Babytalk teamed up with Rago and Jennifer Payne, M.D., codirector of the Johns Hopkins Women's Mood Disorders Center in Baltimore, to create the following quiz. Answer the questions below, then read on for advice and support to shore up any weak spots.
1. When I see the stretch marks on my stomach, they
A) remind me of the beautiful baby I carried for nine-plus months. These are battle scars!
B) get me down. I never had stretch marks before, but I know they'll fade with time.
C) gross me out. I would so get them lasered off if I could.
2. When my partner and I get it on, I'm most likely to
A) jump him in the morning. It may be bright out, but that's the only time we have to connect.
B) get what on? We're so tired we can barely get our baby's Onesie on.
C) bolt for the light switch. He doesn't need to see my shar-pei-puppy belly rippling over him.
3. The first thing that pops into my head when I see Tori Spelling or Kelly Ripa in a bikini is
A) "Hahahahahahahaha! Ha."
B) "Well, I'd look like that, too, if I could afford a personal chef and a trainer."
C) "Why didn't I just get a tummy tuck with my c-section?"
4. When my partner tells me I'm beautiful, I think he's
B) just trying to get some action.
C) Huh? My partner does not tell me I'm beautiful.
5. Breastfeeding makes me feel
A) connected on so many levels.
B) a little damp and sticky.
C) like a cow.
6. Before pregnancy, the best way to describe how I felt about my body would be
A) Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
C) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
7. Now, the best way to describe how I feel about my body would be
B) Supersize Me.
C) Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
8. When I think about my body, my inner voice sounds
A) like my best friend.
B) like my mother.
C) like a drill sergeant.
9. I can't wait to
A) take a Mommy-and-Me swim class.
B) do a down dog without my boobs hitting me in the eye.
C) work out hard. I'm so frustrated with my body that it's all I can think about.
10. The most recent postpregnancy outfit I bough was
A) a daring V-neck to show off my fab cleavage.
B) nothing yet. I'm still waiting to see if I fit into any of my prepregnancy clothes and will reassess then.
C) a pair of loose sweats and a hoodie.
11. The closest I've ever come to a mental health problem is
A) staring at Heidi Klum for too long.
B) general stress and anxiety, but I've always been able to keep it in check with therapy, self-help techniques, and chocolate.
C) I've been diagnosed and/or treated for anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overexercising and/or depression.
Next: Read Your Quiz Results!
Total your A, B, and C answers
Mostly A's: Feeling Groovy
It seems like you are adjusting quite well to all of the changes your body has gone through, and you have a healthy perspective on what's important in life right now: experiencing the joy of your new baby without losing sight of who you are as an individual. When your doctor gives permission, have fun getting back into the exercises you love. Continue to take good care of yourself, keep on feeling good about your body and your life?and enjoy!
Mostly B's: Making Progress
Having a baby is hard on your body, and it can be tough on your self-esteem, too. It sounds like you may need a little extra attention right now. Go out of your way to obtain support from family and friends. Talk to other moms, or start a journal about your feelings relating to your body and motherhood. Sometimes women unconsciously punish their body as a way of coping with other more complicated problems. Could you be overeating in response to feeling isolated? Are you trying to diet away your new-mom insecurities? The more you know about your true feelings and desires, the more successful you can be when you decide to make some changes. Once you are ready to resume (or start!) your exercise routine, be sure to listen to your body. Don't push too hard too fast, and try to keep balance between workouts and relaxation.
Mostly C's: Time for Some TLC
You could be experiencing the body-image blues. But, remember, negative self-talk doesn't help anyone. "An old monk said, 'When you judge yourself, you break your heart,'" says life coach Barbara Sher. You will be more successful and have higher self-esteem if you nurture, encourage, and respect yourself. You may also want to consider adding professional counseling to your self-care routine and to watch out for the ever-so-common problem of postpartum depression. For extra support, there's always the web-definitely consider logging on to the Love Your New Mom Body message boards at Parenting.com/babytalk to connect with other women. Be watchful when you return to exercising: Obviously, one of the great boons of working out is that it can improve your outlook. But if you are frustrated with your body, you only add stress and risk overdoing it (or not doing it at all). Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and with a little determination, you will reach your goal!