Pregnancy and childbirth are two of the most rewarding and life changing experiences for women. Pregnancy can change the body into a version that is almost not recognizable by the woman and this change can lead to insecurities.
Though the love and joy felt towards the baby is usually present, no woman can ever be fully prepared for the overwhelming feeling of tiredness, loneliness, and body insecurities, as well as other life changes that come as a result of pregnancy. The mental strain these hormonal and body changes cause can take a toll on one's emotions, no wonder a large number of women feel blue and moody after childbirth.
The whole process of motherhood not only increases the feeling of doubt and insecurity in one's body and confidence, but also in self-esteem and doubt in one's capabilities.
The post pregnancy period is a very tough one in a mother's life, looking after the baby can take so much time that it is hard to get a few personal minutes to take care of beauty treatments and feel a bit pampered like before the baby came.
In addition, loosing the baby fat can be hard. With all these things going on, it is not surprising that the feeling of insecurity over wardrobe choices and body outlook can come up. Even for women whose body bounces back fast, some of them still experience insecurities in their relationship with their partner or in not being able to enjoy time in public due to bladder issues.
This article will discuss 15 things all moms are insecure about postpartum.
15 Not Being Able To Breastfeed
How a woman chooses to feed her child - be it formula, breastfeeding or both - should be nobody's business but hers alone. Sadly, this is not the case since every Tom, Janet and Harry have decided that a woman's choice of feeding method for her child no matter how healthy it is should be a means to taunt her.
Some women want badly to breastfeed their baby, but are unable to because of exhaustion, health problems and some women's body's inability to produce sufficient milk get in the way.
The war against formula feeding (and even breastfeeding) is so bad that though some people may not say it to her face, she begins to feel inferior to other moms that chose the opposite choice. While making such a mom feel insecure over her body's inability to produce milk, it may just be the 'bully’s’ insecurity speaking.
Some women - and men - taunt others in order to give their own personal ego a boost to encourage themselves that they are doing something right for their own child. A new mother should be getting encouragement from those around her that she is doing the best she can for her newborn, whether they agree with her decision or not.
14 Stretching Down There
The vagina is one huge part that suffers during vaginal delivery. It stretches to ten centimeters to allow the baby to come out and in some cases the area around it can get torn or can episiotomy, resulting in the need for stitches. Like some women will put it, the baby comes out and destroys the vagina.
The vagina is a muscle, which like any other muscle can be stretched, but unlike most muscles, it may not bounce back because it is not engaged often, this can lead to a feeling of looseness.
A loose vagina can be something that any woman can be insecure about. Sex becomes an activity to dread since they can no longer feel enough and their partners too may no longer feel enough. For some women, the partners may voice their displeasure over this, which only makes the woman feel worse about herself.
If a woman has been doing Kegel exercises to help with delivery they should keep them after afterward as well. These will help tighten the vaginal walls.
13 All The Loose Skin
The growth of the uterus during pregnancy places a great strain on the skin of the belly. Generally, the skin expands with weight gain, add the expansion of the uterus to the inevitable weight gain during this time and it will equal to loose skin after pregnancy. When the skin expands, it has a hard time returning back to what it used to be, that is if it ever returns. Weight gain may be easily fixed, and a woman can somehow after months be able to get into a comfortable routine, but one thing lingers and that is the extra skin.
It can be on the belly, the hips, or even the backside, wherever it is, it can be emotionally frustrating and can lead to insecurity. At this point, it will be extremely hard for any woman going through this to comfortably put on on a bikini or bathing suit, especially when she is not the only one at the pool.
12 The Loss Of Bladder Control
This is usually common in the postpartum period. It is the involuntary leaking of urine that occurs mostly while sneezing, performing strenuous activity, coughing or laughing. It is as a result of weakened muscles around the bladder and pelvis caused by pregnancy and delivery.
In addition, during the weeks following delivery, the uterus shrinks and while it does that, it sits directly and compressively on the bladder, therefore making it harder to control urine. Women who struggled with this during pregnancy are usually victims, though women who did not can still suffer from this too.
Also, during pregnancy, the body tends to retain water, and after birth it gets rid of it, making frequent bathroom trips part of postpartum life.
This can cause a woman to feel so insecure that she may not want to leave her house over fear of embarrassing herself in public due to leaking of urine. Women that summon up the courage to go out end up having to go to the toilet almost every thirty minutes - even before they get any urge - in order to prevent urinating on themselves.
Wearing a menstrual pad or bladder leakage pad can help build confidence in leaving home.
11 Appearance Postpartum
A lot of people will say that childbirth transits a female from having the body of a girl to having the body of a woman. For some, this is not necessarily a bad thing because they easily embrace the changes, while others do not. The main problem with changes in appearance after childbirth usually occur during postpartum. Unfortunately, this is one thing women hardly talk about.
During this period, most women will look pregnant while not looking pregnant at the same time. To begin with there is the few weeks it takes for the body to return to ‘normal,’ and pregnancy clothes may be all that is comfortable. In addition, there is the exhaustion that comes with taking care of a newborn.
At this point, if one can even find clean clothes or remember to brush their teeth, it is in doubt that most women will have it in mind to put makeup on. Lack of sleep and general exhaustion therefore becomes more prominent. No matter how confident a woman felt about her looks before childbirth, except if she is not affected at all - which is hard to find - it will be very easy to slip into the feeling of insecurity and looking unattractive.
10 Thinning Hair
A lot of new moms are usually shocked when they lose much more hair than usual during the first few months after childbirth. The reason for this is that during pregnancy, the increased level of estrogen in the body leads to thicker and even longer hair. Normally, a human loses 100 hairs a day, but during pregnancy this does not happen.
With the fall in estrogen level after childbirth, the body goes back to pre-pregnancy and needs to lose what it did not during the pregnancy months.
For some women, it can be so bad that they begin to believe that they are going bald. Having to transit from full and luxuriant hair to a thinning hair is not always easy for women. This can cause the feeling of insecurity making her feel less confident due to the new look that the hair loss can cause.
It is important that women become aware of the possibility of hair loss and why, prior to childbirth, so that when the hair does start falling out, it isn’t a big shock.
9 Having Wider Hips
As stated previously, pregnancy can mark the transition from being a girl to being a woman. It can lead to more curves, part of which is in the hips. During pregnancy as well as childbirth, they usually become wider due to changes in the pelvic area.
During this time, they naturally get wider so that there will be adequate room for the baby, as well as use of relaxin to loosen and soften the pelvic joints to help the baby to pass through the birth canal. After childbirth, they can reduce, but hardly to what they were before pregnancy, so definitely it will be hard to fit into the pre-pregnancy jeans.
While some women easily embrace this change, others do not. It is even made harder by looking at pictures of models and celebrities who seem to have no post pregnancy body issues while retaining their slim shape. The best thing is to refrain from comparing one's body with that of another woman and remember that most of us can’t afford personal trainers and cooks.
8 Spider And Varicose Veins
Pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing spider and/or varicose veins. Spider veins occur mostly around the waist while varicose veins are mostly on the legs. However, they are not restricted to those parts alone.
A large number of women develop dilated blood vessels close to the skin's surface during pregnancy. While this can occur to women who have never been pregnant, hormones and the increase in cardiovascular output as a result of pregnancy increases the risk.
Generally, they are said to go away after childbirth, but for many cases, this does not happen. They may reduce in appearance, but do not go away completely. This leads to less body confidence in some women. They may no longer be able to go out in that skirt that shows off their legs or attire that they normally would wear, but will now expose those unsightly veins.
For them, going out will not be a reality if they are not putting on long clothing or making use of some form of makeup to mask it.
7 Going Up A Foot Size
Women with slightly larger feet than size 11/41( depending on how it is measured where they live), will admit that finding beautiful shoes that fit can be a huge hassle. Imagine how this can become a bigger problem as a result of pregnancy. It is real. Pregnancy can increase a woman's foot size though it may not be too large a difference.
This is as a result of the hormone relaxin that loosens the ligaments in the body, including the feet, therefore causing the foot bones to spread.
While the swelling associated with this reduces in months after delivery, the length of the foot can remain the same, which means new shoes. New shoes are not a bad thing generally. However, tell that to women who previously had large feet, now this means they will have to look for suitable shoes all over again.
Favorites will have to go into the charity bin and new ones searched for. Generally, big feet on women has never been seen as cute, blame it on stupid beauty standards, but this only makes it worse.
6 Any Skin Discoloration
As a result of skyrocketing hormones - estrogen and progesterone - a large number of pregnant women develop a darkening of pigmentation around the cheeks, forehead and mouth known as melasma.
In addition to the hormones, UV exposure and genetics can also play a role caused by pregnancy leading to darker patches in light and dark people while in some dark people, lighter patches. With the decrease in pregnancy hormones as a result of childbirth, the change in pigmentation in the areas affected gradually fade in the months after childbirth.
While the hyperpigmentation may fade, the discoloration will not never go away completely so what these women who were proud of their lovely complexion, can begin to feel more like a leopard with spots. It may be easy to ignore some but for others, it can lead to lower self confidence. Going out will mean clothes and makeup that can cover this.
For some, they may not be comfortable with even their partner. The best thing to keep in mind is that this is completely normal. Wear your spots with pride, as they are a sign of your motherhood.
5 Stretch Marks That Are Here, There, And Everywhere
Stretch marks are part of having a baby. They occur as a result of the rapid growth of the abdomen and other areas during pregnancy, which is usually more than the skin can easily keep up with. As a result, the elastic fibers under the surface of the skin will break, causing the appearance of stretch marks in the skin.
They normally appear on the belly, breast, hips and sometimes, the sides/back. They can also be present on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms. Unfortunately, no cream or lotion can prevent this from happening, though hydrating the skin may help with the effects.
After childbirth, the stretch marks may gradually fade and change color to be less noticeable, but they are one thing that will remain. Most creams and other products that have been advertised to help are not usually effective, the best any good one can do is reduce the length and width.
Moisturizing can help minimize their appearance. Laser surgery has been said to be effective, but it is very expensive.
4 Any Weight Gain
During pregnancy, women are supposed to gain weight, but most but on a bit more than what is required by the baby alone. This additional weight consists of the fetus, amniotic fluid, placenta, increased breast tissue, increased blood supply and increased fat.
While the fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid goes out completely and the increase in blood supply eventually reduces, the extra fat may be hard to get rid of. While some mothers may be able to lose most of it during the first six months after childbirth, for others it can take much longer, and the fact is that not all the weight will come off.
Some women complain that no matter the effort they put in, it seems impossible for all the ‘baby’ weight to go. Looking at pictures of celebrities can be so discouraging because it seems like they bounce back barely weeks after childbirth as though they have some magic for dropping the weight.
Breastfeeding, which many claim to be the secret, does not burn all. The weight gain can cause a feeling of inadequacy. It is important for the new mom not to stress too much over it, and do the best she can and just accept that the few extra pounds are just part of being a mom.
3 The Look Of Her Belly
The belly is one part of a woman's body that is severely affected by childbirth, it stretches to accommodate the baby, leading to loose skin and stretch marks. This is not all, unfortunately. Since it took nine months to get all that and build up all the extra fat, the stomach will not look flat immediately and even for months. For some women, they forever retain the extra pouch.
This is not the only problem, the organs in abdominal area have been moved around by the growing baby and while they move back into place within months after delivery, women who have diastasis recti have it harder, mostly when they attempt to get a flat stomach again.
Diastasis recti is the separating of the stomach muscles, and performing exercises like crunches like most post pregnancy women only makes it worse. This can lead to a bigger belly, but also poor posture as a result of lack of core strength. No wonder it is a body part that mothers feel insecure about. Talking to their doctor about suitable exercises to do can make a mom more in control of how she looks and feels.
2 Her Saggy Chest
Apart from weight gain and stretch marks, most of the other body changes are usually not discussed or widely talked about, therefore leaving mothers unprepared for the other post-pregnancy changes, like what happens to the breasts. We all have to be honest about how the changes that occurs to the once buoyant breasts affects us.
Breastfeeding is widely advised due to not only the benefit to the baby, but also the mother in terms of increasing metabolism and burning as high as 700 calories per day without even working out.
While everyone is very quick to point at the benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging women to partake of it, they do not discuss how badly it can cause havoc to the shape and positioning of the breast.
Some women are happy with their breasts during pregnancy because they are perkier and fuller, but during and after breastfeeding, it becomes something else due to the constant swelling and shrinking they go through everyday, this leads to sagging. This change can be very difficult to accept and a major cause of body insecurity.
Sagging breasts are something that will happen to most every woman, whether they have children or not. So, just accept it as part of motherhood and getting older. Like it or not, there is no reason to be ashamed of it.
1 Her Intimate Relationship With Her SO
Once a baby comes, there is no doubt that the life of the parents changes forever. After childbirth, it is easy to feel insecure and unattractive as a result of the numerous changes that have happened to the body. The boobs, butt, stomach, hips, e.t.c. have all changed. This feeling of unattractiveness can take a toll on the relationship the woman has with her partner as a result of her insecurity.
A lot of women easily fall into thinking that their partner no longer finds them attractive or that he is now sleeping around, which usually isn’t true. They turn into this monitoring monster; always going through his stuff and messages just to get one clue that he is unfaithful.
Though the man may put in effort to show how committed he is to the relationship and the woman, it just is never enough because her mind is just filled with doubts and programmed with accusations. The green-eyed monster of jealousy is hard to combat, but new moms need to look at the behavior of their significant other and understand that they are going through many of the same changes regarding postpartum happenings.
He too is adjusting to the new baby. Cut him, and yourself, some slack and soon you should be satisfied with the new you.