How to feel like yourself again after having a baby

Life has changed in a major way, but you can get back to feeling like yourself again—inside and out—with a little style, beauty and emotional self-care.

Mom in workout wear holding up baby while in a lunge
Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Multi-use workout wear. Use the athleisure trend to your advantage! Pair some versatile black leggings with a patterned zip jacket and a tank and you’re ready to go from playtime to Pilates.

On Sasha: High-waist Legging, $29; Floral Zip Jacket, $39; Active Tank, $19; all joefresh.com
On Maxwell: Fishtail Hoodie, $16; Print Legging, $7; Print Leather Footlets, $16; all joefresh.com

 

Mom holding baby heading out the door of house
Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Good to go. If there’s one thing every new mom needs in her closet, it’s a trusty pair of jeans. Top them with a colourful blouse and layer on a timeless trench and you’re ready to tackle all those errands.

On Daneta: Trench Coat, $49; Silk Blouse, $59; Slim Fit Jean, $39; Pink Slide Mules, $39; Silver Tone Bib Necklace, $16; all joefresh.com
On Maya: Knit Cardigan, $16; Metallic Stripe Ruffle Dress, $16; Essential Legging, $7; Leather Footlets, $7; all joefresh.com

 

Mom wearing all gingham in kitchen holding her baby
Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Mom knows best. If you’re nursing, you know button-down shirts are your best friends. Not only does this go-to garment give you easy access when it’s breastfeeding time, but combining it with matching trousers will make you look chic as a mother.

On Kate: Gingham Top, $29; Gingham Pants, $39; Gingham Ankle Strap Flats, $29; all joefresh.com
On Freddie: Plaid Romper, $14; Velcro Sneakers, $12; all joefresh.com

 

Mom in a nursery setting wearing a dress and holding her baby on the hip
Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Day to night. With all the changes your body’s going through postpartum, it’s important to have one clothing item that will work for your new body. Not only does a flowy frock make you look instantly put together, but it looks just as good dressed down as it does dressed up.

On Shannae: Sleeveless Floral Ruffled Dress, $34; joefresh.com
On Kensington: Floral Top, $19; Pink Leggings, $10; Print Leather Footlets, $16; all joefresh.com

 

Mom in a striped dress sitting on bed holding a baby above her head
Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Comfy as can be. You can’t leave the house in just your baggy T-shirt, but you can in a soft, comfortable dress that essentially feels like one. Just add some cute sneakers and you’re set!

On Robyn: Trumpet Sleeve Striped Dress, $29; Women’s Watch, $29; all joefresh.com
On Jordan: Two-pack Pants, $16; Long Sleeve Bow Bodysuit, $8; all joefresh.com

 

I had a new-mom identity crisis, and it changed me for the better

I read the books and joined the online groups, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the hit my selfdom would take.

By Bee Quammie

Young mom carrying baby in a hammock outside
Photo: Stocksy

Soon after having my first child at 31, I realized there was an ever-widening chasm between my identity as a mom and the Bee that I’d always known. My original vision was that becoming a mom would add to who I already was, giving me a fuller, more expansive sense of self. I thought motherhood would pour into my being like broth going into a soup—it would add an indelible flavour that made everything else richer.

The reality was much different.

Everything changed in my first year of motherhood. I understood that as a new parent, I’d be exchanging impromptu date nights for diaper explosions and trading sleeping in for sleeping never. But I wasn’t prepared for the hit my identity would take.

My relationship with my body became complicated. Breastfeeding struggles had me wondering how it could fail at something it was “supposed” to do naturally. When I finally stopped breastfeeding, my once-cute boobs deflated to a sad semblance of themselves. That sacrifice would have been easier to accept if my boobs actually did their job, but since they didn’t, it felt like a cruel joke. And while my friends praised the way my body “snapped back” to its pre-pregnancy self, I felt less attractive than before.

More jarring than my shifting body image were the unforeseen ways I was fully at the mercy of motherhood. I remember a day when I was on my way to a lunch date with a friend. With my baby in the stroller, I got off at the subway stop only to realize there was no elevator and the escalator was broken. People hurried past me while I stood at the foot of the stairwell, fighting back the tears stinging my eyes. I had taken for granted how easy things were before I was a mom and struggled not only with how challenging certain things were now, but with how embarrassingly desperate I was for a simple lunch date.

I’d mentally prepared for this motherhood thing: I had read the books and joined the online groups, but I still felt like somehow this wasn’t my life. Instead, I was an actress playing the role of Harried New Mom, without a script.

The storyline shifted six months in, as my husband and I split the year of parental leave. I thought going back to work would be the key to feeling like the old Bee. It wasn’t. It took time for me to adjust to leaving my baby every morning, and I didn’t know which hurt more: the days she’d wail as I left or the days when she didn’t seem to care at all that I was gone. Even though I knew she was in the safekeeping of her loving father, I just wanted to be there. This made me start to rethink my priorities and redefine achievement and success. Inspired by my daughter, I switched careers completely.

mom in lingerie holding baby Postpartum body: My scars tell a story

Sometimes, the best way to deal with something is to accept it. The day my daughter took her first steps, she stumbled over and over again, and then finally mastered the ability to steady herself and move forward. Walking would soon be her new normal, and though she was unsure at first, she learned to enjoy it. That motivated me to do the same in my own life. I reconciled with my breastfeeding struggles and my new body, and I learned to ask for help—something pre-baby Bee was never good at. I found self-care through yoga, West African dance and meal-planning, but most importantly, by being kind to myself on even the most frustrating of days.

Eventually, I started feeling more confident as a mom and with the way my days played out.

I also made peace with the fact that I was never really going to “go back” to feeling like the old me. Motherhood didn’t fold itself as neatly into my life as I’d hoped, but it forced me to evolve. If that first year was a journey, I distinctly remember all the times I just couldn’t wait to find my way back home. When I did, I discovered it had a different set of furniture and a fresh coat of paint, and the garden out front had grown since I last saw it. And after spending some time there, it felt like home.

How to do an easy five-minute makeup routine

Makeup artist Aniya Nandy shares a quick and easy routine that will have you feeling less #zombie and more #IWokeUpLikeThis. The best part? No brushes required!

An array of Joe Fresh makeup: concealer, moisturizer, lip stain, mascara, brow pencil and pressed powder
Photo: Daniel Harrison

1. Camouflage dark circles: First thing’s first: Cleanse skin and then moisturize. Next, go in with concealer to remove any evidence that you haven’t slept in days. Apply a heavier than usual dab under the eyes, close to the tear ducts, and blend outward to the outer sides of the eye with your finger. “The warmth of your finger will soften and blend the product,” says Nandy. Bonus: You can also use concealer to spot-treat any blemishes. Try: Joe Fresh moisturizer, $16; Joe Fresh Illuminating Concealer, $8, joefresh.com

2. Even out skin: For super light coverage, gently dust pressed powder all over your face. To make application on the go easy, choose one that comes with a powder puff. Try: Joe Fresh Oil Absorbing Pressed Powder, $10, joefresh.com

3. Frame your face: Brows define the face, so when you’re short on time, choose them over eyeliner or eyeshadow. Select a brow pencil that comes with a brush, and use it to comb the hair upward. Next, with the pencil, start filling in each brow at the arch, concentrating most of the product in that area. Use the brush to blend the rest of the product toward the front of the brow for a gradient effect. Try: Joe Fresh Brow Pencil, $7, joefresh.com

4. Make eyes pop: Achieve the eyeliner look without the fuss by applying two to three heavy coats of mascara, starting at the roots and building it upward so it thickens the lashes. “Mascara’s just one of those things that can instantly change how awake you look,” says Nandy. Try: Joe Fresh Lash Focus Extending Mascara, $8, joefresh.com

5. Get a 2-for-1 deal: Top the look off with the ultimate makeup hack: a blush stick that can be used for both your cheeks and lips. Swipe the product gently across each cheek and blend with your fingers. Then use your fingers to rub the creamy pigment onto your lips. Easy-peasy! Try: Joe Fresh Blush Stick, $8, joefresh.com

Start small: Doable self-care from new moms

Shower

Read more:
5 things I failed to do as a new mom

7 tips on how to ask for help with your new baby
How to keep your relationship strong when you have kids

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