This is a collaborative post.
‘But how long does it take to feel normal again?’ Is a question often asked by new mums at the end of their tether with post-childbirth recovery, dealing with sleep deprivation, the demands a newborn and perhaps struggling with breastfeeding as well. The world has turned upside down, and for many women, especially those who are used to being career focused, it’s a much bigger adjustment than they may have realised. The truth is that a post-partum identity crisis is experienced far more often than it’s talked about. It’s a complicated issue but there are some simple steps you can take to bring you back to yourself.
Reimagine Your Style
Clothes seem somehow frivolous after you’ve brought a new life into the world, by the truth is, how we dress is a big part of expressing ourselves and telling the world who we are. If you’re used to dressing for a corporate environment and suddenly find yourself needing clothes for coffee mornings, or if you can’t figure out how to look good and be practical, an adjustment is needed. Throw in a changed body and you may have little idea where to begin. So spend time figuring out what your style is now and putting together some cute but practical outfits that make you feel good and are easy to grab in the mornings. This guide to mum-friendly style is extremely useful.
Reclaim Your Body
New motherhood is time where you have been forced to give up full control of your own body, from unexpected pregnancy cravings to physical changes in your body and getting used to a lot of contact with your baby. So one of the most important things for getting back a sense of self is reclaiming your physicality. This could be developing a simple exercise routine- anything from gentle walks to body-strengthening work. Parenting.com has a great article about beginning Pilates after childbirth. Make sure you address any lingering issues in your body, such as persistent pelvic pain – find more at patient.info. If you find yourself suffering a weakened back, a physiotherapist could advise.
Change The Subject
It’s totally understandable – this new little being in your life is all-consuming, and so naturally, even when you’re apart, you find yourself talking about them constantly to friends, family and your partner. But make a conscious choice to change the record every so often. Keep your curiosity about news events, other people’s lives and topics outside of baby-related ones. There’s no surer way to feel like your horizons are shrinking than to close them off yourself. If you reconnect with other things, you’re likely to feel less hemmed in. The same goes for baby-spamming on social media – it’s totally understandable, but try to connect with other things too.
Make Time for A Hobby
It may sound like a huge ask when you’re struggling to fit in a daily shower, but making the time, however small, for a hobby or personal interest can really help you to rediscover your sense of self. Be it reading a book or perfecting your baking skills, taking a small sliver of time for an interest outside of nappies is better for your wellbeing. Here’s where you need to accept some help or call in some favours to create a half hour or so where you can just be you.