I always enjoyed a challenge. Loved to find the edge and see how far past it I could go. Unfortunately, this was also how I dealt with self-care. Internally, it was a badge of honor that I could get by with so little. (Now, as I actually type the words it seems INSANE, but this was how I lived for most of my life.)
In my Postpartum Doula work it was clear that moms who took better care of themselves had better healing and adjustment. The moms who had the best postpartums were the moms who knew what they needed, voiced their needs, and took action to meet those needs. By the time I had my third, I was able to be one of those moms. I stayed in my room for almost 3 weeks. For the first time, I did NOT get mastitis or other infections. I actually felt like normal self--not like a refugee on the brink of survival. (which, by the way, is absolutely how I felt for MONTHS after my first two births)
It took me longer to fully understand my resistance to self-care....But I fully embrace it now! When I catch myself being impatient or cranky, it's almost always because I skipped some basic need. i.e. being tired, literally not eating when I should, etc. It's much easier to take care of the need or make a plan to do it soon than to battle the internal shame spiral!
It's exciting to see self-care becoming more prominent in the world of motherhood....Yet, this ideal of martyrdom lurks in our subconscious programing. When I feel it creeping in, I think about the oxygen mask on planes....Take care of yourself first, so that you're actually ALIVE to help others.
Do you think moms get the message to take care of themselves?
Do you feel like you should be able to do it all by yourself?
Does asking for help feel like a vulnerability to you?
What do you do to take care of yourself?
What fills your cup?
Please share your experiences and thoughts. I want to see mothers flourish at every stage. I doubt I'm the only one with these self-sabotaging tendencies.
Photo By: Megan Gray Photography
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.