Ask Away...: Getting Back To 'You' After Pregnancy

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Getting Back To 'You' After Pregnancy

It's no secret that pregnancy changes our lives in more than one way. The obvious change is that at the end of it, you have a baby - a whole other human life that depends on you and you alone to take care of him or her. All the things you may have once considered to be important, such as going out drinking or buying the latest fashions, now take a backseat as your world becomes all about the baby. Physical changes are next up on the list, with a huge proportion of women finding that their bodies change massively both during and after pregnancy. All these things are just normal aspects of being a new mother, but adjusting to them all is another issue entirely. Some women find it harder than others to adjust to their new life - it is different for every individual case. Having a young baby can also mess with your hormones and your mental health, especially if you are a single mother bringing up your child on your own. Sure, it can be an exciting time, but it can be easy to feel swamped by your new responsibilities and by all the sudden interest in your role as a mother. This leaves many first-time parents feeling lost, as though the second their child was born they lost any individual identity and simply become 'mom.' But although your child may be your whole world, you still have plenty more to offer than just changing diapers and talking about how tired you are! Take a look at these tips for holding onto your identity even after the birth of your child, and how you can get back to feeling like 'you.'

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Make time for friends

The idea of leaving your new baby out of your sight for more than a couple of minutes probably terrifies you. But it's something you are going to have to do sooner rather than later, so you know the saying: there's no time like the present! Plus, the longer you wait it out before finally taking the plunge, the harder you are likely to find it. Taking time out of mom responsibilities to catch up with your friends can be a welcome change, if only you give it a chance. Motherhood can easily sap up all your time and energy, and you probably have been quite out of the loop regarding your friend's lives for the past few months. Remember that even though they may not have children, they still have things going on in their lives - work, family, relationships, etc. Sitting back and listening to what your friends have been up to can add a slice of normality back into what can often be a very unusual time in our lives - and of course, they will want to hear all about your baby too! Consider leaving your child with a trusted family member while you pop out to see the girls, even if it's just for an hour or so. Getting out of the house can also stop you from suffering from cabin fever, and you will return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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Treat yourself to some new clothes

Okay, so for some of us, it takes a while to snap back into that pre-baby body. There really shouldn't be any rush to whip back into shape. After all, you've just had a baby! There is far too much to do during those first few months of your child's life to worry about working out and eating a super-strict diet. It's more about finding the time to eat ANYTHING, as you probably know. But if re-wearing all of your old maternity stuff seems less than appealing (it probably does), why not treat yourself to some new clothes? Chances are you are probably somewhere in between your maternity size and back to your pre-baby dress size - so rather than forcing yourself into either of them, simply get some new outfits to see you through! Buying clothes that you feel good in and that work for everything motherhood can throw at you is seriously undervalued. Even if it's just a bright blouse or a great-fitting pair of jeans, it can really make you feel more like yourself again.

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Seeing a doctor

Sometimes, the challenges we face as new mothers can be a little more on the serious side. You may have had a stressful birth that has had a particularly negative effect on your body, and you just can't shake the self-conscious feeling that's been hanging around you ever since. In these instances, you may want to consider seeing a specialist doctor details about any concerns you may have. You can find details about the practice in advance online, so you should be able to get some idea of whether it is right for you. Mental health is also something that should be at the top of your priority list as a new mom. If you are feeling constantly down or you have trouble bonding with your baby, it could be a sign of postnatal depression. Visit your family doctor or find out if there are any support groups for mothers in your area. Bear in mind that your hormones are all over the place after giving birth, so if you do feel low, don't be too hard on yourself. It will pass.

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Taking up a hobby again

This probably won't be something you can do until your child is a little bit older. But getting back into an old hobby can be a great way to reconnect with your old self again and give you some time away from 'mom mode.' Drop your child off to spend an hour or two with grandma and grandpa and head off to the activity of your choice - it could be anything from your local sports team to attending a life drawing class. Focusing your mind on something other than feeding times, diapers and baby books will be a welcome change, and you can lead a much healthier and happier life as a result.

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