Find Yourself After Having a Baby.
You: from A to Z
As a pregnant woman, people reach out to touch you; you're like a magnet. Once baby is born, the focus shifts to the child. How can you rediscover and nurture your core in a gale of new responsibilities?
It all begins with the positive pregnancy test, according to Jennifer Louden, author of The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide to Your Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy. "Pregnancy offers women time to value and nurture themselves," Louden says. "When you have a child, it's hard to remember who you are. You need to have an established sense of self to keep you centered."
Does that mean building a meditation room -- complete with New Age music -- and setting aside an hour a day for yourself? Like that would happen, Louden laughs. The important thing, she says, is giving yourself permission to put yourself first. So much, and so many precious people, depend on your ability to do so.
A is for apple and other juicy fruits. Eat some every day and use a plate. Buy kiwi for yourself even though no one else in your family likes it. A is also for abdominals. It never hurts to make a conscious effort to pull them in, even when drifting off to sleep, says Denise Austin, star of Denise Austin's Fit and Light on Lifetime TV.
B is for beauty, don't neglect yours. Buy new cosmetics and perfume.
C is for cuts. Indulge in good haircuts -- maybe while the kids are with the sitter.
D is for decluttering. A 52-pickup clockwise around the room once a day does wonders for the spirit. For more quick neatening tips, go to www.overhall.com.
E is for exercise. Austin advises against Pilates during pregnancy, but recommends the regimen for afterward.
F is for fine linens. You shouldn't be sleeping on Mickey and Minnie sheets. Your bed (and your sleep) is too important right now.
G is for grownups. Don't be afraid to have people over and specify "no kids this time." G is also for getaways, again sans offspring.
H is for hot tea. Britain got through the blitz drinking it.
I is for "you." What do you like to do best? Garden, read, mountain bike? "Mother" may not have an "I" in it, but you can't spell, or be, "Interesting" without "I."
J is for baby jogger, a running contraption that will help you get back into shape after baby is born. Austin says if you can afford a good one, go for it.
K is for kittens. No, pets do not need banishing. They can even lower your blood pressure. (Just be sure to avoid the litter box during pregnancy.)
L is for love. You may be besotted as you've never been before. Bask in it.