A common misconception is that the pregnancy struggle ends when your beautiful creation enters the world and it is time to get into mum mode. Unfortunately, this is only just the start of the recovery process after having a baby and there is still a long way to go. Your body and mind have been through trauma, and bringing a human life out of it might take a piece of you away physically and mentally.
Although you might feel like this is permanent, it is valuable if at this stage of the recovery process you make an agreement with yourself to prioritise yourself. Yes, you now have an extra life to take care of but that should not mean sacrificing your own worth and confidence. Now is about coming to terms with your new reality, including any bodily alterations that come with giving birth.
Accepting that your body confidence is non-existent is not an option, small habits and behaviours if you can maintain them at this stage can be the difference between giving in to the familiar feeling of postpartum depression or the determination to become an even stronger, confident version of yourself.
Importance Of Getting Your Health And Strength Back
Your muscles after giving birth will be weakened, but will naturally go back to normal over a period of time as long as they are firstly recovered correctly, and then exercised regularly. When pregnant the abdominal muscles are actually separated centrally down your stomach, so they will need time to eventually come back together.
Not only will your stomach be weakened, but consequently your pelvic muscles will feel extremely weakened. When you feel strong enough to commit to it and your midwife has confirmed you are fit enough, you should begin completing light abdominal exercises to make the process of the stomach muscles coming together smoother.
Even spending five minutes a day watching guided abdominal workout videos will make all the difference. Additionally, it would be valuable if around this time you also begin pelvic floor exercises to get the strength back there also. It’s recommended that you wait till six weeks postpartum before you do any sort of vigorous exercise if you are looking to increase the intensity if you have mastered the basics.
Give Yourself Time
Allowing yourself to simply just come to terms with all the changes after giving birth is encouraged to eventually feel like yourself again. Time is a virtue, remembering that it is ok to not feel all the time should not make you feel like anything less than what you are. What you are is a strong woman that is on the road to recovery whilst taking on a full-time job as a mum. You are doing more than enough just by giving yourself time to recover. Only when you really feel ready to take the next steps to get your body fit and healthy should you do so.
Try To Maintain Gratitude
If you start having episodes of postpartum depression, daily tasks can feel like a struggle. Mental health is just as important as keeping physically healthy, and finding light when everything is negative can feel impossible. Showing and feeling gratitude for the baby you have brought into the world and maybe even a supportive partner or friend is just a small way you can consciously make efforts to stay positive.
Body positivity and feeling grateful for what your body has done for you and your baby is also an uplifting way to fight against negative thoughts. Perhaps you don’t recognize your body, and that is okay, but taking the necessary steps towards acceptance and feeling happy with yourself will eventually help with your confidence.
Looking at other new internet Mums, and how they are depicting their easy and rapid postpartum recovery when you feel like you’re not keeping up is another thing you should avoid. Everyone’s on their own journeys, and often the famous mums we see online have monetary access to a Mummy Makeover , diet plans, and personal trainers to get them back on track asap whilst paying a babysitter to look after their babies. You are on your own timeline and it is not a race, your own individual recovery will look different to others. If you have access to these things that can ease the process that is great, but for the majority of us recovery is an individual mental and physical fight with ourselves.
Make Time For Personal Appearance
Pregnancy brings a lot of change. Bodies change, clothes change, feelings change and many women after they have had children feel like they have lost their mojo. This can improve when one looks in the mirror and sees a resemblance of their old self. No nails and bad routes cause depression for some women, so making sure that you make some time for yourself and go and get a manicure or your routes touched up will help you feel like your old self rather than playing with your mental health. Here are some things you could be doing to look after your personal appearance:
- Shower every day
- Follow a skincare routine
- Schedule some time for a manicure and a hair touch up
- Dress in clothes that make you feel great about yourself
- Schedule a morning to go to the gym
Make Time For Morning Me-Time
Falling into the familiar habit of waking up, checking on the baby, and spending the day in your pyjamas is okay for the first two weeks. You might have even had a C-section of other complications that have limited your physical movements during recovery. When you are able to, if your baby is either asleep or occupied with another carer, you should plan to spend some time every morning getting ready for the day. Not just a shower and hair wash, but really spend some quality time with yourself to look and feel good. This is a great habit for new mums to get back into when trying to make sense of the new reality. Old habits that you did for yourself should be integrated into this new routine. You should see this as the start of the journey towards a new, improved, stronger version of yourself.
Resume Your Sex Life
When you have children, you will be sore and uncomfortable for a while, but you will feel normal again. This means you will be able to resume sexual relations with your partner when you feel good and ready and have been given permission from your doctor. It is important to stay connected with your partner and it can seriously help with your mental health.It will also help you to feel sexy again once you are ready.
Overall, feeling like you lost a part of yourself is a common feeling for new mums, but overcoming the negativity and accepting the new superwoman you are should come as a given also.
It will take a lot of work, potentially over months or years to really feel like a complete version of yourself, but giving your body and mind time to develop will be the best thing you do. This time isn’t about staying motivated on the gym grind and bouncing back as soon as possible, but it is about self-love and developing healthy habits for the benefit of yourself and not just your baby.