Giving birth can be the most exhilarating, emotional and life changing event ever. It can also be exhausting, traumatic and disappointing.
If you’re feeling vulnerable after birth, it’s totally normal. You have been through nine months of physical and emotional change and the post partum period is yet another adjustment.
Unfortunately, all the focus is on the baby and you as the mother can be unintentionally neglected. When I speak to women during this time I like to remind them that it’s time to pay attention to our most basic needs.
Help! I’m so tired!
It’s no surprise you are tired when caring for a baby around the clock. Please take your mother (or mother in law’s) advice and sleep when the baby sleeps at least once a day. Yes, there are chores that need to be done but they can be done by someone else OR wait till later.
The other option is simply going to bed earlier so compensate for broken sleep. Again, that may mean you miss out on something else you wanted to do but think how much better you will feel after sleeping a bit more.
Who’s making dinner?
In my community, a new mother will often receive several weeks worth of meals from neighbours, friends and shul members. Eating well after birth is so important. Your body is recovering from pregnancy and labour and you may be breastfeeding. Either way your body needs as many nutrients, vitamins and minerals as possible. Popping a prenatal is not going to make up for the shortfall.
My quick tips for eating better with limited time:
- When you do cook, make double portions and freeze
- If you have older children and you’re making them food to take to school, make some for yourself at the same time.
- Do a bit of food preparation in the evening when someone else is around to help with the baby
- Turn last night’s dinner into today’s lunch for you.
Accepting and asking for help
It’s so deeply ingrained into our psyche to be strong and to help others that being in that vulnerable position of accepting help and especially asking for help feels really hard.
I like to think of it as give and take. There are times in our life when we are the givers and times when we are the takers. And that is 100% okay. That is the circle of life. When we accept help, we are also giving the other person the chance to do a good deed.
Learning to ask for help when we need it shows maturity, humility and is actually excellent role modelling for our children. We want them to ask and receive the help they need so we need to show them we can do the same. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I love helping women navigate the adjustment to caring for a new baby by focusing on their physical and emotional needs. I use a combination of massage and reflexology to support their body return to a new normal. Because we’re never exactly as we were before a pregnancy. And that’s okay.
The tight shoulders from breastfeeding in strange positions or holding your baby for a long time and all the changes your womb is going through following 9 months of pregnancy and birth can be relieved with gentle nurturing massage and reflexology.
I especially love it when a client who I treated during pregnancy arrives with her baby.