by Kimberly C. Bowman

For many women, there really is a glow about them during pregnancy. After the typical early nausea passes and you begin to show, your face is full, your skin is clear, your figure is more voluptuous and even your hair is full and thick. You are fabulous and expectant, so you get a special parking spot for “Expectant Mothers.”

Then the darling bundle arrives. Most women experience a significant amount of fluid retention after birth. There is soreness and possibly pain. Hips take some time to settle back into their previous width and once your milk comes in, your breasts may seem enormous. They will likely leak if any baby cries. When your baby is about four months old, the hair that you retained during pregnancy will begin to shed in earnest, clogging all drains and bringing your vacuum to a burnt rubber stop. To top it off, now that you actually have a beautiful baby that you carry in your arms along with a diaper bag and a purse, you apparently no longer need a parking space close to the entrance. All these combined with sleeplessness can really dull that expectant glow you remember so well.

First and foremost, you will look back on your maternity jeans and the memories of your ta-tas-runneth-over and laugh. While not at all amusing at present, all these experiences are perfectly normal and temporary. You are among friends! While you are getting accustomed to your new daily rituals, remember that your body will take care of itself as long as you give it the right tools. Keep yourself hydrated. Take your vitamins. Eat good food. Breastfeed. Get some exercise. Strollers, slings and baby carriers are all excellent vehicles to get walking with baby. They love the soothing rocking motion and there is nothing like a perambulation to do the soul good – both of yours.

Beginnings are what happen at endings. Thinner hair and inconvenient parking are not so great but your newfound love certainly is. He will still twirl those thinner tresses with his fat little fingers and grin at you as you make your way from the back of the lot and you will find yourself glowing for a whole different reason.