As any new mum knows, pregnancy takes an enormous toll on your body, confidence and self-esteem. For nine months, your skin is stretched, your ankles are swollen and your back aches - and for months after delivery, your breasts swell and your sleep suffers.
But while having a baby is one of the greatest gifts this world has to offer, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and well-being as a new mum, so your child’s first days can be some of his or her happiest and healthiest, too! That’s why I encourage you to take these steps as a new mum to feel and look your best after your pregnancy: because when mama is happy, so is the rest of the family.
Tip #1: Take Care of Your Body
Your body is a sacred thing! It’s the vessel that allowed you to carry and deliver new life into the world, which is only one of many reasons why you should take the best care of it that you possibly can postpartum.
The first step in taking care of your body is to nourish it from the inside out. That means eating healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables, returning to a regular exercise routine (with your doctor’s permission, of course) and developing a positive attitude toward health, fitness and your new body. If you’re anxious about leaving baby behind, you can even attend a fun mommy and me workout class, get a jogging stroller or even watch a yoga video for new mothers. There are plenty of ways to get active and healthy again without sacrificing these special moments with your new baby!
After you’ve conquered your health and wellness, then it’s time to think about your everyday appearance. Whether it’s by simply putting on mascara in the mornings, getting a gorgeous new haircut or a full-on mummy makeover (see this website for details), putting in a little extra effort toward your appearance will go a long way in helping you love yourself and your body again after pregnancy.
Tip #2: Get Your Mojo Back
So many couples lead unhappy, sexless lives in the first weeks after baby arrives - but instead of hating your new body, why not take advantage of it? After all, a postpartum body can be just as sexy, if not sexier, than your old one!
Truthfully, your body may not ever go back to the way it used to be - but why would you ever want it to? When you got pregnant and gave birth, your body completed an incredible miracle. What could be sexier than that?!
A shift in attitude can completely transform your relationship and sex life with your partner after pregnancy - but so can a little outside help. That’s why I recommend you see a sex therapist if you’re really struggling, or simply read the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski for a helpful dose of sex therapy right at home.
Tip #3: Balance Your Mind and Body
Last but not least, it’s especially important to prioritize your mental health as a new mother. Between sleep deprivation and hormonal instability, the early days with baby can be some of the most emotionally challenging moments you’ll ever experience - especially if you suffer from postpartum depression like 40-80% of new mums (and even many celebrities!).
Like any other mental illness or stressor, postpartum depression or baby blues can be handled holistically or with medical intervention. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts or serious symptoms of depression, I recommend visiting a therapist or doctor for the 411 on postpartum depression and its treatment.
Otherwise, stay mentally healthy in the same ways you always would: eat, sleep, drink water, meditate, do yoga and, perhaps most importantly, make time for yourself as a new mum. Whether it’s a date night with hubby or a hobby you’d almost forgotten about, you deserve to spend time cherishing yourself after this emotional experience. Though it might feel impossible to leave baby with a babysitter (or your mother-in-law) at first, I promise that in time, you will begin to enjoy yourself and feel the benefits of self-care in your life as a new mum.