Advice on getting ready for postpartum life largely focuses on how to take care of the health and well-being of your baby. One thing that is not often talked about is the impact that a postpartum body can have on the confidence and happiness of the mother.

Your body goes through a lot of changes throughout your pregnancy, and some of those changes can last a lifetime. Fortunately, there are ways that you can psychologically prepare yourself for your postpartum body.

1. Know What to Expect and What Your Options Are

Preparing to give birth is more than just about getting your body ready, but also your mind. Being mentally prepared for your postpartum body means that you will know what to expect in the postnatal period. When you know what to expect, you won’t be shocked or surprised by what you encounter and you will be better prepared to handle it.

Before you give birth, you should learn about the way that your body will change in the postpartum period. While every woman is different, it is common for women to experience swollen feet and extremities, saggy breasts, nipple pain, a pronounced stomach pooch, stretch marks, skin discoloration, hair loss and thinning, acne, excessive sweating (especially at night) and changes to the vagina.

Fortunately, most of these changes will go away within a year after giving birth. However, certain changes will stay with you for a lifetime. If you are unhappy with the small imperfections on your body, you don’t have to be stuck with them forever. There are ways to fix these problems, one of which is minor plastic surgery.

For example, many women find that their vagina loses its shape after they give birth. In case you are not happy with the look of your vagina, you have the option to undergo labiaplasty which is a surgical procedure done to reshape a woman’s labia minora (the inner lips of the vulva). On the other hand, if you think your vagina and surrounding muscles need some tightening, then vaginoplasty would be a good solution. Anyway, make sure to consult with your plastic surgeon before you make any decision.

2. Find Ways to Manage Stress

Giving birth to a baby is not only stressful for your body but also your mind. Many women experience emotional stress, including uncertainty and anxiety, after giving birth. This can worsen your body’s physical problems. Managing stress can make your postpartum life much easier. These are some tips on how to manage stress:

    • Get enough sleep and eat healthily. It is understandable that a new mom may not be able to get much sleep. Therefore, you should lean on family and friends at this time to help you so you are able to care for yourself.

 

    • Find your stress triggers and avoid them. For example, if going on social media stresses you out, then avoid it for as long as possible. Additionally, say ‘no’ to things that you know will stress you out.

 

 

    • Take some time each day, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to do something for yourself. This can include reading a book, listening to music or taking a bath.

 

    • Communicate your worries and stresses with your partner. Just talking about your concerns can help ease some of your worries.

 

Find Ways to Manage Stress

3. Join a Group of Expecting and New Mothers

No two pregnancy experiences are the same. Some of your friends might have “bounced back” to their pre-pregnancy body quickly, which may make you think that you are doing something wrong. You are not. It is important to know that there are many women that are having the same postpartum issues as you. This is why it can be helpful to join a group of new mothers who can relate to you and share your experiences after you have given birth.

There are many ways you can find a mom group, including:

    • Check your local library or community center, as they often have resources for new parents.

 

    • If religion plays a role in your life, then you can check with your local religious organization for any new mother gatherings in your area.

 

    • Ask the hospital where you give birth, as some hospitals organize new mom groups.

 

    • Connect with new moms online. You can find like-minded moms online through different forums or Facebook groups.

 

    • If your child goes to daycare, you can try to meet up with parents from the daycare on weekends.

 

4. Make a Workout Plan

Planning can help ease some of the stress you may be feeling when you anticipate how your postpartum body will look like. The unfortunate reality is that you are not going to be able to start working out the moment your baby is born. In fact, for the first few months, all your energy will go towards the baby and you will have little time to yourself. If you are an active person, you will have to face the fact you may not be able to go back to being active for a while.

First, you should talk to your doctor about when it is safe for you to start working out again. Next, it is important to remember to start off slow. You have had several months of not being active and your body will not be accustomed to working out the way you used to. Finally, you should develop a realistic fitness plan.

There are several workout apps that are geared towards people that have not been active for a while and are looking to get back into it. If you can afford it, it can also be a good idea to hire a personal trainer who can help you work towards your fitness goals at a rate at which you are comfortable.

Make a Workout Plan

5. Talk to a professional

Many women that give birth suffer from postpartum depression (PPD). Having a postpartum body that you are unhappy with can worsen your PPD. Therefore, if you are feeling extremely anxious and stressed about your postpartum body, then it might be time to talk to a professional. Talking to a family member or your partner can help, but feelings concerned with body image are often accompanied by shame, and many women don’t feel comfortable talking about it. This where a professional therapist or counsellor can help you.

Therapists and counselors are trained to help figure out where your stress and anxiety stems from and give you advice on how to handle your emotion and concerns revolving things, such as your postpartum body. They can also identify whether you are going through something more, such as PPD, and provide you with strategies and resources on how to handle it.

Conclusion

Don’t forget that all mothers are beautiful, regardless of their shape and size. There is no right way to prepare for a postpartum body, but it is important that you are kind to yourself in the process. You should try to practice self-compassion. Most importantly, your body will get to a place where you are happy with it just give it some time to heal.

 

 

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