By: Natasha Archary
The pressures on a new mother are insurmountable. You’ve gone from being pregnant to the primary care-giver to this new life. Over and above all the new responsibilities that have been thrown your way, the chances of you dealing with post-baby blues or Postpartum Depression are possible.
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), post-baby blues is estimated to affect about 70% of women during the first week after delivery. Researchers suspect this is brought on by the myriad of hormonal changes in a woman’s body post-delivery, which is exacerbated by the stress and major life change.
This, coupled with the fact that your entire body has undergone severe changes, is what often defeats most new moms. You spent the past 40 weeks growing a life inside you and, because of societal pressures, you feel it is expected of you to snap back into shape and hit your pre-pregnancy weight. It’s an unrealistic goal and a detrimental mindset to have in general, but especially after just giving birth.
Earlier this year, world reknowned fitness expert, Emily Skye gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. Emily, who is an Australian fitness personality, was ranked by Forbes as one of the most influential fitness experts across the world. She recently spoke out about the pressure on women to get back to their pre-pregnancy bodies. Gaining traction on social media with her honest posts after her daughter’s birth, the fitness star revealed how hard it is for a woman to get back into shape post-delivery.
Here is a woman who’s built a career on fitness and healthy living, being brutally honest about how much effort it takes and how exhausting it is. A new mom’s priority is the newborn she has just taken home. This is even more so for moms of premature babies. It is ridiculous to expect moms to focus on their bodies immediately after delivery.
If more women celebrated their post-baby bodies, instead of shaming one another and themselves after a pregnancy, it would slowly change the narrative of acceptance.
Many new moms may need to seek medical intervention to overcome the hurdles that postnatal depression poses. Psychotherapy and anti-depressants are usually what treatment entails but there is no scientific means to an end.
The weight gained during a pregnancy, stretchmarks and swollen everything, can take some getting used to. For many women, looking in the mirror afterwards is painful, they no longer see beauty. This may sound harsh but don’t ever think about your body as ugly. Fill your mind instead with positive thoughts of what your body was able to achieve.
Will your body ever be the same after a pregnancy? Probably not. It will have become far stronger, more flexible and perhaps better in so many other ways. Women need positive reinforcement when transitioning into motherhood and beyond.
There are many positive mommy role models to look up to but ultimately, you need to be your own goals. Set realistic expectations for your body and instead of feeling ashamed, empower yourself to embrace each new curve.