There’s nothing as joyful as having a child. It was well worth the emotion, pain, weight-gain, and stretch marks. But that doesn’t mean you always feel great about yourself and your body afterwards.
It’s not easy to bounce back, and you might compare yourself to women who have never been through childbirth. Regaining your confidence will be challenging, but it won’t be impossible if you use the following seven tips:
1. Give Yourself Time
You can’t expect change the day you leave the hospital. You’ll need at least six weeks for the body to fully heal, and you should take advantage. Rest, eat right, and soak in all the cuddles with your sweet baby. When your body is fully healed and you’re emotionally ready, you can start working on a few things.
2. Take Your Body Back
Remember that you’re in control of your body, and if you’re not happy with something, you have the power to change it. Whether it’s having your stretch marks removed or hiring a personal trainer, there’s no shame in working to improve your body.
Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You shouldn’t believe that your self-worth is connected to your appearance, but a few small adjustments to your lifestyle can make you feel more confident.
3. Express Your Emotions
Too many moms believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. Unfortunately, this belief often leads to inner negative self-talk as a terrible coping mechanism. It’s better to let yourself feel sadness, anger, depression, and all the other emotions that come with giving birth.
Don’t feel like you have to stay strong for your new baby or your other children. According to neuropsychologist Kathryn Oden, Ph.D., it’s good for your child to see your emotions because it teaches them how to handle them.
“Your child is going to run that ‘mommy tape’ in her head the rest of her life whenever she’s feeling emotional,” Dr. Oden shared with Parents.com. “She’s going to learn how to self-soothe from you.”
This doesn’t call for theatrics or dramatic breakdowns, but it does allow you to process your feelings so that it doesn’t turn inward and tear you down.
4. Fake It Until You Make It
While you must deal with your emotions in a healthy way, there’s no harm in occasionally putting on a fake smile, repeating positive mantras, and facing the day. With small beings depending on you for survival, you don’t have the luxury of crying on the couch for two days straight, and sometimes, you just have to pretend.
Oftentimes, self-encouragement and a fake smile can actually turn your mood around. Other times, they get you through the hard bits so that you can break down and deal with your emotions in a healthy manner.
5. Cut the Guilt
Guilt is inevitable, whether from others or yourself. Guilt is a natural emotional response that motivates you to do better. However, it shouldn’t make you feel worthless.
In answer to this problem, Nicole Rodgers, executive director of the Family Story, shared the following advice with HuffPost:
“My own mother always said to me that the best way to survive and thrive as a working mom is to get comfortable not giving 100 percent to everything all the time, and remembering that 80 percent is usually enough. Throw away the idea of perfect, basically.”
6. Find Your Tribe
Nobody understands what you’re going through like a group of moms who’ve been through similar things. You can take your kids to the park, meet for coffee on a Saturday, and enjoy other moments of connection to build each other up.
Stay away from moms who can’t provide that support for you. Competitive friends that always want to one-up you or your child, give unsolicited advice, or point out flaws are not for you.
7. Stay Close to Your Partner
Not everyone goes through motherhood with a partner by their side, but if you have someone, don’t neglect them. It’s easy for the two of you to get lost in caring for your child, but your relationship will dwindle if you don’t nourish it.
According to Executive Director of the Center for Maternal and Infant Health at the University of North Carolina, Sarah Verbiest, communication is the key to maintaining strength in a relationship.
“Keeping an open communication with one’s partner, and not making assumptions on how [each partner] is feeling and taking the time to talk about it is important,” she shared in an interview. “Conversations can get very ‘daily survival,’ and it’s important to keep digging into the deeper issues.”
When you’re confident in your relationship and how you work as a team with your partner, you’ll be more confident in yourself as an individual.