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Self Care For New Moms: How I Gave Myself Time To Recover After Giving Birth
PHOTO BY @champlifezy@gmail.com/iStock
  • One of my most favorite, most memorable moments in my life was when I gave birth to our eldest son. He was such a beautiful baby, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I labored for 12 exhausting hours and barely slept after that.

    As soon as the baby was cleaned by the nurses, he was laid in an infant cot which was placed by my hospital bed soon after. Despite the medication that the doctor injected into my dextrose to make me sleep, I opened my eyes each time my baby stirred, and when he cried, I reached out to touch him to let him know mommy was near and that everything was going to be okay.

    Once your baby is born, your life will revolve around him, especially during the first year of his life. You’ll be feeding him, burping him, bathing him, changing his diapers, and helping him fall asleep. 

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    There’s a lot of talk about how new moms must not neglect themselves as they care for their newborns. Sleep is first on the list, then eating healthy and exercising regularly. Asking for help is also highly recommended, especially on your first week when you are still recovering from giving birth to that tiny human that now occupies the crib you set up weeks ago (and your heart). 

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    And that’s ideal, really. Moms do need to sleep and recover. We need to eat good food and exercise in some way to keep our bodies active.

    I’ve heard of two kinds of infants that were a handful to care for: Those with unusual sleeping patterns and the ones that cry when their moms put them down.  I’ve had three kids and my experience with my infants is that all they did was eat, pee and poo, and sleep. They slept at night and napped as much as 5 times during the day. They only cried when they were hungry, colicky, or needing their nappies changed. 

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    But even when I had it easier than other moms, I still needed to be reminded to look after my own health -- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

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    Physical Self-Care

    One of the wisest advice I’ve been given was to sleep when my baby slept. Although there were times when I was tempted to use the baby’s sleeping time to do some of the chores, when I was tired, I slept. When I was sleepy, I slept. 

    I remember joining the free Body Jam Dance Fitness at the mall twice a week and enjoyed it immensely. Not only was I able to slim down swiftly that year, it did me good to sweat out and spend time and talk to other people other than the baby. 

    I also cooked our meals and ate vegetables intentionally. I breastfed my baby and I was told that the nutrients of what I eat go directly to him. I’m also pretty sure that the food I ate contributed to the energy I needed to take care of him and do other things.

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    Mental Self-Care

    I kept our house tidy and organized, and my husband made efforts to keep it that way because having an uncluttered house relaxes me. It made me feel that I have a lot of time to do other things. I was able to read books, watch TV, or surf the internet.

    One of the things that helped me keep my sanity was having coffee with my husband at night when the baby was asleep. Sometimes, friends came over to visit and that was okay. There’s just something about talking to another adult that makes things better. 

    Spiritual Self-Care

    I think that what kept me really grounded was reading my Bible and meditating on it. Whenever my husband would leave in the morning and the baby was still asleep, I would sit by the window with my coffee, my Bible and a journal where I wrote my prayers to God. 

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    Have you heard of the phrase, prayer doesn’t change God, and it may not change your situation, but it changes you? In an article written by clinical psychologist, Barbara Markway, she said that one of the things that help people through anxiety and depression is spirituality. She said that it helps change the way you see things.

    That is exactly how it was and still is with me. When you’re a mother, your perspective in life changes and life becomes more than just you and your ambitions. But it can also bring you so much worry and anxiety. Meditating on God’s Word has gotten me through some of my toughest times as a new mother. I can say it also helped me through many hormonal and emotional breakdowns. 

    Being a new mom can get overwhelming at times, that is why you need to look after yourself. It doesn’t have to be exactly how others do it-- do whatever fits your tee. It’s important to stay healthy in all aspects not only for the sake of your baby, but for your own good as well. 

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