Navigating life after baby: A female transformation

 
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After you have a baby, your mind, body, emotions, and sense of self embark on a significant transformation. It is exciting to now have a little one that you are caring for and it is also very important to care for yourself. This article explores some of the important aspects of your life that transform as you step into your new role as a “mother”.

Identity:

When you are pregnant, you probably are beginning to realize yourself changing in many ways including your physical appearance, your eating habits, and your day to day activities. You may find yourself no longer focused on “you”, but more importantly the health and well-being of your baby. Your identity is changing from being a single person concerned about your own well-being and self-care, to a mother / parent that is taking on new responsibilities of completely caring for someone other than herself.

Emotions:

After having your baby, more than likely you will experience a wave of emotions. Form excitement, to fear and anxiety, to sadness and fatigue. When you are pregnant, your body mass produces the hormone progesterone which highly contributes to the growth of your baby, the expansion of your body to accommodate babies growing needs, and calming feelings. However, after delivery of your baby, the amount of progesterone your body produces plummets and estrogen then becomes the dominant hormone produced by your body at that time.  This drastic hormonal change contributes to what is commonly known as “baby blues” which may spark feelings of sadness and depression for a couple weeks after birth. For some women, it’s longer. Our bodies are all unique and may take time to adjust to the physical changes it’s undergone.

Self-care:

You may notice after having a baby that you barely have time to give to yourself in a way that you once did. Showering may become less of a priority, eating balanced meals may be harder to maintain, and sleep may be a thing of the past.  Self-care can become diminished while adjusting to your new responsibilities as a parent.

Needs:

After having a baby, you may be faced with a completely new set of needs than you’ve ever “needed” before. These needs may be: support or help from time to time from a friend or family member. Your needs may include quite time to yourself for 10 minutes a day. Your needs may also mean having flexibility at your job to care for your baby.

Communication:

After having a baby, you may find that you have to communicate with your partner and or friends and family members in different ways than before. Maybe you’ll find that you can’t keep up on the latest updates regarding your friend’s wedding, you may find it harder to return that call or text, you may find it harder to communicate your feelings in a way that you did before.

These are just some important aspects of your life that may change after having a baby. With these things in mind, it can be helpful to reflect and implement strategies to adapt to the new changes and transitions you are facing.

Helpful Tips:

Practice self-compassion: it may seem like the pressure of the world is on your shoulders when caring for your baby. You may wonder, “Am I doing a good job?”, “Am I a bad mother?”. Allow yourself to reflect on what you have done today (i.e. feeding your baby, changing your baby’s diaper, holding your baby). Congratulate yourself for being a caring parent that was able to care for your baby. Allow yourself to reassure yourself. If you have a partner or close family member that is helping care for your baby, understand that this is a big transition for them as well. Allow yourself to offer compassion to others by telling them how good of a job they are doing and or that you’re thankful for their help.

Communicate your needs:  Take a second  to think about what is important for you and what will be most helpful for you on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a hug, maybe it’s “me time for 10-20 minutes a day”, maybe it’s a nap, maybe it’s extra support. Communicating these needs to your partner and or friend or family members is important for them to understand how they can help and further support you.

Practice self-care: Do something that gives back to you on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a short walk around the block, listening to your favorite song, taking a nice hot shower, painting your nails, gardening, etc. Create the time to give back to you. Example: while baby is sleeping, paint your nails, color a picture, take a couple of deep breaths, practice positive self affirmations: “I’m doing a good job”, etc.

Acknowledge Your Emotions:

When a difficult emotion arises, take time to acknowledge how you are feeling and where that emotion may be coming from. Ask yourself “what do I need in this moment?” (Do you need to communicate something that triggered you? Did you take time for yourself? What has my inner dialogue been like today?). It is completely normal to feel sad, frustrated, angry, and or disappointed from time to time. Allowing yourself to acknowledge these emotions can be most helpful. Moving through these emotions with coping strategies such as journaling, taking deep breaths, talking with a friend, positive self-talk/self-affirmations, coloring, uplifting quotes, songs, and speeches, etc can allow us to feel the emotion and let it pass as though we are riding an ocean wave.


 

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