Pregnancy is a beautiful time for so many women, but what comes afterward isn’t always pleasant. Besides the fact that you have a wonderful new addition to your family, you may find yourself struggling with your own wellbeing, inside and out.
It’s obvious: your body undergoes insurmountable changes while growing a life inside of you for nine to ten months. Think about it—your body is stretched and torn during pregnancy and the process of giving birth— there’s nothing easy about that. One would think the worst is over after you’ve given birth and brought home your new bundle of joy, but unfortunately, it doesn’t just stop here.
As many women know but so few talk about, the postpartum changes your body endures can be very serious. Preparing yourself for how to care for your new body and mental state is essential for any woman who is expecting, or has already given birth to her child.
How To Feel More Like You After Pregnancy
If you’ve been thinking “I miss my old self”, or asking “what can I do to feel more like myself” after pregnancy and during postpartum, this is for you. Read on to learn about some of the most common challenges women are facing with their bodies and how they can help alleviate some of these issues.
Women know all too well what Postpartum Depression (PPD) is. About one in seven women will experience it during and/or after pregnancy. Often, women will experience baby blues, which has symptoms very similar to PPD, but typically won’t last much longer than a couple of weeks, whereas symptoms of PPD can go on for much longer. PPD can cause a multitude of issues for a new mother, including difficulties bonding with her newborn child and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Clearly, this is a serious issue that so many women face, and it leaves one wondering what they can do if they are experiencing PPD.
For some, seeking out group therapy with other new moms may be a beneficial way to alleviate the symptoms of PPD. For others who are struggling to cope, making an appointment with their doctor is just what they need to not only discuss, but treat their PPD symptoms. A physician will be able to either prescribe you anti-depressant medication, or provide you with other resources to help ease your depressive symptoms. PPD is something that should not be taken lightly, so please be kind to yourself if you are feeling this way, and be sure to seek the help if and when you need it.
After giving birth, you feel exhausted and sore. The last thing you need is some acne to get you down. It is very common, however, for women to notice breakouts in their complexion after giving birth. Your body’s hormones fluctuate so dramatically before, during, and after birth, that it’s no wonder why your skin would break out. The excess progesterone, a pregnancy hormone, can cause excess sebum to build up on your skin, and ultimately, lead to acne.
An easy way to help your skin return to its normal state would be to regularly cleanse and moisturize your skin on a daily basis. If you’re still frustrated with your breakouts, you could also try a topical acne treatment that will target breakouts and help clear up your skin. Being a new mom is stressful enough, and to have that stress cause your skin to break out can cause even more stress. Try your best to keep your cool and help clear your skin.
It is not unusual for women to experience soreness or tenderness in their breasts after giving birth, in preparation for breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this soreness doesn’t simply vanish after just a day or two. Typically, this discomfort will stick around while your body is producing milk, which can be only a few days if you don’t breastfeed, or can be long-term if you do breastfeed. Fortunately, you don’t have to just accept this discomfort, as there are a bunch of small tips and tricks you can try to alleviate your pain.
First, you’ll want a well-fitting and supportive nursing bra. Since your breasts are probably larger than you’re used to because they are filled with milk, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of support for the extra weight. Next, use ice packs on your breasts to help reduce the swelling and pain. Finally, you can take pain-relief medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you find it necessary to further alleviate your aches and pains.
However, swelling and pain are only normal to a point. Clogged ducts and mastitis are nothing to brush off or mess with. If your breasts start to feel painful, not just sore, or hot to the touch, you see or feel knots in your milk ducts, you have a fever or chills, and / or notice redness – these are a few signs you may have developed clogged ducts or mastitis.
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There may still be days you miss the old you. That you miss your life before kids. But here’s the thing:
Having a baby is a beautiful , but the changes it can force upon your body and mind can be really harmful to your health. The first thing you want to do after having a baby is feel like yourself again, and when your body is acting differently and you’re experiencing feelings you’ve never felt before, you may think you’ve completely lost your sense of self. Always be sure to consult with your doctor and seek the solutions you need to feel your best for you and your baby.
As a final thought – never forget to advocate for yourself. Many women have had to change doctors to find one that takes them seriously. It took me multiple times to find the right psychiatrist that felt like a good fit. And I went through three GP doctors before I found one who really listened.