3 tips for feeling beautiful post pregnancy
Lets face it ladies, after 9 months of your belly growing, having major diet restrictions, shifting your fitness routine and major hormonal swings...when the baby finally "pops" out of you, we are hoping that things will go back to "normal" rather quickly! No one really warns us about the fun post pregnancy.
Well I am here to change that. I would like to offer a little peak into what you can expect after delivery and some advice on how to feel beautiful despite all of this!
The balloon takes time to deflate
Two weeks after I gave birth to my sweet little boy, Aiden, I was at my nail salon getting a few moments to myself. I mean after all I had just gone through a birthing marathon and my sore body was aching for some TLC. As I was sitting there minding my own business, reading the latest gossip in "US weekly," a lady approached me and asked me in a very enthusiastic tone "How far along are you?" I was mortified but couldn't blame her. Even though I had given birth a few weeks ago, I looked like I was in my 1st trimester.
The truth is, i wasn't really expecting this. Maybe it is silly, but I thought that the belly would just magically deflate like a balloon after birth. And this is so far from the reality. In fact, today I am 6 weeks post delivery and my belly is just now starting to feel flatter and I still have a ways to go!
So, how did I come to terms with this process? For starters, I had to work on patience and finding ways to respect my body. For example, doing things that makes me feel sexy. For me, getting my hair blown out or my nails done makes all the difference. I go from a frustrated working from home mom that doesn't have time to brush her hair to a glowing goddess who feels like she is ready for a night of dancing. (Notice I did say "feels like she is ready" since most nights I am exhausted and on the couch by 8 p.m. with a baby attached to my boob).
Of course, you may feel pressure to get back into shape quickly but it takes time to heal after what you have been through. And really, your baby does not care what your tummy looks like! So try not to compare yourself to others. Yes on TV we may see Heidi Klum jump back into a Victoria Secret bikini on the runway 2 weeks after giving birth. But this is not the norm!
Finally, I learned that it is better not to restrict your diet too quickly! If you are a breast feeding mommy like me, it is especially important because we are burning so many calories in order to feed our little ones. Therefore it is important to fuel our body with good nutrition to maintain our energy and strength.
Of course this isn't a free pass to eat whatever we want! Getting the right nutrition is key not only for our baby but for our bodies to heal. I did not really change my diet through pregnancy (for tips, read my post How to Feel Beautiful Pregnant) which made it easier to stay on track after giving birth. The key is to pay attention to you and your little one's body. Your diet has a huge impact on your little one. You can look for signs regarding your diet in their poop, their gas and just overall fussiness. This is why it can be helpful to keep a daily journal of what you are eating. Not only does it help you understand what you are putting in your body but you can also identify anything that you may want to consider removing to ensure you baby is as happy as can be!
Let's talk about breasts baby
Holy engorgement! I did not ever think that my breasts could be more sore than in the first trimester of pregnancy. Oh how I was wrong. These mountains (which used to be tiny slopes) are sore on the daily now. They are sore when they are too full, when they have been over used, when I sleep on them the wrong way, when I am pumping, when he is crying from hunger, and the list goes on and on.
Oh and did I mention that they are leaking too! So not only do I have to worry about Aiden peeing and pooping on me but there are also these leaky faucets on my breasts that soak through my shirts and dresses! (Don't get me started on the amount of laundry that increases when you have a baby!)
Then there is the art and science of learning how to breastfeed. I often wondered "how hard could it really be"? You know when your listening to your friends talk about their stories and challenges...and you're sitting there thinking "that won't happen to me!" DEAD WRONG.!! I was out of my mind crazy for thinking it could be so simple.
The pain I had to endure until we finally worked it out was beyond words. But in the end, if you are able to take on and overcome the challenging and complex task it is definitely worth every moment of doubt and uncertainty! Holding Aiden in my arms attached to me is truly an amazing experience!
So in order to maintain your dignity and beauty even with leaky, sore and cracked nipples you must find ways to make yourself more comfortable and try to be as prepared as possible. For example, when I travel not only do I pack a diaper bag for Aiden, I also include stuff for me! Things like nipple pads, an extra outfit, and nipple cream just in case.
Finally, it is important to remember this is only a moment in time and soon your boobs will go back to just being boobs.
Sleep is NOT overrated
Most of my friends warned me about the first few weeks of a newborn. They would all say "sleep when he is sleeping!" Did I listen? Absolutely not. Instead of getting in some zzz's when Aiden was napping, I was doing the laundry, making phone calls, checking emails, and all the other daily chores that were piling up. I continued this until my body said "enough" and physically shut down.
The truth is...sleep is essential to the healing process. It is also important if you want to feel good about yourself especially during a period where your hormones are trying to get back to normal. So please do actually take the time during the first few months to allow yourself to let go. Shut out all the worries and remove any expectations you may have on yourself and SLEEP! Besides napping with your little one is not so bad.
Now ladies, getting to take naps does not mean that you get to walk around your house all day in your PJ's! Yes runway models may look sexy with "PINK" written across their butts, but for you and I, we just look like hot messes! So save the active wear for teenagers and models! You will feel more attractive if you take the time (even if it is 30 seconds before your little one is howling for you) to put on some make up (gloss, blush and mascara at the very least) and get properly dressed.
Okay ladies there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips on how to stay beautiful post pregnancy. Please leave some comments below on anything I might have left out!
If all else fails and you are just having one of those mom days where nothing seems to help....count to 10, smile, pour a glass of wine and go read a chapter or two from the book "Sh*tty Mom, The parenting guide for the rest of us" - a gift I got from my funny friend Rebecca-Louise - which will surely make you laugh!