I’m sure you can trawl the internet and find a million posts out there about looking after you post baby (or in general!). So this is post number one million and one. Because I care.
Time for you
This old cliche.
You have just given new life into this world. Fucking high 5 to you! You are a powerful, wonderful, awe inspiring woman! So give yourself a break, both physically and mentally.
Expecting to bounce back to prebaby shape within the month? Expecting to get 10hours uninterrupted shut eye per night? Expecting to flit around being life of the party, passing around your bundle of joy to everyone? Expecting to have a beautifully clean and tidy house, with fresh cookies baked every day, birds chirping through the window singing lullabies to baby while you prepare a hot meal for hubby then ready for some ‘Netflix and chill’ after?
All the above are what I expected. All of the above did not manifest. All of the above placed pressure on me and made me anxious that I wasn’t fitting the ridiculous made up expectations. I slowly realised that ridiculous expectations are not good for ones mental health.
Let. It. Go. You are goddess and you deserve to be cherished, pampered and have no pressures placed on you.
Do something for you. Take a loooong hot shower. Baby will be ok sleeping for 15 minutes!
Go to the supermarket on your own and wander aimlessly.
Take a drive with the music cranked up, windows down.
Do your nails.
Go to the hairdressers (or get someone in to your home) and let them just wash your hair. God that feels good. Orgasmic.
Get a box ready of nourishing snacks and sit it next to where you nurse bubs. Get the remote, feet up and chill with bubba.
Yourself and exercise
Be gentle on yourself body wise. Give it time to heal before getting into exercise postpartum. I wish I had listened to those around me (physios, chiropractors, friends, family) who said this.
I’d heard it multiple times. Ease into it. Otherwise you can do more damage physically to your precious body than before. Did you know your body still has the relaxin hormones 6 months AFTER stopping breastfeeding that can make your body more susceptible to injuries? And the hormone relaxin is still coursing through your body up to a year after giving birth?! Meaning your joints and ligaments are under HUGE pressure, especially if you run or do high impact joint activities.
I learnt the hard way. My ankle is screwed from playing competitive netball just 6 months after birth with Lily. I won’t play again. I’m still having issues with it and will continue to see a physio. Next step is surgery. Guttered. But my body wasn’t ready! Yet I didn’t listen to all the niggles. It was in fact the most injury riddled season I had ever had; shoulder injuries, fingers, back injury, calf injury. And my main story is just an ankle!
Many women go through enlarged and damaged Diastis recti issues due to exercise not suited to your new body. Prolapsed uterus can be exaserpated with exercise, particularly with running. Posture problems, joint issues, not to mention the ‘pee when you cough’ issue. Not trying to be a debbie downer here, I would like those reading to be aware. Cause I freaking care! These CAN be remedied with proper care of yourself, time and if need to, work with professionals for some help. (*I rant about this often as this is the field I want to study in – working with pregnant and postpartum mums and their SAFE exercise needs).
Your not just a mother. You are a human who needs something other than your family to focus on once in a while. Find something. Do something you used to do pre baby. Or do something with the fam, if that makes you have your own mental break Maybe not hit up the old raving scene, popping pills, fluro wearing sweatyness. Or whateves. But find or do something you enjoy. And stick at it. Maybe it’s being the best candycrush player ever. Maybe it’s losing yourself in a good book or hitting up the gossip magazines every week. Maybe it’s collecting teapots. Maybe it’s baking or cooking up a storm. Or stripping off your clothes and dancing naked every full moon…wait, whatttt….?
I found Zumba. I guess a substitute for the old raving scene? It makes me happy, it takes me away from home (I bloody love my home, I’m not abandoning them) and into a place of fun, sweat, looseness. Free from poopy naps and grabby hands. For 2 hours a week.
Many friends sew, do craft, import things, bake, start new hobbies, brew, smash stuff on their xbox. And they thrive! Cause it’s theirs for 1 hour a week or what ever. Too busy? Schedule it in. Too busy to have your own mental break? Please. It will be a mental break soon. I know.
Support to vent
Find support in some shape or form. So you can vent, cry to, laugh with all that’s going on with yourself. I’ve found this, writing *cough ramblings* helpful. Not everything I write at 3am is published, I’ve got about 10 drafts of rantings and ravings stored up. But it helps.
That and wine. And humans, they are pretty bloody valuable too.
Sometimes social media can be a blessing but sometimes, a curse. Realise what gets put out there by others is not always the perfection you may so crave.
And really, super, try not to compare yourself and your life with others. It’s tough, but it’s also very easy to get suckered into the prettiness of social media #flatlays #blesssed. I know cause I do it, and often need to deconnect from it in order for myself to not get down or angry about shit I see. And if my focus is on that, it’s not on myself or my family. And that’s not reality.
As hard as it is to realise, your focus is you. Number uno. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Recharge you, be kind on you and then the rest will follow. And know your signs of deflation! Let others know too, so they can help out. I seem to get (sorry, medical history of Jess coming up) mouth ulcers, coldsores and tummy bugs/flu when I get run down and I look back when I get them and always say ‘huh, I must be run down’. Hindsight.
Know what they, step back and assess. Cause we need you! The world, your loved ones, friends need and want you.
Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.