You are beautiful in every single way.
Eleven months later, and I am finally beginning to feel like the old Jo. You see, all the books like What To Expect When Expecting prepare you for all the things that change about you when you're pregnant.
There are documentaries that prepare you to push your baby out, and breastfeed. But where are all the books that warn you about how you will feel after you give birth?
I had no idea that I would feel like a stranger in my own skin.
The first few months were really bad. I remember avoiding looking in the mirror simply because I was afraid to see if I actually looked how I felt. For starters, those kegels that I forced myself to do every night while I was pregnant seemed quite pointless. My vagina felt stretched, discombobulated and sore. I couldn't even sit in the same position for more than 45 minutes without going completely numb down there. I can remember thinking THIS CAN NOT BE LIFE.
Along with my vagina feeling out of wack, my skin was as saggy as a bag of potatoes. I mean my whole body was covered in flabby, loose, skin. I was dropping weight quickly because of the amount of breastfeeding that I was doing, but it was like my body couldn't keep up.
And worst of all, my hormones were all over the place. Although my mom was with me during the day, and my husband was here when he got in from work, I felt so overwhelmed, alone, and just sad.
The combination of all of these things really had me feeling like I didn't know myself or my body. I can remember looking at celebrities that had just had babies and wondering how they could not only look so good, but actually look as though they felt good.
I kept these feelings bottled in because from the outside everyone just assumed I was doing ok, but I wondered everyday when I would finally get back to feeling like myself. When would I actually feel beautiful again?
I wish there was a magic formula, or that I could give newer moms some sort of reassurance that by month two this feeling goes away, but I would be lying. This took a lot of time.
My son is a few weeks away from one, and it is only now that I am feeling emotionally, and physically beautiful and well. I believe that the first few months I just felt like a cow, waiting to provide milk to my baby. I was too nervous to go out with Jaxen, and too nervous to leave him. So moms, my first word of advice is
1. Get out!
If you have someone that you can trust with your baby, even if you take a 10 minute walk, get some time for yourself. I believe that if I would've done this sooner, I may have felt a little better.
2. A break doesn't have to mean spending money
I think I failed to do things for myself because I equated self care with going to a spa, or the salon. Ladies, I painted my own nails a few days ago, and I feel fabulous!
3. Connect with other moms, and be honest.
In the last few months I have connected with other moms and learned that I am not and was not alone. These feelings that I was having about myself, and that you may be having about yourself are so normal! (feel free to email me if you don't have mommas around you! firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is not about snapping back. When I started taking the time to do a few little workouts here and there, it gave me energy! I felt so refreshed just from doing some crunches and squats.
With these tools, I got my groove back ladies! I feel confident, amazing, breautiful, and ready to conquer the world. I hope that this gives you some hope, that you will to get your groove back!