Giving birth is a massive milestone whether it be your first or fifth baby. Our guide to all things postpartum will assist you on your way to being happy and healthy post-delivery
by Sarah Hewitt
If you’re anything like me after having a baby, you might feel like you’ve entered into a new world – one which you don’t recognise and perhaps you aren’t ready for.
The ‘old’ you can feel like a distant memory. That girl who went out and had fun, who travelled, who made weekend plans, who wore nice clothes and actually did her hair? She’s disappeared.
Yes, you’ve got your wonderful bundle of joy and a string of well-wishing messages (which you probably haven’t got time to reply to), but postpartum life can also feel very lonely. Nobody quite gets how it feels to be you when your whole world has changed.
But the good news is, there are simple steps you can take to make your mind, body and soul feel better.
THE POSTPARTUM GLOW UP
Your body goes through so much during pregnancy and that’s not to mention what happens afterwards. Hair loss, hormonal changes, stretch marks and abdominal separation are just some of the common physical symptoms you might notice. But help is at hand.
- The Mummy MOT
Lots of clinics now offer a ‘Mummy MOT’ which is a specialist postnatal examination usually delivered by a physiotherapist who will check your posture, pelvic floor, Diastasis Recti (tummy separation) and more. This is a great way to get a sense of control over your body again and take proactive steps to feel happier in your own skin.
- Personal styling
You’ve been in maternity clothes for months then after you deliver, you’re left with a bunch of stuff that’s too big and all your pre-pregnancy clothes are still too small. Find a personal styling service to help you identify what the new you wants to wear and most importantly what you feel comfortable in. There are services out there who will curate outfit options for you whether online or in person. It usually involves taking a detailed quiz so that a stylist can get to know you and put together some looks based on your answers.
- Get moving
We’re not talking running or hitting the gym but a little bit of movement can help you reconnect with the body you might not recognise any more. Go easy on yourself. Get your step tracker on and go for a walk. Pilates and yoga are great too or you could hire a personal trainer to give you that extra little bit of motivation on your fitness journey.
- Mummy makeover
It might sound a tad shallow but sometimes doing your hair, getting your nails done or going for a wax can make you feel happier. So, make some time in your diary each month where someone can watch the baby while you go off and do one (or all) of these things. Little acts of self-care go a long way.
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
Above anything, your mental health is the piece that it is critical to look after. Postpartum depression and anxiety are so common but can go undiagnosed for months, sometimes years, if you don’t know where to turn for help.
- Finding connection
They say it takes a village but, let’s face it, in modern society, nobody has really got time to make that a reality. So, it’s up to you to go out there and find your people - the other mums who you can pass the time with, the ones in the same boat who don’t judge and can meet you where you’re at. There are ‘mother circles’ all over the world and playdates around every corner. Check social media, ask for recommendations or search Google. Connection with others over a (most-likely) lukewarm cup of coffee is so important.
- Seeking professional help
If you’ve got a doctor you like, talk to them. If not, find somebody in your life who you know will listen without judgement. There are lots of free services out there as well as counsellors, therapists and coaches – you don’t have to do this alone.
- And finally, you do you
Lots of us feel like we ‘should’ be with our children 24/7. We feel guilty or selfish if we do anything for ourselves and that can lead to us feeling down, depressed and lost. It might sound harsh but you don’t have to listen to what your mum, your friends, your sister or your Instagram friends think about raising children. Carve your own path. Seek childcare if you want to. Go back to work or stay at home if you want to. Let the kids have the iPad for a bit while you get dressed if you want to. Know that it’s ok for them to eat chicken nuggets sometimes. This is your journey – don’t let societal pressures make you feel like it’s not.