By Nicole Pelletiere
Life takes some radical turns after your baby is born (hello, zero sleep, fading social life, and extra pounds), making it easy to forget how you might’ve felt about yourself pre-baby, at least temporarily. Here’s how to give yourself a confidence boost and feel good after pregnancy.
Why you don’t always feel good after pregnancy
You might not be used to your post-baby body yet, but there’s actually deeper stuff at play on the chemical level. Childbirth and hormonal changes put stress on the body, zapping energy, says Cammi Balleck, Ph.D., author of Happy, The New Sexy. The result? You end up with a case of the baby blues—complete with low energy, a lack of focus, and dwindling motivation.
That’s not exactly a recipe to feel good after pregnancy. But there’s good news: You don’t have to wait around to start feeling like your old self again. With a little bit of know-how, you can start building up your post-baby confidence right now.
How to feel good after pregnancy
Take your vitamins To feel good after pregnancy, you’ll have to do some battle against all that stress by helping your body unleash feel-good hormones, Balleck says. Take a multimineral supplement with magnesium, which can regulate sleep and calm frazzled nerves. A whole food vitamin that supports hormone balance helps, too: Look for one with herbs like chamomile and chasteberry. And remember, always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen.
Don some (new) non-maternity clothes Even though you’ll start to lose weight while breastfeeding, regaining your old body will still take some time. And bumming out over the fact that your pre-baby jeans are still snug definitely won’t make you feel good after pregnancy. What will? Picking up a few non-maternity pieces that’ll make you feel pretty by fitting the body you have now. (It’s almost summer, so we’re all about tunics and sundresses!) If you’re working on a budget, swap clothes with a friend or buy and sell on an online consignment shop like ThredUp.com. Trust us—getting out of those baggy maternity clothes will do wonders for your self-confidence.
Keep up appearances For the last nine months, you’ve probably been following a swath of safe pregnancy beauty tips, which means you might’ve missed out on pedicures, your usual hair color regimen, and the like. Now, though, it’s time to get back on board: Help yourself feel good after pregnancy by indulging in a mani/pedi or trying a new hair color. Or just go get a blow-out for the heck of it. You’ll feel sexy!
Pamper yourself Life as a new mom is exhausting, and being worn out all the time is no way to feel good after pregnancy. Even though you’re busier than ever, recruit family and friends to help out so you can get an hour alone to take care of yourself. Do whatever it is that you find the most soothing: Take a nap, cook a healthy meal, go to yoga, get a massage, or soak in a warm bubble bath, says Balleck.
Set goals for the future You might not be able to imagine a time when life won’t revolve around naptime and diaper changes. But that day will come and you’ll want to be ready for it, so help yourself feel good after pregnancy by focusing on the future. Balleck suggests making a list of some of goals you want to accomplish: Maybe you’d like to finally jumpstart your blog, take a photography class, or run a 5K. The specifics don’t matter—what’s more important is having exciting plans to look forward to, which will help you feel optimistic right now.