Updated: Dec 14, 2018
I can totally relate to this one, and I'm so glad to know that I'm not crazy and that I'm not alone! I haven't enjoyed looking at pictures of myself ever since having Nicole. Have you noticed that you rarely ever see me post photos of myself on my feed or in my story? I used to be a model, for crying out loud! You'd think I'd be the face of my teething necklace brand! But something has happened to me over the past 19 months that I can't even explain.
I did some research and found that a study in 2017 showed that women can experience a decrease to their self-esteem for up to three years after having a baby, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. They followed 85,000 mothers before, during and after pregnancy. And they found that regardless of the mother's situation, there was a drop in self-esteem that lasted up to three years.
And I guess it makes complete sense, especially in today's world. Let's think about it. Our lives have totally changed... for the better, of course! But we went through 9 months of body changes and hormonal changes. And most of us don't just bounce back to our pre-pregnancy body easily. (I did when I was 19 and had my son, but that's definitely not the case having my daughter at 37.) Then we have the other changes like, engorged and leaky boobs if we're breastfeeding... Lack of sleep because, well, there's a baby that's on a completely different sleep schedule for at least the first two years of life... Many of us experience postpartum hair loss (oh, this was BAAAAD for me!)... There's the extra weight that we gained during the pregnancy that doesn't go away without serious effort... Oh, and did I mention stretch marks? I think my mom told me that I had the worst stretch marks she'd ever seen. (Thanks Mom!)
Don't some celebrities and bloggers that you see on social media make you sick? They make bouncing back to a normal life after a baby look so easy, and make us feel like something is wrong with us for not being able to do the same. But we have to remember, they only show us what they want us to see. We have no idea what their lives are like when the cameras are gone. I bet it's not much better than ours... in fact, it's probably worse because they have to be "on" all the time to keep up the facade!
Then there are other situations that can change after having a baby. Some mommies, like myself, choose to leave the workforce to stay at home with their baby. I've found that trying to come to terms with a new identity as "just Nicole's mom" was very difficult, especially because I had been working in a very competitive field. My day-to-day life was full of reaching goals and being praised when I did well. Now there's no one to pat me on the back when I successfully pump a full serving of breast milk or any of my other daily accomplishments. Plus, I no longer have a reason to dress up every day. So looking at myself in the mirror with uncombed hair, in a t-shirt and leggings for a month straight was definitely a change! Then there's the fact that I've lost my daily social circle. I went from having daily conversations about life, work, politics, etc., to talking to only a baby 75% of the time. Needless to say, that wasn't exactly riveting conversation!
Don't get me wrong, I love everything about my life now! I love being a mommy again and being able to be home with her every day! And maybe the guilt I've experienced for feeling so negatively about myself adds to the low self-esteem too. I don't know. Like I said, I can't explain it!
But if you're feeling like me, just know that you're not alone! From what I've been reading, it's only temporary, even if it lasts the full three years. If you're feeling really low, don't be afraid to talk to someone about it, whether it's friends and family, your partner, or even a professional therapist! And of course, I have some really cute necklaces to help you feel and look cute, while providing your baby with some badly needed teething relief!
Feel free to let me know your thoughts and share with your followers!
Love, Keri Smith