HGTV's Christina El Moussa--Beautifully Honest Postpartum

By Cara Busson Clark on Jan 5th 2016

As we welcome in a New Year, most of us have some goals in mind and many of them are related to our personal well being, including health and fitness. Whether you just had a baby, had too much fun during the holidays or plan to just start fresh, it’s always nice to have some inspiration!

As promised, in Lifestyle of HGTV’s Christina El Moussa, we’re back with how she has recovered from pregnancy and childbirth! As a mother of four myself, I don’t know how she keeps up with her busy schedule. As one of my best friends, she’s someone who I am caraandchristinainspired by! She’s one of the most committed people, not only to the health of her and her family, but also to anyone she loves.

After her traumatic birth with Brayden, I’ve learned Christina is one of the most physically and mentally tough people I know. We have asked her to share some of her personal story of the birth and the routine she has now, as a mother of two.

At 4 ½ months postpartum, Christina is as committed to balancing her life as ever. Christina is a huge advocate of giving to yourself as a mother and taking time away, even if it’s just an hour or two. She is great at reminding me to give myself a break here and there as well, since giving birth to my fourth child.

Question: You were quite prepared for labor from yoga breathing techniques to strengthening poses, etc. Tell us how that helped you for the beginning stages of labor.

Christina: In my opinion, being fit definitely makes the beginning stages of labor more manageable. And yoga definitely helped in my breathing techniques ... However, during true labor it all went out the window .. And well, it really HURT! My daughter, Taylor, came so fast, (3 hours of labor) that I didn't have an epidural. But after enduring the horrific pain for a few hours this time.. I went for the epidural!

Question: Most of your following already knows that delivery didn't go as planned. Do you mind telling us about that in your own words?

Christina: Since my delivery with Taylor was so fast and easy, everyone (including myself) thought this labor and delivery would be the same... but everything was different. When I arrived at L&D my contractions were 4 minutes apart and I was only dilated 3 cm. They told me I could go home. I was in so much pain, they recommended I go for a walk and see if it helped. After an hour walking around Frys Electronics, contractions were 3 minutes apart and hurt worse than ever. Still, I was only 4 cm dilated. After trying all labor inducing techniques, I was finally ready to push five hours later. I pushed HARD for 2 hours but his shoulders were stuck and his heart rate kept dropping. In the end, I had to go in for an emergency c-section. Because he was such a big boy, my Doctor was concerned he just was too big to make it out of me.

Question: Now you've experienced both a vaginal and c-section delivery. As assumed, the C section is a much more challenging recovery. Can you elaborate on the different focus of your recovery with Brayden?

Christina: With Taylor I felt great afterwards. I went for a 2 mile walk 3 days later. It was so easy, but she only weighed 5 lbs 13 oz and I only pushed for about 30 minutes. Brayden weighed 8lbs 10 oz and I pushed for 2 hours with no progression. C-sections suck. I felt like I christinagot beat up by a world champion boxer. My entire body hurt, literally my entire body... and it felt like my stomach was going to fall open when I stood up. It is such a gross feeling. I wore this girdle thing to keep my stomach in and that helped.

Question: How long did it take before you were right back to a workout regime? What did you start with? What's your current routine?

Christina: For 2 weeks I felt like shit. Really, like shit. So I asked for help, which I don't normally do. I took it really really easy and followed the doctors orders. After the two week mark, I finally felt more normal. By 6 weeks I was back to my old self. I wasn't allowed to workout for 6 weeks. After six weeks, I started with yoga (my prenatal power yoga Dvd) and walks (about 1.5-2 miles). My current routine prenatal poweris pushing the double stroller about 3 miles/ 3 days per week. I also love doing a Pilates workout (super hard) at a studio by my house called House of Burn, when I can. Honestly, I'm not working out like I would like to be but I just would rather be with my kids right now.

Question: Now you have two kiddos, hubby, the show and life stealing time away from you. All good things of course, but what advise do you have for other busy moms to keep a workout routine and make time for yourself?

Christina: Seriously, I struggle with this all the time. I suffer from a lot of mommy guilt. I went back to work at 5 weeks and that was pretty hard on me. My daughter got pretty jealous of the time I was spending with Brayden, so I try to do my girlie stuff with my daughter when I can. We go get our nails done, go to lunch and a movie or Disneyland. For myself, I love a good massage! I make sure I get one every other week. Since I just want to be with my kids as much as possible, I try to incorporate my workouts with my kids. I love to push the double to Starbucks and relax there with the kids for a bit.

Question: At 4 1/2 months postpartum, how are you feeling physically and mentally?

Baby Brayden is such a good baby boy, which does help emotionally. I am SO lucky to have such a happy baby. He is such a joy to be around it's incredible. I feel pretty good but recently with Christmas and the holidays I'm more tired than usual.. It probably all those desserts I've been eating. Bad sugar!

Question: We both know how important and relevant diet is to everyone at all times. When you're nursing though, it takes it to a whole new level! Tell us about some of your breastfeeding cravings...healthy and unhealthy of course :)

Christina: The only thing I really crave (which is the only thing I craved during pregnancy too) is peanut butter... I am obsessed!!! Everyday I have a peanut butter "perfect bar" and also always a snack of rice cake with peanut butter. I don't know what it is, I've never like peanut rice cakebutter this much before! I didn't like meat when I was pregnant with Brayden and I'm still not feeling it yet either. However, fish is still on my list of things I love! So luckily I'm still getting my protein in there.

Question: There are so many factors to achieving overall wellness, but getting your prebaby body back is soo hard!! Some factors I think are most important, yet sometimes impossible are: sleep, hydrating, exercise and of course diet. Tell us about your days and nights. Are you able to get a good nights sleep? How does that impact the rest of your day and routine?

Christina: Brayden is just starting to sleep though the night so I'm sleeping better. I truly feel there is nothing more important than sleep and water- I drink 34 oz of Penta brand water when I'm filming. At home I have alkaline water through my water system and enjoy about 20 oz of Perrier! When I exercise, I truly have more energy throughout the day. So I believe it's so important both physically and mentally to get those workouts in.. even if it's just a 30 minute walk!

Question: EVERYONE wants to know what you're eating to get yourself back! Can you take us through a normal day of a breastfeeding mama of what and how much you're eating? Is there a snack you can't live without, like you usually have in your purse?

Christina: I start my day with a cup of coffee with some cream and Stevia. I need that coffee! :) For breakfast I always have overnight oats. Currently it's 1/2 oats 1 cup unsweetened almond milk .. 1 TB chia seeds, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 sliced banana. Some times I mix it up and put berries and/or PB. I usually have two snacks throughout the day. Some of my favorites are: Mothers Market juice Goddess of red smoothieGreens (it really helps cure my sugar cravings), peanut butter on rice cakes, and healthy granola bars (my sis makes delish granola bars from scratch). For lunch or dinner, I usually make a smoothie from Cara's smoothie book. These are my favorite ever and honesty I would have them for every meal of the day if I could! For dinner or lunch, I have a lean meat with a veggie and grain. For example salmon with quinoa and sautéed veggies.

Question: You've inspired soo many women personally and professionally? Have any tips we didn't cover above on how to keep such a balanced life?

Christina: For me it's all about balance. From family, to exercise to meals. Family: Taking time for each person in your household to make sure they are getting your full attention. Exercise: its important to do whatever exercise you love, whatever gets you going whether is running or yoga or spin or barre.. Just get out and do it! Nutrition: keep it simple and eat real foods!! :))

Christina truly believes in balance and is encouraging to me in my own life to take a time out for myself. It's easier said than done as a mom. Yet, finding help to go do something you love works wonders for your well being, allowing you to enjoy your day to day even more. We recently had a spa day thanks to the help of our husbands and family! Most people thought we were crazy for wanting tomontagespa challenge ourselves to 1700 stairs before we went and relaxed. Of course, we had a post recovery meal of smoothies and hard boiled eggs before heading to our massages. Exercise helps to lower anxiety and releases endorphin, creating more mental and physical strength. Believe it or not, it enabled us to relax more at the spa. It was the ideal day for us and a time out from our daily grind!

While Christina may make recovering from an emergency cesarean look easy, it's not! She's had to be patient in watching and feeling her body heal. Everyone is different in the healing process and it's based on your genetics, diet and activity. Self love is something I encourage practicing after your little one arrives. They are easy to give all your love, but consider what your body just endured for 9+ months and be patient with yourself and your results. All progress is progress. Good luck!