When I was pregnant with Zaza, I did an Instagram Live with Ms. Molly Sims.
I’m sure you’re familiar with her, but if you aren’t, Molly is a model, actress, TV personality, author, & mom of 3.
She’s also been on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast where she tells you all about ‘mom juice’ ( had to do a whole post on it ), a life-changing beauty hack, & opens up about how she gained 85 lbs during pregnancy.
Anyway, we did an Instagram Live & I recapped the whole thing in a blog post where we share our favorite beauty products.
But today Molly is here to talk about what it’s like to be postpartum. From healing, beauty, mental health & managing relationships Molly is here to give us her tips & tricks to stay sane.
Plus, we’re doing a swap! Fun! You can head over to her blog to check out all my postpartum tips that helped me through the depression & anxiety.
I suffered from postpartum depression & anxiety so I want to keep sharing other women’s stories so that if you’re out there experiencing the same thing, you’ll know that you’re not alone.
With that, let’s hear Molly’s take on the postpartum period.
The Postpartum Party With Molly Sims
The postpartum period isn’t exactly a party at the club, although there are some things in common. You might not be poppin’ bottles per se, but you are rinsing, cleaning, & placing them on the drying rack ad nauseam.
And after a long night, someone might be passed out on the couch, but this time it’s you. Because who has enough energy to make it back to the bed anyhow? Bonus points though because you’re still in your pajamas! Ding, ding, ding! And on a rare occasion you might wake up & not know where you are or where you’ve been – but that’s just called “mommy brain” – we all have it. It’s proven. It’s science. We’re all fine, I swear. What’s my name again?
Oh, & perhaps you still go to the bathroom in twos. But now it’s not with your girlfriend to gossip, but rather with your baby in the Bjorn – because it’s the only godforsaken way she’ll sleep for longer than 4.5 seconds. Welcome to motherhood. Where taking a sh*t without an audience is now considered a luxury!
As a momma three times over, trust me when I say this, I’ve felt everything you’ve felt. Mourned everything you’ve mourned. Celebrated all the moments, big & small, majestic & dyspeptic. And occasionally I’ve lost my sh*t.
The hormonal rollercoaster is no joke.
The highs are high & the lows are low. Like, Marianas Trench low. But the trade-offs are more like trade-ups & the truth is I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I’m now a part of the Motherhood Club, & I wouldn’t trade it for any club of my past. It’s just too good, too rewarding & too full of moments that make my heart melt. And while we mommas might come from different backgrounds – what we have in common is a fierce love for our children & the occasional general WTF feeling. We can bond over that. And usually wine. Lots of wine.
And so, because I’ve been through it & gotten to the other side, I have a few things to share. Some practical tips & some ramblings. Hopefully there is something here that makes you smile, takes you out of that postnatal funk for a few minutes, or motivates you to take care better care of you.
Molly Sims’ Postpartum Tips:
The first 6 to 8 weeks are definitely a time to focus on healing. Your body has gone through 42 weeks of pregnancy & then birth. In whatever form yours took it’s absolutely exhausting. You are truly amazing, you is also tired, you is wearing a diaper. And you is probably in pain, somewhere.
Most of us experience Nipple-geddon. There is almost no pain on earth like the pain of a first time mom putting her breast foot forward those first few weeks of struggle-feeding. Well, that’s what it was for me. My first, Brooks, was born with a tooth. Yes, you heard me. The pain was like nothing you could imagine.
For sore, raw & even cracked nipples, fill two teacups with warm salt water & soak them for two or three minutes a few times a day. It helps speed healing. This is a godsend. Afterwards, apply a purified Lanolin salve, Lansinoh, which worked best for me, but if you prefer a vegan option, shea butter also works like a dream.
No one tells you that you still look pregnant after having a baby. It takes at least six weeks for your uterus to shrink back to near normal. And I get asked “body after baby” questions all the time, so let me give it to you straight:
I’ve worked really hard to have the body I have after three kids.
My first pregnancy, I gained 73 pounds. I’m not proud of that – but at least I’m honest with you. That’s the size of a Labrador. They are cute. I didn’t feel cute. For years I made my living as a model, & it was part of my job to look a certain way. I was expected to bounce back. I did not. It took me the same amount of time it takes nearly everyone else to lose the weight.
A year later, I was marginally happy with my body, but I promised myself that I would not gain that kind of weight again & I didn’t. As soon as I got the okay from my doctor, I started to workout. I did at home workouts, Tracey Anderson DVDs, Hot Pilates & SoulCycle. I did a ton of different things. But what I didn’t do was wait around for the weight to fall off.
I penciled in a workout five days a week. I’m fortunate because I have at home child-care so I could make the time for me. Exercise at your comfort level, but do something. Walk with your baby. Do a set of squats while you are warming the bottle. Do a plank or two while your baby is doing tummy time. The sooner it’s safe to get moving, the better you will feel mentally & physically.
I always have so much to say here. This blog post isn’t long enough! Looking at yourself in the mirror after having a baby can be a tough pill to swallow. Instagram Filters unfortunately don’t follow us wherever we go. I struggled with melasma in a major way during & after all my pregnancies.
If you are breastfeeding, the best skincare advice is to keep it simple.
Avoid cleaning your skin with a baby wipe & calling it a day. Instead, use a very gentle, moisturizing cleanser – I like Seiso’s gentle foaming cleanser, a hydrating serum, & a quality, nourishing moisturizer from Augustius Bader & always Rodial’s glow drops.
When you are done breastfeeding, you can launch into more active skincare.
A regimen I go back to time & time again is iS Clinical’s Pro-Heal Serum, Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads, and SoMe. You’ve got to make sure to use sunscreen & avoid sun exposure when on a regimen like this. And when using actives – always buffer the skin with ceramides.
When it comes to hair – so much of it falls out after pregnancy, taking a shower is like a horror show. My hair is still not the same. But, I do believe in eating healthy &, once done breastfeeding, taking Viviscal. I’ve used it ever since my modeling days & swear by it for stimulating hair growth.
Now for makeup. We don’t have all day, & neither do you! So it’s all about faking rested, glowy skin – because unless you are an alien – you are going to look a bit worse for wear. And we all know Botox is off limits, so there’s that too. My go-tos are Tom Ford’s cream color for my eyes/lids, Westman Atelier’s blush stick just for some life— Gucci’s lip gloss for lips for a subtle shine, & a light coat of Ilia mascara which makes my lashes look a lot stronger than they are. I cannot live without Cle de Peau’s concealer for faking rested skin & a good night’s sleep.
♡ Mental Health
After Grey, my third, I experienced mild postnatal depression & pretty serious anxiety. I was low. The first thing I did was confide in friends & other moms that I trusted. I felt so out of control & my mental landscape was all over the place. Mood swings, crying, but mostly anxiety that was through the roof. I was so worried that something was going to happen to me, my newborn, one of my other children, or to my husband Scott. I could not get it out of my head.
And I couldn’t sleep, & I couldn’t relax. I was living in a perpetual state of “worst case scenario.” I got through it, but it took me talking to friends & even a therapist to recognize that this was a major hormone shift that was definitely impacting my mood & ability to think rationally. This is not unusual.
If you really, really don’t feel like yourself. And things are dark. Talk to someone you trust. My husband was amazing & helped me through it. But some partners honestly might not get it. They are going through their own transformation. So recognize that most of those thoughts are just your hormones talking…and there is help out there. Your doctor is your first resource & momma friends can be great support.
I desperately wanted to be able to breastfeed, & I tried and tried and did everything I could ( from acupuncture, to massage, to drinking Guinness on the daily & ordering lactation pills from Canada ). But I just didn’t make enough milk. I really felt like a failure.
By my second pregnancy – I realized it was a no go again. But this time, I was a more seasoned mom. I wasn’t going to judge myself. I made sure my babies were fed & focused on other things that I could control. It’s important as new mothers to practice acceptance & kindness – to other mothers of course – but also to ourselves.
And don’t get hung up on perfection. Accept & move forward & just always do your best. Read some poetry. It’s short & you won’t fall asleep. Have an inspirational book next to your bed that you can flip through at a moments notice to lift you up. This will help you to focus on the big picture & the blessings.
There is nothing that will make you feel closer or more bonded to your partner than having a baby together or sharing the duties of parenthood. But having a baby is a major sea change in your life. All your relationships will go through transformation. Your relationship with yourself, your partner, your parents, & your friends.
There is pre-baby you & post-baby you. When it comes to your significant other, parenthood brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “dirty talk.” While there’s plenty of it, it’s not the kind you are thinking of. There are dirty diapers ( for you and your babies ), dirty hair, dirty dishes, dirty laundry, & the list goes on.
Once you are healed & you get out of the haze – do something together once or twice a month. Just you two. For your relationship. Leave the baby with your mother in law, best friend or person you can trust – and connect. Go for a walk together. Get a coffee. I’m sure you’ll talk all about the baby anyway, but at least you won’t be interrupted ;).
As bonkers as the postpartum period can be – trust me, it doesn’t last forever.
You will get through it. But what’s mind blowing is that you will actually forget a lot of it. You might even forget that time your baby power-chucked directly into your mouth. And while there will be moments when nap-time & bedtime can’t come soon enough – like every parent tells you – babies grow.
And while that four month sleep regression feels like its going to last forever, it’s actually not. In the blink of an eye, you’ll be through it. Because the truth is, one minute you are holding them in your arms, rocking them to sleep, & the next minute you are helping them pack for college. No, you might never drink hot coffee again, or sit down for longer than 7 seconds, or have a phone call without needing to wipe a butt or clean a mess – but you will also experience unconditional love like nothing else before & moments of undeniable bliss.
Make no mistake. The post partum period is about survival.
But you are not alone. So hang in there momma. We are with you. And like my momma always told me…”This too shall pass.” And it will. And you’ll long for those nights you rocked your baby to sleep, cuddled her in your arms, & never felt more exhausted, or more needed, in your life.
As I said, it’s so important to share that we aren’t alone. Even Molly Sims gained weight & struggled postpartum. I hope you found this post helpful & it brought you value.
Did you experience any postpartum depression or anxiety? Are you going through it now? Please share below.
+ catch me & Molly on her YouTube channel where we talk about mom-shaming & weight gain.
++ what I wish I knew before I had a baby.