Motherhood and Aging
Someone once told me that women who don’t have children age better. Hearing this as a mother of two, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little offended.
Is that true? And if it is- how on earth is that fair?!
In a perfect world, shouldn’t the act of going through childbirth have some anti-aging benefits? And if it doesn’t, shouldn’t we at least be able to bounce back to where we were before kids?
Now research tells us that that there are many benefits to having children. There is the joy and health benefits of breastfeeding, the sweet nuzzles and cuddles of babies, the hilarious questions that arise when toddlers are trying to figure out the world around them, and the happiness that comes from watching someone that you MADE grow into a gentle, kind and decent person. For myself, I always wanted children and was willing to live with all of the after effects- even if that meant a more severe aging process. The pros always outweighed the cons.
Cons still scaring you? I get it. So I’ll breakdown the most common aging effects of having kids, and then give you no-nonsense advice on bouncing back.
Physical Changes of Motherhood
Let’s talk about the physical and physiological changes that are most likely the culprits as to why mothers tend to look a little older than their peers. That rush of hormones giving us the pregnancy “glow” has an unfortunate flip side when those same hormones fade. These fluctuations often result in a changing face and body.
To start, pregnancy causes weight gain which is totally normal and expected. You are eating for two (or more!) after all.
It’s also normal for some to lose that weight quickly after pregnancy. Most often this is a 30-40 pound weight swing. Working in Aesthetic Medicine for as long as I have, I have seen what that kind of weight fluctuation can do to someone’s face. With that rapid weight loss, we don’t just lose some lbs, we also lose collagen and elastin. Most of the time the collagen is restored without the spring of the elastin leading to a descent of tissue. This is the main reason I stress the importance of retinol products…we need that spring back!
Secondly, sleep is a large contributor to facial aging. Dark circles and dry skin are the result of many sleepless nights with our new little beings. The sick nights of being vomited and pooped on probably don’t really help either… but that’s neither here nor there.
Thirdly, let’s talk about hair loss. Remember those beautiful little tuffs of broken hair that start right at our hairline post-baby? My son is 18 months old and I still have them. When you envision a youthful person, does she have lustrous and smooth hair? The drop in hormones that mothers experience after birth can lead to fragile hair and breakage. Then when you are wading through toddlerhood, occasionally your little ones may enjoy yanking your already-struggling hair. Yet again, another contributor to why we may look a little more seasoned after baby.
Lastly, dehydration leads to deterioration. Breastfeeding sucks the life and water out of you. I found myself often yelling for my husband to grab me a large glass of water as soon as I sat down to nurse. The glass of wine that I drank immediately after that glass of water was for moral support, not hydration.
Dehydration leads to premature wrinkling and damages our skin’s natural defenses. Sallow skin is the end result.
But it’s not all doom and gloom post-baby though… promise!
Because new motherhood is full of new stresses and responsibilities, I know firsthand that thinking of and for yourself can often be a much harder task than one might think.
Four Tips for Mothers to Combat Aging
That’s why as an aesthetic professional and mother to two amazing children, I’ve put together this incredibly simple, no-nonsense list to help you keep feeling your best post-baby:
- Boost your collagen & elastin production with Retinol *(post pregnancy and breastfeeding)
I love SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex. It’s a clinical-grade, non-irritating, daily-use Retinol that increases cell turnover and combats sagging skin.
- Show your sleepy eyes some love!
For moisturizing the eye area post-pregnancy, I love The Body Deli’s Firming Flax Eye Cream. Made of organic ingredients, this cream is filled with Omega Fatty Acids that hydrate and firm your under-eyes. Perfect for sensitive eyes too.
- Two words: Collagen Supplement
My personal favorite is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. Just mix it in your daily cup of coffee, morning smoothie or oatmeal. Give your skin, hair, joints, and gut the boost they’ve been craving.
- Buy a big water bottle.
Simple? Yes. Effective? Also, yes.
My vote? BKR’s 1L bottle. It’s beautiful, so you’ll actually want to bring it everywhere with you. Fill it up just 3 times in a day, and your skin will thank you.
And there you have it! The four things you can do to make sure you continue to feel like a real-life human after your baby is born.
In all seriousness though, my biggest piece of advice is to cut yourself some slack. It’s OKAY if you don’t look exactly like you did pre-baby. You just had a baby for crying out loud! You’re officially a bada**.
You will bounce back with time. Take care of yourself. Drink your water. Apply some creams. And most importantly, enjoy your new role as “momma”.
About the Author:
Lovely Laban GNP-C MSN is a practicing Aesthetic Injection Specialist, and is available for appointments at Skin by Lovely’s Portland location. She is also an educator and trainer for InjectionU.
***All advice should be reviewed with your doctor prior to implementation as all pregnant and breast-feeding moms have specific needs.
Skin by Lovely has no affiliation with Vital Proteins or BKR.***