Pregnancy. The joy of new life, using your body for its primary physical purpose, experiencing motherhood. Then the end result: the child you love, cherish and nurture. It's all so beautiful, frolicking in fields and feeling wonderful.
The reality is... somewhat different.
There's no doubt the above are true; this is a wonderful time, it is an amazing thing to experience. But with a new child on your hip, you can quickly begin to see the other side of pregnancy. This is the one that makes you look into a mirror, wince, and wonder where the old you went.
Well she's still in there! Actress Blake Lively has recently scorned the obsession with post-baby bodies, one of many women speaking out the issue. You don't have to snap back into shape or get your bikini body to ready to go: your body just did something amazing. It's going to need time to recover.
Eventually, you will reach a point where you want to make some changes. So long as it is at your own pace and without the pressure of others, this is harmless. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. The only downside is that you soon learn pregnancy is more than nine months long, at least when it comes to the impact on your body.
The hormonal changes during pregnancy are necessary and allow the whole shebang to happen. However, they stick around for far longer than they are needed. Acne during pregnancy tends to fade after giving birth, but the scars can last until your child graduates college.
Try and get into a routine of gently exfoliating any problem areas. Use a good quality moisturiser, and treat yourself to a regular facial. You may also find your nails are more brittle, so it's worth supplementing biotin if these are issues for you.
One of the biggest areas that pregnancy does a number on is your breasts. If you're breastfeeding, this can continue for years afterwards also. Sagging is one of the most common issues, and unfortunately, there's no quick fix. It is worth considering breast augmentation to give you back your usual pert self, so long as no one else is influencing the decision.
Stretch marks are also an inevitable issue. It's said that prevention is better than cure, but that doesn't mean there's not a few cures available. Topical creams that contain regenerative acids are beneficial, and there are surgical alternatives also.
Hair of the Mom
This is attributable to hormonal fluctuations, but deserves a mention of its own. Post-pregnancy hair can be flat, lifeless and thinning. You may find not only do you have less of it, but the actual thickness of your hair has also changed. You can use essential oils before shampooing to help give some life back, and they have the added bonus of smelling good. Furthermore, organic castor oil has long been associated with promoting strong, thick, healthy hair. It won't break the bank and can make a real difference, as well as give a moisturising boost.