Becoming a mom is one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences for a woman. But it can also be one of the most daunting. During pregnancy your body morphs into an almost unrecognizable version of yourself—which is beautiful, but also mind-bending. No matter how many books you read about life after giving birth, you can never fully prepare for the love and joy you will feel toward your baby. You can also never fully prepare yourself for the tiredness, loneliness, and change in body confidence.
Moms, don’t panic! It is completely natural to feel exhausted and unfamiliar with your own body. From the moment you give birth, you begin a new and exciting chapter of your life. But how do you become confident and comfortable as the new, maternal you?
The mental strain of pregnancy and the first few months after the birth are almost as challenging to deal with as the physical effects. You'll have contractions in your uterus as it shrinks back into your pelvis. Your body will be shedding water weight from the extra blood you carried while you were pregnant any way it knows how, which means lots of trips to the bathroom. And whether or not you're nursing, your breasts will feel engorged, tender, and perhaps even painful. Not to mention all the hormonal changes that will be taking a toll on your emotions. Don't be surprised if you're feeling a bit blue and moody. You are not only trying to readjust to your new life, new body, and new baby, but you are also most likely feeling exhausted and drained from the lack of sleep. This stress can culminate in low self-esteem and lead you to doubt your capabilities.
Do not give into this! You're the same wonderful strong woman that you've always been—now you just have a bouncing baby to look after. Naturally, you'll be protective (if not a tad neurotic) of germ-y hands touching your baby, wondering how on Earth you'll ever learn to interpret those cries, or grumbling at every 2 a.m. feeding. But the more you believe in your instincts as a mother, the happier you will feel. Try these suggestions to help relieve stress and have a balanced mind.
01. Get outside.
Fresh air can do wonders in lifting your mood. Two studies showed that participants who took at least an hour-long walk in a park demonstrated improved memory performance and significant mood improvement. Take your new baby for a stroll to help clear your mind and relieve stress.
Having a baby can be lonely if you're stuck at home all day. Make the effort to have friends over, start a singing and signing mommy & me music group at the park, and meet new moms at your local Gymboree classes. This will give you a chance to discuss your worries and concerns with people that are in a similar situation.
03. Make time for yourself.
It is important to let daddy look after the baby when he can while you reconnect with yourself. This gives dad some needed one-on-one time with the baby, and it gives you the necessary time to relax. Dedicate some time during the week to pampering yourself. Have a long bubble bath, watch a film, or go for a run—whatever it is that lets you unwind.
04. Spend quality time with your spouse.
Understandably, you may not want to let your baby out of your sight for a good few months. But it is important to take time to have fun with your partner. Grandparents make fantastic babysitters and will be more than happy to dote on their beautiful grandchild while you and your hubby go out on a date. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It's just an opportunity to remind yourselves how much you love each other and why you had a baby in the first place.
Decreased body confidence is one of the most common issues that women deal with after giving birth. Rarely are women enjoying the idyllic “glow” rumored to go with pregnancy and 13 percent of women report postpartum depression. Your body has spent nine months stretching to house your beautiful growing baby. Unlike the tales of models who are back on the catwalk a month later, most of us do not go straight back to our pre-baby bodies once we've given birth. Do not force yourself into a strict exercise routine or diet. Your body needs time to recover from giving birth and adjust to nurturing a baby! Check with your doctor to determine what's best for you and your baby to keep you both healthy.
Pregnancy likely added lumps, bumps, and stretches—and we should wear them with pride. Remember, your body is the reason that your little baby exists! Be proud of what you have created, and be patient with yourself. Once we begin to see ourselves in a positive light, it is easier for others to share in our joy.
01.Invest in clothes you love to wear.
Well-fitting clothes can boost your mood and enhance your silhouette. Invest in undergarments that you feel comfortable in and that complement your new life. A good pair of fitted jeans are a useful wardrobe staple. Treat yourself to a pair that fits well. You can throw them on when running errands or for a night out.
02. Appreciate the way you look.
As difficult as it may be, try to get up and make an effort every morning with the way you look. Wearing your favorite outfit or a bit of makeup will make you feel polished and ready to take on the day. Having your hair or nails done are instant mood lifters and will make you feel taken care of.
03. Eat healthy.
Eating a balanced diet isn't just good for you, it's also good for your baby! A poor diet can result in low energy, tiredness, and can even make you impatient and angry. Don't skip meals or resort to takeout. Learn a few recipes that are easy to pull together and stock your fridge and cupboards with healthy ingredients and snacks.
04. Get as much sleep as you can.
It's well-known advice that you should nap while baby naps. Take advantage of any moment you can to rest. If you have trouble napping, simply resting with your eyes closed will help keep up the energy you need to look after yourself and your family.
05. Focus on your favorite features.
Maybe it's your eyes, your smile, your thoughtfulness, or your uncanny ability to find humor in everything. You are beautiful inside and out. Always find the positives! Your baby depends on it.