Tips for New Moms: Get Ready to Regress
Compounding problems, few women realize their bodies will not, and may never be, the same after giving birth. I have the misfortune of permanently retaining a pregnant woman's uncanny sense of smell. Five years after giving birth, a whiff of the bathrooms I share with three males at home despite frequent cleaning evokes the aroma of subway stations in most major cities.
Postpartum body changes exceed saggy breasts, rolls of extra stomach skin, or a bigger shoe size. The extreme hair loss a few months after childbirth is maddening. And as sick as you may be of maternity clothes, you may not fit into anything else for some weeks after birth. Over the long term, many moms will be plagued with weight problems and the loss of self-esteem larger sizes can bring.
"I was so excited when I heard that as a new mom, I wouldn't have time to eat," laughs a Las Vegas mother of a six-month-old boy struggling to lose fifteen post-childbirth pounds. "But like all the other phases in life in which I was supposed to be too nervous or too busy to eat, I ate right through it."
As if it hasn't wreaked enough havoc, sleep deprivation also boosts the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates your metabolism of sugar, protein, and fat. Excess cortisol also sends insulin levels soaring, which control blood sugar and fat storage, so that weight loss is more difficult.
Another disappointment? Breast-feeding does not always peel off pounds; sometimes, moms don't shed extra weight till they finish nursing. Other moms can't slim down till they have dedicated hours in which to exercise, hours that are hard to come by during the preschool years.
More on: Adjusting to New Motherhood
From What No One Tells the Mom by Marg Stark. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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