The self care of mothers is one of the most important needs after birth to ensure the best physical and emotional health of them and their babies.
After all the waiting, months maybe even years dreaming of holding your precious baby in your arms, the moment has finally arrived. Congratulations!!! You are a mum and with that comes the overwhelming urge to be the caretaker for everyone. Unfortunately, with this insane desire to care for everyone else you forget the most important person, you! The self-care that you need to practice every day both as a new mum and a person is forgotten amongst the stresses and strains of family life.
We spend 9 months of our pregnancy being told to look after ourselves, take and get plenty of rest. Then bang – baby is born and you are forgotten about. Resting is not on the agenda and neither is taking care of yourself! But self-care is such an important part of being the best version of yourself. Not only for your own mental health but also so that you can be the best parent that you can!
This phase is not the same for every mother and each experience is very personal. For most the unimaginable love that you feel for this new tiny human is so overwhelming and euphoric that you think you are invincible. Until the exhaustion, after birth pain and general life makes you feel like there is a mountain on your shoulders. But it is at this time where you really need to be making time for your own self-care. I know that you are very far down that list of priorities. If you are on that list at all!
The first thing that you must do is ‘be kind to yourself’. Be prepared that you will not always get it right, nobody does. There will be times when the sink is full of dishes and nobody has clean clothes. But these things are far less important than your mental health and need to take care of yourself as well as you take care of your baby!
What is self-care?
When we think of self-care, I think we overcomplicate the idea. It can be as simple as watching the baby for a few hours so a new mum can get the rest that she so desperately needs. Dropping off a home-cooked meal to a new mum. Just so she doesn’t have to worry about a meal for the rest of the family that night. You would be surprised at how much these small things can mean to a struggling new mum.
Don’t get me wrong if you want to really go for it, then there are ways in which you can make a bigger ‘gift of time’ to the new mum. While the new mum is resting and you are watching the baby, give the house a quick tidy up or put in some laundry.
Wired to struggle
If you think about the first thing a baby does when it is born. Its first instinct is to cry. This is their way to communicate their need for food, touch, warmth or be soothed. This was your baby’s first signal of self-care. As a mother, you need to be in tune with not only your child’s need for self-care but also be able to hear your own cries for the same.
I will share a secret with you that took me many years to learn. One I still struggle with to this day. You must find a way to remember your self-worth and self-love. To remind yourself daily that you are as important as your child, partner, parent, dog or anyone else that you feel comes before you. The truth is that if you are not practicing self-care then you are not the best version of yourself! Which then means you are not being the best parent, partner or daughter that you can be.
For those days when you doubt your self-worth and there is no love for yourself, I am telling you that you are beautiful, special and deserve to live a life that you love!
Audre Lorde once wrote ‘I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.’ So, mama bear lets survive!!