SIX WEEKS AFTER GIVING birth, my doctor cleared me to "resume regular activity." Even before that, society gave me a similar message – that I should diet and exercise to "bounce back" to how I looked and felt before becoming a mother.
But here's the reality: That's impossible. New moms can't resume regular activity because their definition of "regular" must change. They can't bounce back to their pre-baby bodies because they have new bodies – and priorities. And, as hard as they try, they also can't act normal if they're feeling isolated, sleep-deprived and totally confused about how exactly to tackle parenthood – feelings that can last far longer than six weeks. In fact, postnatal depletion – or the symptoms new moms face due to physiological issues, hormonal changes and interruption of sleep cycles, according to postnatal specialist Dr. Oscar Serrallach – can last up to 10 years if not addressed.