What is it they say on a flight? Put your own oxygen mask on first otherwise you’re no use to anyone. During pregnancy and more importantly once you’ve had you baby, its just as vital.
Parenthood, especially the shiny new kind, is challenging and tiring at the best of times. Honestly, sometimes it’s super crap. But remember, as a new mother: you just gave birth; your body has worked incredibly hard during your labour or caesarean birth; your sleep will be drastically shortened; and if you’re breastfeeding, you are sustaining life.
To meet your baby’s needs, you need to meet your own first so ensure that you are recovering and recharging; recovering from the birth and recharging your body to nurture your baby.
Recovering from the physical toll that pregnancy and childbirth takes on your body is a priority for the first few weeks. Your body has levels of reserves verging on the superhuman in the postpartum period and it can feel somewhat grim - and take real focus - to cope with exhaustion and baby cares whilst your body heals.
If prioritising yourself seems selfish now you have a new human to care for, rest assured, this is not about you pampering yourself – this is maintenance checks before the plane can fly type stuff. Learning how to build in time for yourself will only enhance your power to parent.
- It is OK to feel like crap, but you need as a minimum to be able to get up and dressed and take care of your basic hygiene needs and those of your newborn. If that is not you, talk to someone about how you are feeling.
- Adopt a siege mentality – stay home, lock the doors and live off rations or supplies in your freezer or, better still, get friends and family to drop off some home cooked meals.
- Use your ‘inner circle’ of friends and family – having 1 hour per day to recharge and boost your recovery super charges you. Factor in a regular session of people coming in to help in the house and, if it works for you, to take the baby whilst you just rest, breathe, lie down and snooze, go for a walk or do some yoga.
- Take any supplements you have left over from pregnancy or buy in some biome-boosting postnatal supplements and eat well – the carbs are the easy option when you are tired but try not to live on toast (easier said than done).
- Condolences to your minimalist Japandi room layout, but babies require a fair bit of clobber and equipment, and tired parents need a comfortable spot to sit in! Declutter your home where you can and leave room for a recliner chair or armchair with a footstool – rest up as much as you can.
- Your individual needs can vary greatly depending on the type of labour or birth you had – you be you. Birth recovery is not a competition, so take all the time you need and relate and connect to your baby. Don’t be tempted to let yourself be swayed by pseudo-science and social media posts telling you how to parent - you have got this!