Updated: Aug 22
When you have a baby, everything changes – including your body. Sometimes, these changes can negatively affect your body image and self-esteem. Here is how to feel like yourself again after having a newborn.
Many women are already unsatisfied with their bodies even without the stress and changes that come from having a baby.
Your body will change during and after pregnancy; these changes can trigger body image issues and low self-esteem.
Prioritizing self-care can help you feel like yourself again.
Mindfulness is a tool that can empower you and build confidence.
Therapy can help if you’re struggling with your body image, low self-esteem, a low libido, or if these things are impacting your relationship.
Having a baby brings up many emotions. Unfortunately, not all of them are helpful. It’s natural that when you have a baby, everything around you changes – including you and your body.
Many women are already unsatisfied with their body images without the added influence of pregnancy and birth. Living in your postpartum body may spark feelings of discontentment or low self-esteem. Studies show that it can take women well over a year – 547 days – to feel like themselves again post-baby.
Physical affection is an important part of a healthy relationship, and just because you have a newborn, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a satisfying intimate life. It can be easy to think otherwise when you don’t feel your best or are not happy with your body image at all. Let’s talk about how to feel good about yourself again after having a newborn.
1. Keep up with your self-care
It’s tempting to see self-care as a luxury when you’re focused on parenting a newborn and prioritizing your baby’s needs. This is where the old adage about putting your own oxygen mask on first comes into play – you will be a better mom when you’re pouring from a full cup.
Prioritize self-care. What do you need to thrive? Is it movement? Is it rest? Is it more nourishment or hydration?
Something as basic as making the time to take care of yourself can reduce your stress levels and stress is one of the biggest libido killers. It can be easy to allow these things to fall through the cracks when you’re caught up caring for baby, but it’s so much easier to feel like yourself again and get your groove back when you’re well-cared for.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness involves giving something your full awareness and attention. Practicing mindfulness with your body can look like:
Noticing the way you communicate with your body or the language you use when describing it. Is it loving? Is it kind? Are you bullying yourself?
Shifting into a mindset where you decide to make decisions to eat nourishing foods or move your body because you love yourself, not because you’re trying to punish yourself for how your body looks.
Having compassion for yourself when you feel bad about your appearance.
Learning to be fully present in your body.
Accepting that your body has changed and will continue to change as you move through life.
Mindfulness can help you better connect with your body again, be more confident, and show yourself compassion and kindness. All of these things can empower you to feel your best.
3. Explore solo affection
Giving birth can be hard on your body and your lady parts. That’s why it’s generally recommended that you give your body time to heal before engaging in penetrative activities – but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore intimacy on your own. Connecting with your body is normal and healthy.
You may notice that things feel different for you now, which is totally normal. It’s okay to take time for yourself to explore your body as it is now. Taking this time for yourself can mean better intimacy with your partner when you’re ready for it again.
4. Therapy can help
If you find that you’re still struggling with body image, self-esteem, or your relationship after trying some of the tips and interventions on your own, it may be time to consider getting professional help.
There are multiple modalities of counseling that can be helpful for these issues.
Individual counseling: Individual counseling gives you a safe space to address challenges in a one-on-one setting. Attending individual counseling doesn’t mean that other types of counseling, such as couples, are off-limits. Individual counseling can help you cope with stress, build new coping skills, address changes to your lifestyle or relationships after having a baby, and work with you on your body image and/or self-esteem.
Couples and family counseling: If your relationship has been impacted by postpartum challenges, couples therapy can help. Couples therapy can help you and your partner improve communication and strengthen your relationship – both of which can lead to a happier and more satisfying life.
A therapist can also help you decide what form of counseling is the most appropriate for you and your circumstance. You can utilize more than one modality. Sometimes, it’s recommended for you to do both individual and another form of counseling, such as couples therapy. Getting the right help can be transformational.
Get support from a qualified, caring therapist in the South Florida area
Having a baby is a joyous occasion but it can certainly be stressful. There are so many changes and challenges to manage, including your relationship with your body. Getting support from the right professionals can create a huge shift. Individual therapy is a safe space to confront body image issues and build self-esteem as you navigate your new role as a mother.
The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to start therapy to help improve your self-esteem and body image, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 305.605.LOVE (5683).
We are here to help you improve your mental health and support you through this tough time.