Motherhood is a very rewarding experience; few things give as much joy as seeing your little one curled up in your arms. However, motherhood and childbirth can also be tough going. The days and weeks after childbirth can be extremely demanding, potentially draining you physically, emotionally, and mentally — and these could mess with your self-esteem. You may begin to feel not capable enough, not beautiful enough, and less of yourself as the days go by. Know that you are not alone. Follow these simple tips to restore your self-esteem while still taking care of your little one in those first few weeks.
Trust me, you’re still beautiful, you’re still a fantastic new mom, and a great woman. Much of the negative emotions you may experience after childbirth are often from overthinking minor issues. Remind yourself every day that you’re still beautiful and are a great mum to your infant and a great wife too. It takes time for things to get back to normal after childbirth and you just have to let things take their normal course.
You may find yourself looking in the mirror every morning, wondering when your postpartum belly will go away. Well, it will be soon enough. The uterus usually goes back to its original size within six weeks after birth, making your postpartum belly look flatter and smaller again. For those few extra fats and love handles, simply adjusting your diet and getting more active will help you shed those off.
If you feel worried that your lady parts may not look the same way or sex may not feel the same way after childbirth, rest assured that these sensitive areas usually return to their pre-pregnancy states after some weeks. If you sustained serious perineal injuries, vaginal reconstruction can help restore the appearance, symmetry, and tone of your lady parts.
Having a baby is like signing up for weeks and months of getting sleep-deprived. While newborns often love to rob you of your precious sleep, it doesn’t have to be this way all the time.
Postpartum fatigue and exhaustion occur in most women after childbirth, especially after vaginal birth. These further stress your mind and make you easily lose your sense of self and your self-confidence. However, there are some things you could do to get better sleep during the first few months of your baby’s life.
First, you might need to get help. Attempting to do all the housework, cooking, laundry, and taking care of your older children while you care for your little one will worsen your sleep deprivation and postpartum fatigue. Get help! Enlist the aid of your partner, family, and friends to take on housework and help with other activities. In fact, you could have your friend or family member watch and care for your newborn for a few hours while you catch some sleep. This leaves your mind feeling refreshed and pumped up when you wake up, leaving little room for self-pity and self-neglect.
There’s no rule that says you shouldn’t exercise after having a baby. You need all the exercises your body can tolerate to get you through those physically and emotionally demanding months.
One study examined the physical activity levels of more than 1000 postpartum women at their 6-week postpartum visit. About 1 in 3 of the women reported exercising at least three times every week. The findings were interesting: the women that exercised regularly retained less weight were more likely to stay positive and had better scores in the postpartum adaptation questionnaire.
Exercise does to the mind what it does to the body, it boosts our energy levels. Exercises release some “feel good” hormones, called endorphins, which give you a sense of calm and tranquility, making you feel good about yourself. What’s more, exercise shift your mind to a positive outlook, as you continually beat your body to achieve your physical fitness goals.
It’s so easy to forget about having a healthy diet while caring for your newborn. You spend all the time nursing the little one that you have so little to prepare or get healthy food for yourself. But what you may not know is that you may be depriving your body and mind of the needed nourishment.
You need to drink more water, take lots of fruits and veggies, and consume more fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. These foods not only have enough nutrients to repair and heal sore areas after childbirth, but they also nourish your mind and body, keeping you healthy while you take care of your little one.
While your newborn needs all the love, care, and nourishment they could get from you and your partner, you also need time to yourself. Take time off nursing your baby for a few hours and engage in something that piques your interest. Want to read the new novel you got? Or want to see the latest movie streaming? Ask for help from your partner or friends for those hours and indulge!
Making sure you engage in activities that you love gives the right balance for your physical and mental health, allowing you to nourish your mental wellbeing and restore your self-confidence.
Admittedly, the days and weeks after childbirth could stretch you beyond your limits and could easily knock off your self-esteem. The stress and mental strain that comes with pregnancy and childbirth could make you lose your sense of self and create a difficult postpartum period. Ensuring to maintain a healthy diet, having lots of rest, and engaging in activities you love are keys to maintaining your mental health and self-esteem during those postpartum days. Remember also to ease up on yourself and stay positive!
About the Author
Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with nearly a decade of experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience creating health content for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, drug addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals. Currently, he is a part of the team at Labiaplasty NYC Gynecology Clinic.