After pregnancy and childbirth, your body has gone through a lot of changes and it may not look or feel the same as before. For many women, this can cause issues with confidence and self-esteem. The lack of time you have to yourself when caring for a baby can increase these negative feelings, and you may feel constantly tired and run down. The lack of sleep plus a feeling of not knowing how to care for a baby or adapt to your new life can also lead to feelings of inadequacy. Fortunately, there are many ways you can increase your confidence after childbirth. Here are a few suggestions, which may help.

Give Yourself Credit

The first thing I would say to anyone who is feeling less like themselves after childbirth, is to sit back a bit and look at your mindset. Having a baby is a very major life change, with physical and hormonal changes as well as a whole new lifestyle of caring for an infant, which often comes with broken sleep and disrupted routines.

The media continues to give us images of celebrities who snap back into shape almost immediately after giving birth, and sometimes makes fun of those unfortunate celeb mums who don’t achieve this ideal. But realistically, the celebrity lifestyle and the help that you can get if you are wealthy enough, is not the norm for most people.

It is perfectly normal to be out of shape for quite some time after having a baby. It takes time to get to the point where you are getting enough sleep and have the time and space to look after yourself. Give yourself credit for the amazing thing that you have just done, and realise that most people will not be judging you on your appearance when you have a little one.

Post-natal depression is something to watch out for. If you feel that your negative feelings are more than just baby blues, then reach out to a medical professional. There is plenty of help available to help you cope with these feelings.

Get some support

The best thing that you can do is to seek out a community of other new mums, so that you can offer each other support and advice. It can be reassuring to see that you are not alone, and that what you are feeling is normal. You may find NCT Postnatal classes in your area or other similar organisations, where you can find support. Your health visitor may also be able to reassure you.

Self-care

Having a baby means that the time you can spend on yourself drastically decreases at first, and this can lead to issues such as a lack of confidence and a sense of losing yourself.

You will probably find lots of people encouraging you to find time for self-care and when you are in the thick of things it almost seems like this is impossible. Self-care, before you had your baby, might have meant days out, lunches with friends, hours spent doing things just for you. Now most of those things will have to take a back seat for a while, but it’s still important to find little pockets of time and space for you whenever you can.

Having nice products in the shower can make that time feel special, and having a good book on the go for the few minutes you do get to sit down and relax can be a wonderful way to escape. Take care of what you are eating too – trying to maintain a healthy diet and eating food that you enjoy can go a long way towards lifting your mood.

This busy time is not forever, and you will have more time again as your baby gets older, but carve out little self-care moments for yourself as often as you can. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Keeping your own spirits up is a very important part of learning how to care for your baby effectively.

Exercise

At some point, it is a good idea to start exercising again – getting some fresh air and moving your body every day are certainly beneficial and will lift your mood.

Be aware that it may not be possible or sensible to start straight back with the exercise regime you were following before you were pregnant. Your body has changed and been through a lot, and it will take time to recover your strength. Make sure that you have a sign-off from your GP or health visitor to start exercising again, especially if you had a C-section. You may also want to consider seeing a personal trainer who specialises in postnatal fitness, especially if you had SPD during pregnancy or if you have diastasis recti.

Research Alternative Treatments

For many women, a gentle targeted exercise regime and a sensible diet, plus the regular process of hormones returning to normal, will help their body to regain a shape that they are comfortable with, in the first year after birth

However, some women feel that even after exercising and taking care of themselves, they are still unhappy with the way their body remains after having children. If this is you, then you may want to look into and research cosmetic procedures. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is popular among women who have given birth as this procedure gets rid of the excess skin on your stomach. In addition, if having a baby has led to changes to your breasts (loss of volume or sagging) that make you feel less confident, a breast augmentation may be right for you. This is a procedure that reshapes the breast and also enlarges it, so it can help you to regain your pre-pregnancy figure.

Set aside some time with your partner

In addition to self-care, it’s also important to set aside time to spend with your partner. This will strengthen your relationship and also give you the opportunity to be intimate. After childbirth, many women can feel less confident and therefore a bit hesitant to be intimate with their partner, but if you set aside time to spend together, you can work through these issues and start to become more confident again. 

You may be worried about how your partner will see you, with your body in its postnatal state. The best thing to do is to talk to them about it. You will probably find that they have absolutely no problem at all with what you look like. You may also find that they have worries and insecurities of their own about adjusting to parenthood, and if you are open and jonest you can work through all of these things together.

Pregnancy and childbirth can change your body in many ways, and this can lead to a lack of confidence for many women. However, remember that you’re not alone and there are steps you can take towards feeling more confident again. Don’t underestimate the importance of setting aside some time for yourself!

Here are some more posts you may enjoy