It's finally happened, I have entered parenthood and I am absolutely ecstatic. I am the girl that has been plagued by hormonal conditions like PCOS and hypothyroidism, I am the girl that unfortunately had two miscarriages but now I am girl that has a precious bundle of joy!
I gave birth to my beautiful girl, Isabella, five months ago. I always knew I would love my child but I never knew how deep and intense that love would feel, my whole world has changed. In fact it has turned upside down. So many amazing things for the better, other things… well, let’s just say, I’m still getting to grips with them! You see, although I would not change a thing, in reality no matter how much you prepare yourself, the first weeks of being a mum comes with its own emotional rollercoaster.
So while I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside here are some of the cold hard truths that comes with being a new mummy.
First, somebody opens the floodgate of tears, where you quite literally collapse into a heap on the floor, sobbing about spilt (breast) milk. Then there’s the wobbly rolls on your belly and the cracked nipples that throb between feeds. And, of course, there’s this tiny, beautiful baby who poops 24/7, cries and at times refuses to sleep, who you are completely responsible for…
When you throw into the mix the sudden grey skin, the Zombie-like sleep deprivation and the constant brain fog then it can be a real emotional struggle.
If you’re a new mum, then firstly, please realise that you’re not alone. Believe it or not, but we are all a Supermum, especially after we’ve just given birth. Even though you absolutely adore your baby, there is no shame in feeling like you have run 10 marathons back to back in flip-flops!
You might think that this is it, we are all destined to feel a little terrible in the first few weeks. But, there is good news ladies - there are plenty of things we can do to help steer us back on track and to balance out those crazy hormones (we’ve all been there!). Here is my survival guide for new mums:
In the early days of motherhood, you’re pretty much a walking, talking milk machine and you can often forget to nourish yourself.
Yet, when you’re surviving on 0.5 hours of sleep a night and recovering from labour, while getting to know your baby and learning how to be a mum, you need to eat well – and that means not fretting about the baby weight, too! (that will come off with time, I promise). Eat little and often, if you need to, and arm your changing bag with healthy, energy-boosting snacks, such as nuts and seeds.
Some of my favourite post-partum foods include salmon, which is rich in DHAs to support your mood, baby’s brain and ease those post-baby blues, eggs which are rich in iron and choline, energy-boosting whole grains such as brown rice and oats, antioxidant rich blueberries and leafy greens, AKA my Detox Warriors.
Also, try to drink plenty of water! Our bodies need to stay hydrated plus water is important for that boob juice production line, too!
IT'S OK TO CRY
Nothing can quite prepare you for those emotions and your mood will be all over the place. But, I promise, it’s OK - you can cry, and it’s completely normal. However, please chat with a doctor or your midwife if things don’t improve – Post-Natal Depression affects all too many of us, and there’s lots of support out there for you.
BALANCE YOUR HORMONES
Before I had Isabella, I was full of energy. I had glowing, healthy skin, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go and my moods were (fairly!) even. Now, I look like a grey wreck first thing in the morning, I cry over most things and I’ve forgotten what energy even is!
After a baby, it’s more important than ever to take care of your hormones. To enjoy hormonal harmony, aim to ditch processed and refined foods, eat plenty of healthy fats (we need good fats to help our bodies to form hormones), up your fibre intake, try to avoid too much caffeine, and aim to stress less – Meditation and Yoga, once you’ve been given the all-clear, can work wonders.
UNDER-EYE CONCEALER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
I don’t think I need to say anything else on this… only that, without my under-eye concealer, I would scare small children!
SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS
Heed that age-old advice and try to sleep when your baby does. Or, at the very least, put your feet up! I promise you that your body and hormones (and your loved ones!) will thank you for it. In the same way, don’t fret about keeping your house clean! A messy house with a content baby is a happy house…
Well, I sure was, I basically stayed in PJ’s for the first month! Those first few weeks can be overwhelming, but try to get some fresh air – it will be good for both you and your baby! It could just be for a stroll around the block, yet I guarantee it will boost that mood.
Once you’ve had the all-clear, you can even turn it into a metabolism-boosting power walk!
We are women, we are warriors. So, why, after we have a baby, do we put so much pressure on ourselves? How many times have you stood in front of the mirror, bemoaning your wobbly bits, or the little belly pooch that still won’t squeeze into your favourite skinnies?
I challenge you to look at it in a different way next time. Those stretch marks, they’re not to be bemoaned – they are the lines of a tigress, the story of a journey. Enjoy them, celebrate them and hear yourself roar!
Photo Credit: Dakota Corbin, Ian at Sidley Clark Photography
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