Having a baby is a huge moment in anyone’s life. It’s a time that marks a huge change in your life: you’re a parent now, and you’ve got a little person relying on you to raise them right for the next 18 years or so. It’s going to cost you a lot of time and money and physical energy, and you’re always going to have to be on the ball to be the best parent you know you can be!
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy time, by any means. There’s a lot you can get right and wrong when you’ve got someone with no life experience running around the house, making mistakes and a lot of messes, and coming home to you with an A on their homework or to tell you the person they have a crush on asked them on a date. And whilst this is all going on, it can feel like your body is probably still recovering from giving birth to them in the first place!
So first of all, congratulations on your new bundle of joy! You’ve got a very rewarding, and ultimately, quite challenging time ahead, and this is your chance to get it started with a bang! So here are some tips and tricks on how you can really bounce back after pregnancy and labor if you’re looking for a bit of advice on being more confident with your physical assets.
You’ve got a little superhero on your hands now, so it’s time to be proud of the body that birthed them!
The Time Can Vary
Your body went through a mini-hell growing and delivering your child, and whilst you wouldn’t change that for the world, you’d like to be done with the waiting for your uterus to go back to its normal size or for your breasts to stop aching. And of course these things are all going to happen in time, but that time can be 6 or 7 weeks, or it could be months and months on end. If it’s the latter, it can make you feel like you’ve done something wrong; but you haven’t, and you just need to simply let yourself heal!
If you’ve just had a baby, and someone you know also has just had a baby, don’t let yourself compare your recovery period to hers. Recovery time can vary from woman to woman, and try to push yourself when your body is at one of its most vulnerable times is a bad idea. No matter if she took only a month to feel like herself again and get back to her fighting weight, you have a body of your own to be looking after, and it’s no worry if it takes longer. It’s no race, and more of a marathon to take at a pace you’re comfortable with to keep yourself going!
Feeling a Little Pain is Normal
Pain, after you’ve given birth, isn’t something we talk about a lot, but it happens all the time, and most women will experience varying aches and pains. Hey, your uterus is still shrinking back to its normal size, and that can be quite uncomfortable! The aches or sharp bursts of pain in your belly and abdomen are commonly known as afterpains, and they’re nothing to worry about, just make sure you expect them. Of course, if the pains never go away, or they never ease off after some time, you might need to visit a doctor to make them aware of the situation.
These pains may or may not get worse as you’re breastfeeding if you do that of course. Breastfeeding is often cited as a good method for losing baby weight after you’ve given birth, and that’s because it helps the uterus to contract faster than it would when you’re not feeding the baby with your own milk. And the aches will only get duller or stab sharper because of this process; there’s a lot of pros and cons to weigh up when it comes to the effect on your body when you’re breastfeeding!
Invest in a hot water bottle to make these pains easier to deal with, just like you would if you were experiencing some particularly bad period pains. Whatever makes you feel good during those times, try them out now; eat some chocolate, rest as much as you can etc. Just make sure you’re focusing on getting through the pain with minimal disruption to your life.
Accepting All of the Stretch Marks
Ah, stretch marks. They’re constantly making a nuisance of themselves Considering about 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks during their time carrying the baby, the first thing to know is that having these kinds of scars on your body is completely normal. Even women who aren’t pregnant and never have been having them, and they’re very likely to happen during puberty and any kind of rapid change in someone’s body; a.k.a you shouldn’t worry about them at all.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no stigma surrounding them in our society, and if you have ‘stripes’ on your belly and your butt and your thighs, you can feel a bit down about yourself. And even though we’ve had a lot of research conducted into how they form, and whether there’s any prevention, the scientific world hasn’t come up with anything yet.
But there’s a lot of creams and oils out there you can experiment with, quite a few women have found success with them. And if that fails, you can always turn to cosmetic surgery, if you’re not happy with how they fade and make your beach body look!
Dealing with the Mood Swings
Your hormones are going to be all over the place after you’ve given birth, there’s no way around that. You shouldn’t have to censor these mood swings either; just make sure your family and your partner know what’s happening in your endocrine system so they never feel unjustly punished when you’re feeling a little aggressive.
But of course, the main worry about mood swings is the ‘baby blues’. You were feeling elated when you gave birth and able to hold your child for the first time! But now you’re home you’re feeling less enthusiastic about the venture, and you don’t know where to from here. All you know is that you’re sadder than you feel you should be, and that makes you feel very guilty; you can end up thinking, ‘I’ve had a baby, so many people would love that to happen to them, and I’m just completely out of energy to deal with my child!’
But all in all, this is quite a normal reaction and should fade with time. Reach out to people for help and advice, and always make sure you tell someone you love and trust about the ambivalence you’re feeling. But if the feelings don’t fade, you may need to contact your doctor and get help from the professionals over your more extreme feelings. There’s no harm in it!
Getting back on track when your body has been developing another life for 9 months is hard, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s not an impossible feat, and it’s one you can take at your own pace with your own methods. Don’t let yourself worry too much that your body isn’t the same, you can look very much new and improved, and extremely healthy considering the amount of effort you’ve been putting in to recover properly!
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