Self-care for Postpartum Moms
During pregnancy, there is a huge focus on getting things prepared for when your baby arrives. You research the baby gear, stock up on diapers, wipes, and little tiny cotton onesies. You look into daycare, line up grandparents, and schedule work from home days that will allow you to type while simultaneously juggling breastfeeding and gross diapers. You do everything in your power to ensure that your baby will have everyone and everything they need all set up and ready to go from day one.
But let me ask you this, mom—what have you set up for yourself?
Have you planned down time, self-care, or found a support group? If I could impart any wisdom on you, or provide you with any little suggestion, I would ask you to schedule time for yourself from day one.
I challenge you to break away from the mentality that we as mothers shouldn’t put ourselves first.
Whether that means a yoga class every week, a solo date for coffee once a month, or 15 minutes in your closet with a cup of tea and a meditation podcast, I double-dog dare you to schedule time for yourself. I promise, you won’t regret it.
You will see the benefits of finding time to think and process, or just check out for a few. And you will teach your kids and all the mothers around you that self-care is not selfish. It is important, essential, and healthy way to recharge yourself so that you feel good about all that you do for the people around you.
How can new moms find time for themselves?
Plan ahead. Even if the idea of leaving your baby doesn’t sound appealing yet, schedule something so you can practice. It will get easier, and one day it will even start to feel good. And if nobody can watch your little nugget for another six weeks, so what! Schedule it, because when that date comes around in 42 days… you’ll be ready, I promise.
Who watches the baby while you take time for yourself?
Find a babysitter you can use for self-care time. Not someone you necessarily rely on for regular childcare, but maybe an uncle or a neighbor. In my case, I use the 15-year-old down the street that needs to learn some responsibility, but also has her mom on speed dial. Learning to trust people to take care of your kid will give you freedom and reduce your anxiety surrounding the idea that only you can do it right.
Who can new moms socialize with?
Connect with other mothers because they know how you feel and they need you just as much as you need them. Sign up for breastfeeding class. (South Shore Hospital hosts a free breastfeeding support group three times a week for all new moms.) Consider a local postpartum support group. Make a plan to attend one a week just to get out of the house and into the groove of socializing with people who you can relate to.
If it’s not your first baby, it’s possible that you’re looking to connect with other moms with a non-baby-centric focus. That’s great too! Find an old friend, make a new friend, ask a neighbor (or perhaps a coworker you genuinely like) to meet up. See if they want to go for a walk with you, join a class, or meet up for a glass of wine in 42 days. Whatever it is you think you need, make it a priority and commit to making it happen.