Thursday, March 29, 2007

Make-up 101: Beauty Care During Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy Part 2.

Now that you've gone through 24+ hours of labour (or 4 hours - damn you lucky ones!) and given birth to your precious little baby, you're exhausted, emotional, and thankful you and the baby made it out in one piece. During your pregnancy you were treated like a queen, never having to lift a finger, showered with compliments, and people never thought twice about you eating a whole pizza by yourself. Now your close friends and family members are pushing you to the side and fighting over who gets to hold the baby. The scenario may not be quite like that but that's what it feels like to you.

My first three months of motherhood was a roller coaster ride full of many ups but many downs as well. Some of you may have been lucky enough to not go through what is known as the post pardum "baby blues". About 85% of women experience some symptoms of "baby blues" like I did. There were a lot of days I didn't feel like showering let alone put make-up on to see people. It's a gross fact but it was true. I was exhausted every day and so irritable that any little thing would set me off. I would only leave the house when I absolutely needed to. Everything from cleaning my face to brushing my teeth took so much time and energy from me. I cried a few times because my old clothes still didn't fit and I was so sick of wearing maternity wear.

The great news is that you do start to feel like yourself again like I did when my baby was 3 months old. It was like I was in a trance and all of a sudden snapped out of it. I booked a hair wax mani/pedicure appointment, bought new clothes, new make-up, and new shoes right away. I wanted to be around people again. However, even at the 3 month mark I was still having to get up every 1.5-2 hours to feed him which didn't leave me much time for myself. Here are some tips that helped get me through those tired times:

1. Sleep when the baby sleeps - even if you have visitors over. They will understand you need to catch your sleep any way you can. By sleeping, you'll build up your energy to be able to continue a beauty routine and other important things like getting out of the house with the baby.

2. EAT and drink lots of fluids! I was always on a weird schedule and never ate at the proper times but eating is very important in helping sustain your energy. If you're breastfeeding, eating is also important not only for milk production but gives you the fuel you need to persevere through what can be a trying time for both baby and mother. Also, breastfeeding burns a lot of calories so you need to eat to balance it out. Even if an apple is all you can manage it's better than nothing. I was lucky enough to have my mother-in-law and mother bring or cook us food that we could freeze for later on. Eat foods that are quick and easy to prepare. Drink water or sugar free juices to keep your body and skin hydrated.

3. Always start your day with a shower or try to fit it in there somewhere. I cherished my showers because it was the only time I had to myself. It was soothing and calming. I always felt refreshed and energized after my showers. Yummy smelling body washes are great pick-me-ups.

4. Just because you've had the baby and your tummy is returning to normal size doesn't mean you can stop moisturizing. To help prevent or minimize your stretch marks you still need to moisturize. Since I was also breastfeeding, I was losing a lot of fluids so my skin was always dry. Moisturizing along with drinking fluids will help combat this problem.

5. It's understandable if you don't have the energy to put on make-up but it will make you feel better on the inside when you look great on the outside. Here is a 5-10 minute make-up routine that will get you ready before your baby's next feeding!
a. Even out your skin tone with a concealer or tinted moisturizer with an SPF.
b. Apply loose powder where needed.
c. Bronzer will give you a healthy glow. Apply where the sun naturally hits you: cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead.
d. For colour use 3 in 1 products that don't require a brush like Nars' The Multiple. You can use it as a shadow, blush and lip colour. If you're a neutral girl South Beach is a beautiful shimmering apricot that gives just enough colour without looking overdone. If you like a little colour try Maldives (pink champagne shimmer) or Riviera (sheer pink). There are other quick and easy products that don't require brushes like cream-to-powder-shadows, or cream-to-powder blushes, gel stains for lips and cheeks.
e. Curl lashes and apply mascara. It opens up your eyes and makes you look more awake even if you really aren't!
f. Swipe on some gloss or lip balm. I'm still addicted to tinted lip balms and creamy matte finishes or stains because they don't kiss off on my baby's face (and I kiss him about a million times a day!).

Voila you're done and looking damn good for someone that's just had a baby! Remember, taking of yourself will make you better at taking care of your baby. That was a hard lesson I had to force myself to learn. If the baby blues has caused you to lose touch with friends, family or your significant other make an effort to reconnect with them again. It will make you feel normal to engage in everyday conversations especially since all you can think about is the baby (and of course the baby should come first). Another important tip is to take at least an hour a day for yourself whether it be soaking in the tub, listening to music, watching tv, shopping, reading a good book or meeting up with a friend. And lastly, a happy mom makes for a happy baby!

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