Self love + newborns
I recall the newborn days like they were yesterday albeit almost 2.5 years ago now. The newborn fog didn’t hit me until a few weeks in. Mostly because our little man spent several weeks in the special care nursery and me alone in my hospital room recovering from an emergency c-section.
Sadly, I don’t reflect on those moments fondly. Being separated from my baby within minutes of him arriving earth side. And leaving hospital without him several days later. Once he arrived home things weren’t much rosier. Being 6 weeks early he suffered chronic reflux disease (common for preemies) and within 12 weeks he was on medication. My recovery was slow and tedious and after a high risk pregnancy I was left with post traumatic stress. If there was ever a time to practice self love, this was it.
During pregnancy I had a strong self care practice. Regular yoga classes, meditation, remedial massage, osteopathy, coffee with friends, catch up’s with family, walks on the beach…..all the things that soothed my soul and kept me aligned. I remember saying to friends that I’m so passionate about self care there’s no way I’d let that go once becoming a mama.
Guess the joke was on me because as soon as our little man arrive, self care flew out the window.
And the sad thing is, I know I’m not alone in that. Most mothers experience similar emotions as we pour our heart & soul into caring for our newborn baby.
Why do we as mothers believe that just because we’ve had a baby we should forgo time for self? I believe that the very fact that we’ve just had a baby means we deserve to have even more time for self. Yep, I said it. As mums, we deserve more time for self.
To thrive as a new mother, I strongly believe we need regular time to practice self care & love. It might look different to what it did pre baby, but the intention is the same. Fill our cup up to allow the overflow to nourish our baby.
Unfortunately I didn’t do any of the above, but I wish I had. And my wish for new mothers everywhere is that they can learn from the mistakes of mothers gone before them and make the newborn days some of the most enjoyable and memorable of their lives.
Here are my 5 ways to create self love ritual with a newborn
Quick note: Believe me when I say I understand the sleep deprivation of a newborn. I averaged 3 hours of sleep per night for the first 12 months and even now average around 5 hours. Despite that, I still think it’s possible to prioritise self care even if it’s a 5-min practice.
(1) Get creative
What nourishes your inner artist? Is it writing, painting, drawing, music, craft, cooking, gardening, colouring. Whatever it is, a creative outlet is soul serving. And it doesn’t even matter if you think your not good at it. As long as you enjoy it and it’s unrelated to you caring for your newborn baby it’s served it’s purpose. Getting creative will decrease stress, improve brain function and mood. I dove into adult mindfulness colouring books. It gave me an opportunity to switch off and focus on nothing but colouring inside the lines!
(2) Get social
A healthy social life is crucial to our wellbeing. Yet, as new mothers we often find ourselves bunkered down at home in survival mode. I made it out for a few coffees and lunches but I wish I’d gone out a lot more. Even if it was on my own sitting at a cafe breathing in the fresh air and letting mother nature do her thing. There were plenty of opportunities, I chose not to take them but you can say yes.
(3) Stay active
Daily walks with the pram and puppy in tow was my go to morning and evening ritual. Getting out of the house and into the fresh air was the perfect medicine for tired eyes and a weary body. Don’t worry about how long you’re active for, just that you’re active.
(4) Get out into nature
Take your shoes off and walk on the grass at the park to get grounded. Feel the sand between your toes at the beach & soothing sounds of the water. Or simply breathe in the air and focus on the breath as it makes its way down into your lungs. Mother nature is a powerful healer for mind, body & spirit.
Spending alone time with our partner is a must! It took me 2 years to realise just how important this one is. We need them to be our rock in the newborn days, an anchor point to remind us of what an amazing job we are doing as a family and the more loved-up we can stay (like we were pre-baby days :)), the stronger our relationship will be during this time, and in the future. Dads play a huge role and can often be forgotten about as the focus shifts to baby and mama. Let’s remember Dad just had a baby too and as a family unit you all deserve some self care time.
So there you have it, my 5 ways to create self love practices with a newborn.
It’s important to write about this topic because I truly want to change this idea that we need to ‘survive’ these early days/years and instead consider how we can create ritual and room in our schedule to thrive.