Recently a friend imparted to me how a photographer friend of hers had photographed a well-known Hollywood celebrity mom and her new baby for a popular magazine. The photographer friend recounted how she felt dismay about the assignment given she had been instructed to retouch the photos to the extent that it appeared as if the new mom had lost all her baby weight and snapped back into pre-pregnancy-shape within mere weeks of delivery. A ruse to the naked eye. The photographer was sympathetic given the scrutiny the celebrity faced as a woman and new mother in the public eye, but she also felt a sense of injustice for all the other new mothers out there who would take a look a the photos and find fault with themselves by comparison. A comparison fraught with artifice.
As human beings, and even more so as women, we torture ourselves with unrealistic expectations fed by media, our own insecurities and our very honest and heartfelt desires to be our best selves. But in the face of new motherhood, just eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom – yourself – are often luxuries.
So be kind.
Sleep whenever you can get it. Eat some protein when you’re hungry – especially is you’re breast-feeding – you will need it! And try to get some gentle exercise everyday. Just walking. Set the bar low. Sleep will help lower your cortisol levels (a stress hormone), which will in turn help you crave less sugar. Eating some protein when you’re hungry will keep your blood sugar stable and help you make healthier food choices overall. And taking a walk outside everyday will help recondition your body, buoy your confidence (body and otherwise) and bolster your vitamin D reserves.
Sleep. Eat. Move.
There’s that saying, “Nine months on, nine months off.” It took nine months for your body to grow and deliver a happy, healthy baby. It reasons then that it take another nine for the body to return to its former pre-pregnancy self. This was my experience and that of many other moms I’ve worked with. And don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. A frequent pitfall of new motherhood. The absolute best thing you can do for your child, hands down, is take care of their mother.
Written by Guest Mom Blogger Allison Harter