I felt really good the first 5 or 6 weeks after Will was born. Okay, I was exhausted, but I felt good about myself and about the way I looked.
I still had the lustrous hair and clear skin from pregnancy. My tummy – while certainly not flat – lost it’s pregnant look a lot sooner than I expected. I recovered remarkably quickly from the c-section and the pain I’d been experiencing from months of pelvic instability disappeared almost instantly. I was able to fit into my cargo pants and the most forgiving of my many pairs of jeans. I had more energy each day.
But then things changed – or rather they stopped changing. My weight loss bottomed out; my energy levels plateaud. Breastfeeding and carrying a baby wreaked havoc with my posture.
Worse still as we approached the three-month mark my hair and skin became greasy and dull. I started getting spots again (for a long time the bane of my adult life – why should I be forced to endure wrinkles and pimples simultaneously?); my hair required frequent washing and it always looked either greasy or frizzy – the silken look and feel was gone. My hair started falling out like it was abandoning a sinking ship.
All this has led to me feeling out-of-place in my own skin. I open the wardrobe and have to sift through clothing I can’t fit into; I walk around the house feeling my moulting hair tickling my back like little insects crawling on my skin; my joints ache and creak.
I feel frumpy.
The Mummy Effect isn’t just physical; my mind is susceptible too. I spend all day loving my son; he is in my every thought. I am primarily a mother, and at the end of the day I find it difficult to take my mother hat off and remember that I am also a wife, a woman, an individual.
As you can imagine, this all leaves me feeling less than sexy, and as my husband recently pointed out, our relationship is suffering.
The solution? Probably only time will truly remedy the situation, but there are a few things we can do in the meantime. I have a haircut booked for next week. H is going to make an effort to do things that will make me feel good about myself. I will stand up tall and put my shoulders back – it’s amazing what good posture can do to minimise a tummy!
I may not ever be able to entirely wash away the layers of baby vomit and drool, but I’ve always thought that confidence is based on feelings and thoughts rather than looks, so that seems a good place to start.