Your needs as a human being do not cease when you become a parent. You still must breathe, eat, sleep, and relax. Many moms get so caught up in taking care of their babies, children, partners, and pets, that they forget to put themselves in the line-up. There is a limit to how long you can ignore or neglect your own needs before you begin to slowly breakdown.
Early signs are irritability, resentment, stress and weepiness...followed by guilt for all of these symptoms. Infections, breastfeeding complications (blocked ducts, mastitis, low supply), illness, forgetfulness and being accident-prone are further indications of neglect. Unchecked, these can escalate to more serious health issues like depression, anxiety and worse.
But, here's the really crappy part: Our children, the ones we are sacrificing all this for, are the ones who pay the price. They cannot understand the intricate trap our culture has created for so many moms. Essentially, the prevailing message is a good mom is a good martyr. One who successfully suspends all her needs while cheerfully tending to everyone else, indefinitely....But how can you pour from an empty cup?
In other times and places the grandparents and extended family live nearby and naturally help share the responsibilities of child care and housework. But, most of the families I know don't have family who can help--their parents are either still working, live far away, aren't in good health, or the relationship is.....tense. (or at least, not conducive to asking or offering the help that's needed!)
So, this February, I'm extending a special love offering for all the mamas. Let me help fill your cup. Whether you need some sleep, some time alone, a break from the unending meal/bath/laundry grind, or some space to do whatever brings you joy, I would love to help you, (Or if you want to give it as a gift for your friend, partner, or sister, etc.)
Let's sow the seeds of a new ideal in mothering: balanced health. One where we express our needs, and take action to meet them. Let's choose to feel good about setting a more holistic model of self care for our children and the next generation of mothers.
To give yourself or someone you love the Fill Your Cup Gift, click here. If you have any questions, please message or call me.
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.