For new moms, often their baby is the highlight of their day. And understandably so- smelling babies, interacting with them, getting that first smile, what’s not to love?
What people don’t tell new moms is how important it is to still maintain a sense of self that isn’t just about baby. Sounds selfish, right? No, it’s not at all! Moms often neglect themselves in the process of settling into their new role and it can leave them feeling a bit lost. It’s easy to forget who you are outside of your all-encompassing new role. If you’ve experienced something similar, a great first step to finding joy and authenticity in your new role is nourishing yourself.
Nourishing yourself is fundamental for wellbeing. The act of caring for yourself and actively constructing your new role to work for you is not going to take away from your relationships with your baby. In fact, it will only work to strengthen you and in turn, your relationships with anyone in your life. You can still give them all the love they need and you can give yourself the “oxygen mask” first that you need to help them every step of the way.
So how exactly do you go about nourishing you?
1. Find the support you need, and spend some time defining what that means so you know when you have found it.
Does it mean childcare you can rely on once a week, or work that fulfills you? Does it mean an old friend to commit to once a month, time with you to allow you to talk and not have to cover vaccination schedules as a topic? Be bold in asking for what you really desire in your heart. The all-or-none approach that may have worked for you prior to having kids may need to evolve so you can make room for baby and you.
2. Take as much care physically and mentally nourishing yourself as you do your baby.
Moms often research breastfeeding practices and nursery paint colours until they are cross-eyed, but don’t carve out the small amount of time to prepare very simple, nourishing foods for themselves. You deserve more than mac and cheese (although, who doesn’t love it sometimes!). Quick and healthy items you can grab make a big difference. Try mashing an avocado with garlic salt and lime then scoop up with crunchy sweet peppers, or sprinkle plain Greek yogurt with raspberries and agave.
Outside of food, you can nourish your memory by looking through old photos of yourself on vacation or with friends. Look at something that reconstructs you in a solid and positive image. Or maybe indulge in your favourite movie, book or anything that makes you feel more like you. Taking a break from kids music or lullabies is a great things sometimes.
3. You have a new role, which can mean growth and change. Own what that means for you.
Bring something that lights you up into this new role. Take the time to find out what it is and follow your heart and live it deeply. What has the passion of motherhood brought out in you? A passion for humanity, the arts, cooking, deep laughter with close friends, a quiet cuddle with your partner or a new love for alone time? For me, a postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction and a heartfelt journey into motherhood led me to deepening my Pilates teaching practice and developing a health coaching practice. What has pushed you to the limit or expanded what you thought you could do?
You may find that certain things that interested you before having kids or that you thought of, as “you” aren’t a great fit anymore. That’s to be expected. Allow yourself the time and space to find new passions. Simply having an intention to take this unique time to explore your new role and take exceptional care of yourself will set you up for a more pleasurable time taking care of baby, and yourself, for years to come.