Taking care of yourself after birthing can seem like just one more chore at a time when you feel spread too thinly. Prioritizing your happiness and health isn't as impossible as it seems at first blush though- and you may be surprised at what a boost it can give you, emotionally and physically.
It can be as simple as a nice hot shower and a nap, but the restorative powers of getting what you need to feel good are strong. As the days after birthing go on, you'll find yourself healing and getting more confident as a mother, but your baby will likely be more wakeful at night as well. This is normal. Babies need to take in an astounding amount of nourishment to do the growing and learning that they need to do in their early years. Most or all of the responsibility to feed your child on demand is likely to fall on you. Some mothers will take this in stride, and some mothers will feel put upon and fed up more often. All feelings are legitimate, and negative feelings are not unusual, particularly if you have an unusually tricky home life, ie a spouse who works far from home or who works long hours, aged or unwell parents, older children, living far away from your relatives and friends, and work responsibilities can all make the demands of new motherhood seem more daunting.
Yes, you must take care of your baby around the clock, but there is usually a way that you can dedicate some time to care for your own needs. One way to get what you need is to schedule a class and tell your partner or family members that you need their help during that time so that you can feel like yourself again and restore your mind and body, so you can take better care of your child. Setting aside this "me time" isn't selfish. Treat it as a sacred pact with yourself that you won't lose yourself in taking care of others. Simply saying something like "I'm going to the coffee shop to read for an hour" may work for some women. Others may feel that the official nature of a class dedicated to postpartum women will take the guilt out of asking for the much-needed self-care routine. Some women who have less sympathetic partners may find that they have an easier time advocating for themselves if they're specifically taking time away from home to do a fitness class.
Whether you need a walk in the fresh air, time with friends, a manicure, or just some more sleep, I encourage you to speak up for yourself, and make sure you're getting what you need, too.
If you're at least 6 weeks post-baby and are feeling ready for some energizing and restorative activities to regain your balance and your core strength (which have been compromised in various ways by the incredible power of pregnancy and birthing), I highly recommend that you check out this new class for women like yourself, who are seeking community and self-care:
Prefer yoga? Check out Mom & Baby Yoga, here:
Yes, exercise is tiring.The very thought of it is probably making you tired right now. Remember, though: Ultimately exercise replenishes your energy and gives you back your vibrant glow. It restores your confidence. If you commit to it, even for one hour a week, you will reap the benefits, and so will your child, and all of your relationships. You can take 1 hour out of the whole week for you, because you make your whole family go. If you don't, what is fuelling you? How long will it be before you tap out?
Wishing you a wonderful 2017,
Sarah LeMay, President