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Health & Baby

Find Yourself After Having a Baby.

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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.

M is for massage. During pregnancy, find a massage therapist trained to work on pregnant women (they even have tables with tummy holes, Louden says). M is also for movies. Don't wait for the video; hire a sitter. And M is for music. Have your spouse make a tape of your favorites and keep it playing.

N is for No. Learn to say it when you feel overloaded. "No, you can't visit now." "No, I can't serve on that committee." You'll see -- you'll develop a rhythm.

O is for Out. Go there! Make every Tuesday night date night with your spouse.

P is for pedicures. Katy Santesteban, a Phoenix social worker who recently gave birth to a 9-pound boy, developed a pedicure habit when she could no longer see her feet. She has no plans to lose it any time soon.

Q is for quiet. One mother used to offer her kids a quarter if they could be quiet for 15 minutes. They would whisper and giggle and watch the clock, but it helped -- and they learned to tell time.

R is for religion. Many churches and synagogues have "cry" rooms where you can enjoy the service even if baby becomes fussy or needs feeding. Some congregations even offer babysitting.

S is for Snuggles. Austin uses her baby as a counterweight to do squats and lunges. She never goes to the gym, she says -- and the baby loves it. S is also for shoes. You may not enjoy buying maternity and "after" clothes, but shoe shopping is a universal pleasure (you even get to sit down).

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