said to me, “you were so skinny when you were pregnant.” Seriously?!
So, what do we do?
Well, I did what I do best, I obsessed about it! I kept seeing my shoulders in my peripheral vision. Everywhere I went, there they were! I would be presenting to a group of dancers about teaching philosophies and methods and my eyes would catch my shoulders. Somehow my shoulders started working their way into my presentations. I kept thinking, I don’t think I could see them before, could I? Did they always curl forward like that?
The answer is no, as dancers we have never seen our shoulders curling around the front of our body! And it is not normal to stand with your pelvis tipped forward and your belly pushed out. But we do it as new moms without even realizing it, and just as with the practice that created our dancer posture, we become our mommy posture. Not only does this pelvic tilt and newly created posture wreak havoc with our self-image, it causes rippling affects with the functionality of our bodies.
Here is the other piece of this, anytime our bodies lose their alignment– and of course our posture is a big part of that – we experience other issues. Those aches and pains whether in our necks, lower backs, hips, pelvic floor; digestive issues; joint degeneration – they can all be exacerbated when our posture is out of alignment.
I know that it is difficult to work through the limitations that pain causes. My neck pain interferes with sleeping and there are days when there is no other option but to take pain relief. Here is what I know, and I think you know it too, if we solve a problem at its root, we can really solve the problem.
My chiropractor only misspoke in stating that first we solve the neck and then the mommy posture. The correct approach is to solve the mommy posture to solve the problem, period! The best way that I can think of to do that is to do the thing, really practice the thing, that one thing, that first created my fabulous posture to begin with – dancing!
It isn’t just about improving posture.
There are so many things that I have to do to become a dancer again, but I can improve each aspect – my health, weight, stress level, muscle tone, balance, coordination, flexibility, and yes – my mommy posture, all by dancing.
I am going to take it one step at a time, literally. I have ten years of mommy posture to undo and that isn’t going to happen without some serious time on the dance floor. But time on the dance floor is just what this dancer needs.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is the best gift I have ever received. I realize that my scars, dents, lines, extra pounds and even my mom posture are all a part of me becoming a parent. But just because I cherish the gift of my daughter doesn’t mean I need to embrace or accept as permanent bad posture and the physical toll parenthood has taken on my body.
I am grateful that my life has been filled with so many gifts. The list is long and growing up a dancer makes that list. Dance is a built-in solution for so many issues and obstacles.
I love music and movement. I can hear a song and the benefits of dance begin to wash over me. Twenty minutes of dancing can undo the stress of a day. Plies and spins can entirely change my state of being.
How lucky I am to have been a dancer. How lucky I am to have the ability to become a dancer again.
Simple exercises, Stand up straight
Becoming a mom with dancer posture – that’s a gift that I can create for myself. A gift for me, from me. Won’t you join me on this journey, www.mybodybydance.com. We can beat this mommy posture thing together! Let’s start a new club of mom’s who have beaten back poor posture and replaced it with dancer posture.
Bye Bye Shoulders! See YOU on the Dance Floor! See my shoulders, never again!
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According to Harvard Medical School, You can improve your posture with a few simple exercises. My Body By Dance is designed to build upon the simple steps of ballroom and Latin dancing to create positive exercises for your body and mind. Get started with your 7-day free trial today!