Congratulations on your new bundle of joy; having a baby Is a magical time. However, you life gets turned upside down, and things can’t be exactly as they were before your favourite little human came along. You’re likely to be sleep deprived, stressed, worried, even if you are elated that you’ve made this tiny person; so it can feel challenging to focus on yourself and regain your inner confidence once again. The following are some things to consider if you could use a helping hand to feel like yourself again after your baby; being a mum can be amazing, but that’s not just all you are.
You’ve grown a human being inside your body for about nine months, and their safe arrival was down to you; this will have taken its toll on your inner strength and wellbeing. You may or may not have breastfed, you might have had stitches, or an awesome C-section scar; however it all happened, your body will have changed, and you might not feel as strong as you did before baby. You’ll need as much stamina back as possible now you’re a mum; they will certainly be keeping you on your toes, so you’ll need to find a balance between looking after your child and be kind and taking care of yourself.
You can start with your meals; it’s always a great idea to get as many meals cooked and popped in the freezer before baby arrives so that you and the family have something to heat up that will fill you up with nutrition. Stock up on nuts, pulses, and seeds so that there’s plenty of protein in the kitchen and you can grab a handful should you get peckish (and you will). Of course, you’ll need a few biscuits here and there, but be mindful that you’ll need to fuel your body with fresh ingredients so you can continue to power through the first challenging year or so. Check out some simple, new mum recipes here: www.jamieoliver.com/tips-for-new-mums/ for some inspiration on what to whip up in the kitchen and nourish your body with.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks; if you don’t have the time or inclination to cook something, so what? Your baby is your priority, so stop beating yourself up, you’re doing great. However, you’ll need to look after your inner health as much as possible so that you’ll have enough strength to tackle the daily grind of motherhood. Little things, like doing your weekly food shop online when baby’s asleep, will mean you don’t have to traipse around the supermarket; many online supermarkets also provide quick and easy meal plans and recipes, so use them for guidance and inspiration.
Eating a filling and healthy breakfast will help to power you through the day and (might) assist you after the two hours of sleep you got the night before. Stock up on eggs in the fridge, oats, milk, and some fresh fruit and veg so that there’s always something to hand when you need filling up fast. Homemade protein balls can provide the energy spurt you need to get everything in the pram and go out for some fresh air, so consider making some or rope your partner and loved ones in; this is a team effort remember! If you’re hungry; eat, it’s as simple as that, just be mindful of what you’re fueling yourself with and you’ll begin feeling strong again in no time.
Sorting Out The Medical Stuff
Some of the changes in your body after you’ve had a child can impact your everyday life. It’s essential that you let go of any embarrassment (trust that the medical professionals have seen absolutely everything before). If you’re having any issues functioning as you did, for months after you’ve given birth, don’t just accept it as part of life now; seek help, advice, and treatment from your GP or nurse. Whether you’re upset that you’re struggling to breastfeed, or you’re rushing to the loo every few minutes; it’s not uncommon at all, and there are always things you can do to help improve your life. For some common post-pregnancy health issues, take a look here and discover how you’re not alone in your situation and what you can do to treat them.
You’ve probably decided that you don’t want to get pregnant again anytime soon as you’re trying to focus on the baby you’ve just had! Therefore, you’ll need to sort out your method of contraception as soon as possible; you’re going to be extremely fertile after giving birth, so you’ll want to prevent any unexpected surprises. Whether you go back to your usual pill, or you’ve looked into methods that you don’t have to keep track of every day like the contraceptive injection or copper coil; try to organise it on your first trip to the GPs after birth. You’ll have the peace of mind that you won’t get pregnant when you don’t want to and give your body’s hormone level the chance to settle down a bit so you can feel human again.
It’s vital that you keep track of how you’re really feeling; there’s a difference between feeling tired and tearful, and the symptoms of postnatal depression. If you’re unsure of the symptoms, you can find them here: www.netmums.com/support/pre-and-postnatal-depression and don’t ignore them and hope they’ll go away. Again, it’s a common condition in women who have given birth; it’s merely a chemical imbalance, and it can be treated so you can start enjoying motherhood and your baby. Never be ashamed to ask for help; that’s what the medical professionals are there for so lean on your partner and loved ones, and ask them to accompany you to your appointments, so everyone understands what’s going on and how to help you. You’ve got this!
A Confidence Boost
Now that you’ve ensured that you’re eating well and you’ve had all your doctors appointments; it’s time to focus on treating yourself and giving yourself a confidence boost. The likelihood is that your body will have changed since being pregnant (no surprise there) and sometimes, this affects how you feel when you look in the mirror. This is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some fresh, new clothes and give your wardrobe and yourself a new lease of life. Hop onto ASOS or an array of other online retailers and pick out a few items that will work well together and you’ll feel much better about walking out the house every day in something other than joggers or pyjamas (although, there are always legitimate reason for both of these).
Book an appointment with the hairdresser and get your haircut and maybe dyed; there’s nothing quite like the feeling of salon-fresh hair, and it will put a spring back in your step when you’re out buying nappies and baby wipes. If you enjoy freshly painted nails; book yourself a manicure and a pedicure, so you can feel put together a distract yourself from how tired you really are. If you get chance at home; paint your own nails, sit in the bath, pop a facemask on, or do all of the above; it’s about getting the positive feeling that a little pampering and a treat can bring back. Don’t keep putting yourself on the bottom of your (never-ending) list; your happiness and wellbeing are essential for a content and cared-for baby.
Call The Babysitter
You’ve got your hair done, you have a killer outfit, and your nails are painted; surely it’s time for a date night or a grown-up lunch with friends? To get back to feeling like yourself again, you’ll need the odd bit of time away from your baby. It will be a challenge at first as you’ll be worrying about if they’re feeding or sleeping well; however, calling in the babysitter, whether it’s your mum or a family friend, will allow you to breathe and get some headspace. You’ll also be able to focus on the important relationships in your life that you need to be able to continue with successful motherhood; so, pick up the phone and book a table, buy some cinema tickets, and get the bottles prepped and ready for the babysitter.
Even an hour or two away from the stress and responsibility of being a new mum will give you a much-needed boost to get back to it afterwards. Your loved-ones will appreciate seeing you again, and it will all help towards a more confident and happy you, which is great for both baby and mum.
There Are Loads More Mums Out There
Lastly; remember that there are so many other new mums out there, and they’re going through exactly what you are. Use the internet to connect through blogs (hello), websites, and sources of advice. Find any local groups for mums, so that you can meet up for coffee with your babies in tow and discuss the issues that only mums will understand. There’s a wealth of advice out there from mums at every stage of motherhood (including your own mum), so create a support system for yourself, and you’ll never feel alone. You’ve done an incredible thing and had a baby; be proud and look after yourself so you can begin feeling like you again.
This is a collaborative post.