You probably have never felt less sexy in your entire adult life. You’ve recently given birth, your skin has lost its glow, you’re operating on only a few hours of interrupted sleep each night, you’re still wearing your maternity pants, and your internal parts feel like they are flopping around loose inside your stretch-marked lower abdomen. At this point it’s hard to imagine ever feeling like yourself again, much less feeling like your sexy-self.
In fact, a recent poll revealed that most new moms don’t feel sexy again until an average of 18 months have passed after giving birth. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. So what do we do to bring back the magic when we can barely bring ourselves to look in the mirror?
Here are five top, new-mom tested tips to put you on the path toward feeling like you are finally back inside your own sexy skin.
Nothing makes you feel more like your body is your own then a good yoga class. Clear it with your medical care professional first, then make sure your yoga instructor knows you’ve recently given birth, or attend a class specifically for postpartum moms. There are several yoga poses that will help to bring back your core muscle strength and rebuild tension in the abdominal walls so you feel less loose and weak in the middle. It also loosens muscle tension in the back and neck and strengthens the pelvic wall.
One of the best postpartum yoga moves is to perform kegel exercises while maintaining child’s pose. This helps to rebuild the pelvic floor and make you feel more like yourself again, while it also prevents those… leaky moments when you cough or laugh. In fact, you may find yourself feeling better “down there” than you did prior to pregnancy once you’ve consistently performed your daily kegels.
Yoga has long been known to increase libido by promoting circulation in the pelvic area. It also increases flexibility, heightens self-awareness and self-esteem, and improves energy levels—all of which increase your sex drive.
Get Your Glow Back
One of the reasons you may be avoiding mirrors in the months after giving birth is the dramatic change from the radiant rosy glow your face enjoyed during pregnancy to the dull dry skin, and dark under-eye circles you now sport. Postpartum skin woes are common, with hormonal changes causing acne, and stress, exhaustion, and lack of time for skincare all taking a toll. Some new moms also face lingering melasma—the dark patches of skin that sometimes appear on the face during pregnancy and can linger during breastfeeding.
Many of these postpartum skin problems can be eased if you allow yourself the time for proper skincare. With a new baby at home needing so much care, self-care sometimes takes a backseat.
Giving your skin a proper cleansing can be difficult when you barely have time to shower, but every skincare regimen begins with clean, fresh skin. Then treating your skin to a good retinol serum will help to brighten postpartum dull, discolored skin by encouraging skin cell turnover and regeneration, while balancing out acne-prone skin. Follow this with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
A good face mask used weekly to detoxify and moisturize your skin will help to bring back your dewy glow, and also bring back your confidence in your own beauty and sex-appeal.
Show Your Stripes
Yes, you are a mama tiger and you’ve earned your stripes. And yes, you will wear them like the badges of honor they are. You’ve heard it all—and you believe it—but you may still feel self-conscious about showing your badges of courage to your partner. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel more like yourself again.
Stretch marks will eventually fade from their first vivid reds and purples to thin silvery lines, and you can speed this fading process along by using a great stretch mark cream. Stretch mark creams used during pregnancy can not only minimize stretch marks, but also relieve the itchiness of stretching skin. Used after pregnancy, stretch mark creams can soothe and smooth irritated skin and help to promote faster healing. Some stretch mark creams contain scar-minimizing ingredients to fade redness and reduce inflammation, so you can feel better about the stripes you’ve earned.
Buy Some Sexy Underwear
This tip is a classic for a reason—because it works! It may take up to six weeks for postpartum bleeding to stop—and probably many more weeks before you can even think about having anyone other than your baby on your body—but when you’ve finally put the mesh undies in trash, the baby is finally sleeping for four hour stretches at night, and you begin to feel more like yourself again, it may be time to do a little shopping.
Your old lingerie may not be fitting you quite yet—or ever—and some new sexy underwear replacing your stretchy maternity panties may be just the thing to make you feel like you are not only a mom—you’re a woman!
Some high-waisted, high-high cut briefs are perfect if you have a C-section scar you’re not yet comfortable with. There are several big brands that specialize in bringing the sexy back to new moms, including ThirdLove and BellyBandit. BellyBandit makes a sexy nursing tank with compression panels in all the right places, to give you back a toned look, even if you haven’t had time to tone.
Maternity and nursing bras don’t have to look like the big white bras you used to see flapping on your grandmother’s clothesline. Today’s nursing bras can be stylish and sexy. In fact, check out “Hotmilk Lingerie” for some really sexy bras and undies designed to make your mom-bod feel more like your own bod again.
Make Room to Groom
As hard as it can be to find any time for yourself—much less your partner—you will be surprised how much better you feel about yourself if you take the time for a little grooming. When you are trapped at home with a new baby for much—if not all—of the time, you may feel that it’s pointless to get out of your pajama pants and nursing tank. And of course, your baby doesn’t care what your hair and (lack of) makeup look like, so chances are you don’t even remember where your makeup bag is, and your hair is in a messy bun—and not one of those cute messy buns that celebrities have professional hairdressers do up for them, but the real thing. While clearly the new baby is your top priority, as the weeks—and then months—go by, it may become damaging to your self-esteem when you cringe away from your own image in the mirror. It’s hard to feel like a sexual being when you look like an exhausted mom.
It’s amazing what a difference a little self-care can make in the way you feel about yourself—and then about your partner. Taking the time to put on actual clean clothes in the morning and brushing your hair—maybe with a little dry shampoo—and then adding a quick slick of tinted lip gloss and a little mascara can give your spirit an instant lift and make you look, and feel, like your best self again. And that’s a big step toward getting your sexy-self back after having a baby.