When you are pregnant, your body changes in every way imaginable. This can be an amazing and beautiful experience. It also is a time where everyone see starts to feel comfortable commenting on your body. This can have a huge impact on both your feelings of confidence, and your feelings of identity!
“You look ready to pop”
“Are there twins in there?”
“You must be due soon!”
All of this focus on your body can make a mother start to loose her feelings of confidence. The body you once knew, looks and feels completely different. After you give birth, your body changes yet again. I remember looking down at my deflated stomach, and being able to fully lose my hand in the space that once held my daughter. The body that I once recognized, no longer looked like mine.
When the dust settles and you are starting to get accustomed to your new life with your baby, you may also find that you don’t recognize your body, and are not feeling like your old self.
Many women report that they feel a lack of confidence in their body after having a baby. If this is you, it is important to know that these feelings are normal! Your body has just gone through a huge physical change! You have birthed a HUMAN BEING! This is a huge deal both physically and emotionally. You are also now pouring your heart and soul into caring for this tiny human, which often leaves mothers feeling like they have limited time to care for themselves.
If you are feeling a lack of confidence after having a baby, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself gain confidence, and start feeling like the hero that you are!
1. Remind Yourself What Your Body Has Done!
When I was feeling discouraged and not like myself, I always found it helpful to remind myself what my body had been through! My body held on to my baby during 9 months of pregnancy, and 4 of those months was spent on bed rest. My body birthed this human being. My body survived many sleepless nights, and day-long breastfeeding sessions.
Your body created a HUMAN BEING! What an empowering thought! This is amazing. Give yourself grace, and practice self-compassion. You are powerful and you are strong.
Write down these affirmations somewhere where you can be reminded of them daily.
2. Get Yourself Ready.
In the first few months of my daughter’s life, I did my hair and makeup (and showered) only a handful of times. Most days I would wear oversized pregnancy clothes, and have spit up in my hair. I was already feeling a lack of confidence, and it only made me feel worse when I didn’t do anything with myself. I learned that even if I just put on real clothes, or did my hair, I would feel much more confident.
Put your baby in their little baby chair or rocking chair, and give yourself at least 10 minutes to get ready! You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make in your confidence.
3. Find The Facts!
Let’s be real. If you have had a baby, you know that the first couple weeks after you have a baby (sometimes much longer than this) you are a hormonal mess (or was this just me?). Thoughts like “I’m not good enough”, “I won’t be able to handle motherhood”, or “I’ll never look like I used too”, often sneak up into our minds. When I am talking with people about negative thoughts, we often refer to these thoughts as ANTS.
These thoughts pop into our minds without warning, and can be very hurtful. The important thing to remind yourself is: thoughts are not facts! Just because we think something, does not mean that it is true.
Instead of believing these ANTS, find the truth in these difficult thoughts. For every ANT that you have, try finding three truths to disprove it. If you cannot think of them yourself, talk to a loved one about the thought and allow them to help you see the facts. Therapists often recommend this practice, as it is a great way to help you find confidence, and destroy ANTS.
It can be so hard to find time to exercise when your children are young, but it is such an important part of building confidence and feeling great about yourself! Whether that is doing some quick exercises at home, or going for a walk with the stroller, or going to a gym that has a daycare. Research has shown that regular exercise has an amazing impact on increasing confidence, and increasing your overall happiness and well-being!
After my daughter was born, I found that one thing that really helped me was to get out of the house to exercise. When she was first born, I would take her for walks around my house to get her to nap, and while she napped I would listen to podcasts and audiobooks, which helped me feel like I was still using my brain for things unrelated to babies. Now that she is a bit older, I love taking her to the daycare at my gym. This gives me an hour to myself (sometimes I just shower and go to the steam room). I find that even this little amount of time, allows me to recharge, and helps me feel more confident!
5. Build Your Confidence By Setting Small Realistic Goals.
Another mistake I made when my daughter was first born was to expect that I could do everything I used to do. I would set huge daily goals for myself, and would be so discouraged every night when none of those goals were completed.
Rather than setting big goals, focus on setting small realistic goals. For example, instead of thinking that you can clean the whole house, perhaps set a goal to vacuum and do the dishes. Building success by meeting small goals will help you feel more confident and in control of your life! Once again, practice self-compassion if you cannot meet these goals, and realize that at the end of the day if your baby is fed, loved, and safe you have done what you needed to do!
Take Home Message:
When you have a baby, everything changes… Many mothers struggle with feeling confident and don’t feel like themselves!
Jess is a mom, therapist, and the writer behind Jessica Grace Blog. She knows first hand how difficult motherhood can be. Her experience as both a therapist and a mom has made her passionate about supporting and empowering all women, to help them live their best life. On her blog, she talks about topics related to mental health, giving practical tips that are based off of the latest research.
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The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of your physician or licensed health care provider. You should consult your physician or licensed health care provider before engaging in any exercise activity described in this article to determine if it is right for your needs.