Do you feel like you lost your mojo after having a baby?
You’re not alone. Many women struggle with feelings of insecurity after giving birth.
Today, you’re going to learn why postpartum exercise can help boost your confidence and self-esteem.
I’ll also go over 10 other tips to help you if you’re struggling with your body image.
Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
Ok, moving on.
Why You’re Feeling Insecure After Having A Baby
A Norwegian study of over 85,000 women found that self-esteem tends to decrease during pregnancy, and continues to decrease for up to three years.
This is not unexpected.
Becoming a mother is difficult. There are few things in life that are as demanding as motherhood.
And with this great responsibility, you now have less time for yourself.
When you couple that with stubborn baby fat that doesn’t go away – it’s easy to feel insecure and have low self-esteem postpartum.
There is nothing wrong with feeling internal conflicts about parenting.
You are not alone.
I have seen hundreds of women for their postpartum visits. The vast majority of new moms say that it is HARD!
So the one thing I want you to take away from this is that feeling insecure is common.
How To Get Your Mojo Back After Having A Baby
So how do you gain confidence after giving birth?
It all starts with doing things that boost postpartum self-love. These include both physical and emotional strategies.
The number one thing I recommend to all new moms struggling with self-esteem is to exercise.
One study took a look at physical activity levels in over 1000 postpartum women at their 6-week postpartum visit.
What do you think they found?
Interestingly, 35% of the postpartum women included in the study reported exercising at least three times per week.
The women that exercised regularly
- Retained less weight
- Were more likely to engage in fun activities, and
- Demonstrated better scores in the postpartum adaptation questionnaire
The data behind the psychological benefits of exercise can’t be ignored!
Exercise automatically shifts our mind to a positive state. I.e, you have to believe in yourself and that you can and will finish the workout you started.
Second of all, exercising will make you feel good about your physical health and abilities.
It is by far the number one thing you should do if you have lost self-confidence after having a baby.
So how should you do it?
What exercises build self-confidence?
There are many different exercises that you can do postpartum to help build self-confidence.
The key is to find something that you enjoy, and that you can stick with.
That’s because exercise gives you the feeling that you are in control, and that you are accomplishing a goal.
Some women really enjoy yoga postpartum.
Other women like to run after having a baby.
I personally like resistance training.
There is honestly no better feeling in the world than finishing a tough workout that I didn’t think I’d be able to do.
It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic.
Something is always better than nothing.
If you can only do 15 minutes of exercise per day – that’s great.
If you can only do 5 minutes, then do 5 minutes.
A Simple Postpartum Exercise Routine
For example, you can go through a 5-minute circuit of:
- 10 Wall Push-ups
- 10 Squats
- 10 Mountain Climbers
Do as many rounds as you can in 5 minutes.
This simple routine can increase your muscular strength, develop hip mobility, and improve your cardiovascular endurance.
As the weeks go by, do your best to make yourself better by a small but measurable amount.
Here are a few examples:
– Increase the number of repetitions per exercise,
– Change the exercise variation, or
– Add more time to the routine (7 min, then 10 min, etc)
Keep track of these changes. Write them down somewhere.
Seeing your progress in real-time is one of the best ways to boost motivation and confidence.
Check out How to Get Fit After Pregnancy for a more comprehensive postpartum exercise routine.
7 Other Helpful Strategies If You’re Struggling With Body Image Postpartum
In this next section, I want to go over a few ways you can boost self-confidence postpartum.
Appreciate The Body You Have
Low self-esteem often stems from not liking the way you look. Unfortunately, society has made it seem like women should look a certain way.
But guess what.
You are unique. No one in this world looks like you, and no one can ever be you.
Plus, you just had a baby! Your body has just shown you what it is capable of doing. Not every woman can say that they have done what you have just gone through.
Your body is amazing. Take some time to appreciate all that it has done for you.
Focus on the features that get you compliments
Instead, I want you to focus on your best features. Maybe you have beautiful eyes, or luscious hair, or long legs.
Focus on those features. Make them stand out even more if possible. No one else has that feature as you do.
Be proud of it and know that you are beautiful for it.
Don’t talk negatively about yourself
Our minds have a tendency to believe the things that it hears on a constant basis. That’s how propaganda works.
If you hear it enough times, you start to associate it with being true.
That’s why I want you to be cognizant of how you talk to yourself or about yourself. You must avoid talking negatively about yourself.
Don’t Compare Your Body To Others
Comparing yourself to others is the surefire way to lower your confidence and self-esteem. Every mother is unique.
Don’t focus on what others have. Instead, you should focus on the first two points I mentioned above. Appreciate the body you have and what it’s capable of doing, and focus on your best features.
No one has those gifts that you have. Strengthen the body you have and watch how it can make you proud of what it can do!
Give Your Body Healthy Nutrition
Eating healthy is one of the biggest things you can do for self-love. Why not give your body the best nutrients in the world?
You deserve it.
Healthy food will increase your energy, help burn fat and make you feel amazing.
It all starts with
- Drinking more water
- Eating more fruits like apples, blueberries, and kiwis
- Eating more leafy greens and fiber rich foods like kale and spinach
- Eating more omega 3’s like walnuts and salmon
There are so many different ways to eat healthy food that taste great. Get creative! I have an entire post on what foods to eat postpartum.
If you are looking for something more comprehensive, check out The Postpartum Trainer’s Nutrition Guide.
Get Out of The House
Another important way to help boost your mood is to go outside. Being indoors all day can negatively impact your emotional wellbeing.
Humans crave interaction with other people, or just with nature.
Take your baby for a walk. Even if its 1 lap around your neighborhood.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help so that you can get fresh air for at least 5 minutes a day.
Do What You Enjoy
As the loving and caring mother that you are – it’s easy to put yourself low on the priority list. While it’s okay to be selfless the majority of the time, it’s important that you be selfish too.
Make yourself a priority from time to time. Do something you enjoy once or twice a week – whether that’s watching a movie, getting a manicure or pedicure, getting your hair done, or just doing a 15-minute workout.
Do something nice for yourself. You won’t regret it.
An Important Note On Low Self-Esteem Postpartum
While feeling insecure and lacking confidence postpartum is common, it’s important that you keep a close eye on your overall wellness.
If you develop symptoms that are severe such as
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Complete withdrawal from other people
- Depressed mood with a lack of interest in anything
Go see your doctor right away.
You may have postpartum depression.
This is a serious condition that can be treated as long as you seek help.
Final Thoughts On Postpartum Self Love
It is normal to experience powerful emotions as a new mom.
But with this knowledge, it’s up to you to do something about it.
So which of the 7 tips do you want to try first? Maybe you do a lot of negative self-talk. Or you don’t get out of the house enough?
Comment below and let me know.
And if you can, do your best to incorporate some postpartum exercise into your daily routine.
Related Posts on Boosting Your Postpartum Confidence
- How to Start Yoga Postpartum
- The Best Running Workout After Childbirth
- When Can You Start Swimming Postpartum
Get Four Free Workouts To Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor & Heal Your Mommy Tummy!
Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness expert. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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