Movie stars and Instagram influencers would have us believe that in the weeks post-birth, women magically snap back to their serene and gorgeous pre-pregnancy selves, albeit still with that glow they sported for nine months.
But in reality, with the miracle of life can come some not so miraculous side effects. Post-partum hair loss, pigmentation and brain fog all leave their semi-permanent marks on the human form, leaving many new mums crying out: "Haven't I suffered enough?"
Luckily there are a range of products available on the market now that can help heal the wounds that come when your body has transcended mortality and made a literal human.
Here are just a few that have been tried, tested and recommended by new mums who give them two very tired thumbs up.
The problem: Post-partum hair loss
After surviving labour, losing your hair feels like a cruel joke. It's the subsequent dip in hormones that can leave a lot of new mums sadly watching their luscious thick pregnancy hair wash down the shower drain.
"During pregnancy, the higher level of estrogen leads to your body freezing hair in the growing phase," hairstylist Joey Silvestera told The Observer. "So instead of losing the normal amount of hair everyday, hair stays put and becomes thicker and shinier.
"On the flip side, the negative is significant hair loss. Some women lose the hair directly after delivery, and then some lose it later. Everyone is different."
This is where both internal and external products come into play. Although there is conflicting advice and evidence about collagen supplements, anecdotal evidence suggests it can help keep the hair thick and soft, and encourage regrowth of baby hairs in the hairline. Kiwi brand Dose & Co - now touted by Khloe Kardashian, of all people - is in my opinion one of the best on the market. Use the Collagen Creamer in your morning coffee and it will help both your sanity and your hairline.
If you're vegan or vegetarian, another local collagen company Jeuneora has just released Beauty Boost - a vegan collagen alternative continuing B vitamins, millet extract and collagen-boosting herbs.
Using a thickening shampoo that adds hydration like Olaplex Number 4 Bond Maintenance will help your remaining hair stay thick and hydrated. Most of all, attempt to avoid heat products when you can.
The problem: Pigmentation
Everyone talks about the pregnancy 'glow' but almost nobody mentions the pregnancy 'mask', which many women develop during that crucial nine months. Thanks to skyrocketing hormones, more than 50 percent of pregnant women develop the darkening of pigmentation around the mouth, cheeks, and forehead known as melasma. While the brown patches will become less obvious after birth, some may never go away completely, especially if skin pigmentation runs in your family.
So how to treat it? Micro-polishing treatments are fab but only if you have the dosh - they can be expensive. If you're looking for something you can keep in your bathroom cabinet, having two quality serums or products is the best way to go.
Kiwi skincare guru Emma Lewisham's Skin Reset serum is your best bet by my money. It contains 190 nutrients and phytonutrients said to even out skin tone, prevent brown spots from forming, brighten the skin and plump with hydration. That's a lot to take in - but the results you've probably seen on your Instagram feed speak for themselves. It's best to start using throughout pregnancy, but better late than never.
Another incredible product to boost cell turnover, help fade pigmentation and reduce fine lines is vitamin A concentration retinol - but of course, you scream at me, you can't use retinol when pregnant or breastfeeding!
That is correct, so instead turn to its all-natural, breastfeeding-friendly cousin - bakuchiol. The research comparing retinol to bakuchiol is limited but promising, with one study showing no difference in wrinkle reduction or pigmentation lessening - but much less irritation. Turn to Emma Lewisham's Supernatural Oil or Skinfood's Ageless Bakuchiol Booster Serum and see the glow.
And of course, your best defence? Sunblock. Every day without fail, thank you very much - even if slapping it on is the only thing you remember to do that day.
The problem: Brain fog
Less about the beauty and more about the brain, post-partum 'baby brain' can be frustrating at best, debilitating at worst. The best cure is obviously sleep - so once you've stopped laughing at the thought of that, it's time to look for an alternative.
Kiwi company Jeuneora has recently restocked its supplement Beauty Brain, a blackcurrant-flavoured drink powder which has a lemon balm extract to support brain function and mood; Alpinia Galanga root extract said to increase your mental alertness and Larch fibre to support your immunity and digestive health. It should help give you a much-needed energy burst at 3pm to get through the rest of the afternoon without reaching for that leftover cup of coffee that went cold in the morning.
And remember, if all you do for your health, wellness and beauty today is remember to drink a glass of water, that's cool too. You're keeping a human alive on this earth, so cut yourself some slack and deal with your pigmentation tomorrow, or in a year, or maybe even never. It's up to you mama!
Always check with your doctor before starting a supplement when pregnant or breastfeeding.