It is a fact that pregnancy and child-bearing are two of the most physically challenging and emotionally draining experiences in a woman’s life. Everything about you will change once you conceive a child, from your physiology to your lifestyle. It is only normal to be more sensitive, get annoyed or mad quickly, and have mood swings every now and then. Unfortunately, the raging hormones and psychological stress won’t stop after giving birth; instead, they will intensify in the postpartum stage.
For most parents, having a child is considered a miracle that brings happiness and glee to your family. Seeing your child for the first time will make you want to give every ounce of love to your little bundle of joy to the point that you neglect your needs. This is why practising self-love as a new mom is extra challenging since you are taking care of your newborn’s needs while dealing with significant changes in your life. However, self-care is a crucial part that you must handle in the postpartum stage.
This article will tackle why self-care is essential for new mothers, what self-care means, and how to get what you need.
What is self-care, and why is it important?
There is a common misconception that self-care is luxurious and elaborate. So often, bubble baths, spa treatments, mani-pedis, and shopping sprees come to mind when we talk about self-care. However, this is not realistic and unattainable for many. Instead, self-care ensures that your holistic well-being is being taken care of.
Many people struggle with self-care routines, but it’s especially hard for new mommies. Since moms are trained to prioritise everyone else’s needs in the family, they are too tired to do something for themselves. But, self-care isn’t a luxury. It is a necessity. Moms who neglect self-care can’t function well, thus, affecting the baby’s development and health.
How to practice self-care
There are many ways to practice self-care, but as a new mom, it is safe to start with small and simple steps:
- Build your village. Everyone (especially the grandmas and grandpas!) will be excited to meet your baby for the first few days. But after a while, it’s only natural for you to want a break and request some quiet time with your new family. Use this time to discover the twists and turns of motherhood. First, be familiar with your newborn and assess your capabilities and limits. Then, reach out to friends, neighbours, and families for help. Most of your loved ones will be extremely happy to help you out. Maybe a homemade dinner from your mom or a cup of coffee from a friend will save your sanity. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, so do not feel guilty about not doing everything yourself.
- Reclaim your daily routine. This can be difficult for the first few days, but you need to reclaim your day slowly. Give yourself some time just to be you. Revisit old hobbies like knitting, meditating, baking, sewing, and painting that you can do while your baby is napping instead of spending all the downtime trying to catch up with chores. Another way to reclaim your day is by adding a consistent skin-care routine which you can do before going to bed. Search for affordable and proven effective items, and visit websites like www.totalbodycare.co.uk to explore more choices. A quick shower can also replenish your mind and body. Talk to your partner about your plans so he can support you.
- Create your sanctuary. You are more likely to spend most of your time alone at home, mainly because of the pandemic surge. So instead of staying in the nursery the whole day, create a cosy corner or space instead. Find a spot with good airflow and natural light where you can relax with your baby. Decorate it with plants, a comfortable chair, and a unique rug to make it stand out. You can also choose a place near a fountain, fish tank, fireplace, or bird feeder since these elements help make you feel at ease.
- Educate yourself. Part of the stress that new moms experience comes from a lack of knowledge and enough experience. You might find yourself frantically searching google for remedies, explanations, and solutions to simple stuff like “Why is my newborn sneezing?” “Why is my baby blinking too fast?” “Is it normal for my baby to hiccup?” etc. You can attend classes or read tons of articles online but joining a support group is one of the simplest ways to cope with postpartum anxiety. Hearing other moms share the same experiences can help ease your worries. Gaining enough knowledge will slowly boost your confidence as a mom and the primary caretaker of your child. Once you are more confident about your capabilities, it will be easier for you to make informed choices for the benefit of your baby.
- Take care of your body. Your body goes through a lot from pregnancy to childbirth, so you have to give your postpartum body enough time to heal. You can’t get rid of the excess fats and stretch marks right away, but you can take care of your body in other ways. First, ensure that you eat enough nutritious food, especially if you breastfeed your baby. Stay hydrated, drink the prescribed amount of water and stay clear of soda and caffeine if you can. Also, try to catch up with sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your body to heal. This is extra difficult in the first few months, but you can try to sync in with your baby’s nap schedule to compensate for all the night feedings.
Parenting is not an easy job, and it’s normal to feel exhausted, sad, and angry sometimes. But, do not be too hard on yourself. Instead, focus on what is important: you, your partner, and your baby. Learn to celebrate small victories and the simple joys of motherhood. The tough days will not last forever, and your kids will eventually grow up. So, enjoy the hugs, snuggles, and kisses, and learn to love this new version of yourself.