No matter how many books or blogs you read about pregnancy and birth, nothing truly prepares you for the emotional rollercoaster that is the postpartum period. Adjusting to everyday life after you bring your new little love home, has its challenges, especially if you’re a new mama. In the very beginning, it can even feel like you’re in a bit of a daze! So, while your number one priority will naturally be to care for your baby, it’s important to remember to also take care of yourself.
You might be thinking “where the hell am I going to find time for myself?” Or, “self-care is a nice idea but sounds a little luxurious and self-indulgent right now.” We feel ya! But, taking the time to fill up your own cup first will give you a better chance to be the kind of mother and partner you want to be. And when it comes to bonding with your baby and enjoying the first few weeks, a little bit of self-care goes a long way!
Life with a newborn can be a bit of a blur - you often don’t know what day of the week it is! In fact, you don’t know what hour of the day or night it is as you adjust to focussing all your attention on your little babe. You’re focussed on making sure that that you’re attending to their every need, you’re unsure if they are hungry or just need a nappy change. Family and friends pop in and out of the house, dotting on your latest addition to the family. And presents - everywhere! As exciting as it is at the beginning, your friends and family will soon begin visiting less and less, and you might start to feel the strain, exhaustion and the ups and downs of this new and exciting chapter of life, called motherhood.
There’s no doubt that your focus will be on your precious new baby but don't forget what you have been through and why self-care is so important. During the first 6-8 weeks after birth, otherwise known as the post-partum period, you will move through many changes, both emotionally and physically. It may be weeks before you feel yourself again. And if you’re a new mum, you might even be thinking “what does myself feel like anymore?” And that’s totally OK.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or anything like the unrealistic bullshit portrayed on Instagram. Self-care could be as simple as having your grocery shopping delivered, taking a walk (once given the OK by your doctor) or taking short naps while the baby sleeps. Don’t hesitate to ask for or accept when help is offered either. You’ve just given birth, your body needs time to heal and practical help around the house can help you get some much-needed rest. You deserve it, mama! Please don’t think that accepting help is a sign of weakness or that you’re not coping well. You are quite possibly the strongest you’ve ever been in your entire life and in such a short period of time have not only birthed a human-being but are now learning what you’re supposed to do with it. So, give yourself some credit and take some time to reflect on how much of an amazing job you’re doing at being a mum!