As someone rightly said – “Pregnancy is the best reason for feeling the crappiest”… and who wouldn’t agree? That bloated body, penguin-like gait, changing skin and hair characteristics and the most horrible mood swings are just parts of going through the one of the most exciting but uncomfortable phases of your life. And it doesn’t end there; once your baby arrives, you forget all the discomfort you have been through. The way you acted during pregnancy seems funny now and you can laugh!
But not all days are laughter and sunshine. Some days are dark, where you can’t seem to identify with your post pregnancy body. The bulging, hanging belly, dark circles, pain in the bones, household chores, thinning and falling hair, those big bad stretch marks, and to add to everything – a demanding baby! Sometimes he needs your milk, sometimes it’s your presence and at other times you leave it to God – he alone knows what your baby wants!
Pregnancy and being able to take care of a baby is a remarkable feat, no easy job. And to compromise with your needs of vanity over the needs of survival of the infant is only logical. In such a situation, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of self-pity.” I don’t look pretty any more. No one really likes me. My friends make fun of my sagging bust and hanging belly. Oh, the past nine months have made me look at least 10 years older and ugly too!”
The first thing I would tell you is that You are not ugly, until you convince yourself that you are.
Look around – all your friends and people around you who have been through child birth have gone through this phase of being ugly. But don’t worry, it really isn’t that bad (although it seems like it) and at the risk of sounding like a cliche, we’ll also say that ‘this too shall pass’. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to feel good about yourself now. And it’s not as hard as it sounds, with our tips, you’ll be well on your way to feeling all shiny and fresh!
6 Insane (but Effective) Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself After Childbirth
1. The Power of Self Talk
Look at yourself in the mirror. I know you see a woman who looked a lot better some time back and you end up saying things like – “God, I look so fat” or “Look at those boobs… why weight on the boobs?” or may be “God knows when I’ll be able to visit the beauty parlour; I look like a bear!”
What to do?
The first thing you need to do is to STOP TALKING NEGATIVELY ABOUT YOURSELF. We are our biggest, harshest and meanest critics and we criticize ourselves even when not required. So when you look in the mirror, if you do not like what you see, at least smile at yourself. Try to highlight the positives –“Hmm, I got baby to sleep in 10 minutes, go me!”, or may be just “hey gorgeous, I love you… times are going to get better soon… just hang in there!”
Saying ‘I love you’ to yourself may seem silly, but you can’t underestimate the power of self talk; try it and you’ll see how much meaning and motivation it can add to your regular life.
2. Learn to Be Happy Irrespective of the Situation
Make happiness a choice, not an alternative. If your husband buys you roses, it makes you happy, and if he does not, you cry yourself to bed – change these ideologies of happiness. Happiness, as believed by most psychologists, is a state of the mind, which can be developed irrespective of an external stimulus.
What to do?
On days you feel gloomy and “ugly”, try wearing your favorite dress, with your favorite make up and jewelry. If that sounds unmanageable with the baby, get a babysitter, put on some music and go for a walk or watch some of your favorite shows on TV. It helps to talk to someone you trust and like spending time with, and just the process of venting can bring you a lot of peace. Diversion from a negative situation is the key and remember, if you are determined to feel happy, no one can make you feel otherwise.
3. Make some Necessary Changes in Routine
Now let’s come to working out the physical changes and the first step in changing your regular habits is to make space for some exercise in your routine. By exercise, we do not mean that you hit the gym or wake up at wee hours of dawn and jog yourself to the level of crazy.
What to Do?
Start small. You may want to begin with some Yoga postures at home. You can also go for a walk, and even take your baby in his stroller with you. If all this seems too difficult for you to fit in to your regular schedule, simply take a walk in your balcony. Here’s something easy and fun – turn on your favorite music and dance to a song with a fast beat. Let your baby join in by either dancing along or just watching Mommy dance! I guarantee – 30 minutes of this inexpensive activity can change your mood and keep you looking and feeling better! Not to mention the calories you burn that’ll get you back into your pre-pregnancy jeans with ease.
4. Maintenance Matters
Overgrown eyebrows, a moustache over your lips, body hair, dark circles along with dull and sagging skin – these are just some of the gifts our hormones present us with, and can further lower our self esteem.
What to Do?
There is no easy way out here; just take some time out for a visit to the beauty parlor. You may also choose to have a professional come to your home, which is quite a common phenomenon these days. Although you still need to make time either way, you can keep an eye on your child when you avail of a beautician’s home services.
5. The Sagging Bust, Bulging Tummy and the Dreaded Stretch marks
Let me break some not–so-good news to you here – the sagging bust, the hanging tummy and the stretch marks have no immediate solutions; they’ll probably be good friends and stick around for life! The hanging tummy will generally recede in a matter of months, but for some it may hang low for some time. The stretch marks tend to lighten to quite an extent post delivery, in about a year’s time, but they will still be there. Just think of them as pregnancy stripes; after all, it’s all in the attitude!
What to do?
Wearing the right kind and size of bras that fit you perfectly goes a long, long way in making you retain your shape. An underwire can support the fullness of your breasts and prevent further sagging. Make sure that you don’t wear uncomfortable or very tight bras as long as you’re breast feeding, as they can affect the production and supply of breast milk. The bulging tummy can, to some extent, be improved with exercises. The hanging tummy can also be managed with the newly emergent shape-wear series that contains the flab.
6. Be Thankful For What You Have, And Accept What You Cannot Change
Most of the changes in your post-natal body are a result of nature’s way of getting your body ready for pregnancy and childbirth and there are no quick fixes for them. The best thing you can do is to not make yourself feel horrible by comparing yourself to other women, or to your pre-pregnancy self. Everyone has their own body type and each person’s body ‘bounces back’ differently after pregnancy.
Last but not least, remember what the Dalai Lama said, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. ” It’s also true that our thoughts control our actions, so to be happy, think happy! Do try our tips for taking care of yourself emotionally and let me know what worked for you and what didn’t. And if they worked, don’t forget to spread the love by sharing!
“Honey Nagpal Lalwani is a trained Counseling Psychologist. Due to a highly complicated pregnancy, she had to give up a full time career and switch to being a Full Time Mom. Now her world is defined by her twin boys. She believes in the Modern school of parenting that is thoroughly backed by science and logic. She questions the norms and works her way out to a more creative form of parenting, which is now not just her job, but also her passion!”