Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Mothers make sacrifices. We dedicate ourselves to our children. We dedicate our bodies to our families.
Pregnancy is hard. We suffer stomach upset, nausea, mood swings, and extreme fatigue. We grapple with weight gain and juggle society’s contradictions demanding women be thin and sexy all the time; even when old, even when pregnant.
Our feet swell, our backs ache, our arms go numb from sleeping on our sides at night. We waddle through our day as mothers and employees, exhausted.
We demand productivity of ourselves that would parallel a non-pregnant male. Society doesn’t offer us a break. We don’t offer ourselves a break. We try to keep up.
Birth is hard. We power through contractions. We steady our minds. We grab our partner’s hand. Sometimes birth goes as planned and we are grateful. Sometimes we barely survive, and we are grateful.
Postpartum is hard. We wear our scars of birth on our stomachs and along our perineums. We can’t sit for a while. We can barely get out of bed. We don’t sleep. Pooping is scary. Sex is scary. We watch and wait for our bodies to heal, wondering what healing will look like.
Breastfeeding is hard. We struggle with the “shoulds” of feeding our babies. We try to figure out if the baby is hungry or tired. The latching hurts. We wake up covered in milk. We panic because there’s not enough milk. We wake up with breast pain and chills. We don’t know who to call. We don’t know what medicine to take. Everything we do affects our precious one.
Take a breath.
You have been through so much.
It’s time that YOU recognize it.
Acknowledge to yourself your extreme achievement. You created a human, and it’s time for some self care.
I want to offer a new perspective on self care. One that does not include wine, face masks, pedicures and spa days (although I support all of those all the time.)
No, self care is not lathering mud on your face for smoother skin. Self care is so much deeper than that.
I want to offer that self care means being able to recognize your achievements and worth. Self care is appreciating yourself and treating yourself how you deserve.
Although it is my firm belief that women are not recognized or compensated nearly enough for their contributions to society, self care does not mean demanding your spouse or employer acknowledge your struggles and praise you.
It means you acknowledge your struggles and praise your accomplishments. It means you change the narrative your brain from:
“Every woman does this. My friend bounced back so quickly. Look at her. She had an amazing birth and I failed at birth. I should be thinner. I should be making money from my couch. I bet my baby would sleep more if I was a better mom.”
To something like: “I appreciate myself and the hard work of my body. I am healing. I have made a tremendous accomplishment. Because of my work, I have a baby that I get to love every single day, and loving my baby feels amazing.”
Self care also means investing in the healing that really matters. This means seeking the HEALTH CARE that you need to feel your best.
So many mamas put their own health on the back-burner because they feel that they need to focus their resources on their family.
But I encourage you to challenge that belief. What if you can do both? Knowing you are putting yourself as a priority feels amazing and energizing.
What if I told you that there are plenty of moms that care for their families AND themselves? And you
know what, caring for yourself is actually caring for your family.
Because if you are healthy and feeling your best, you can offer so much more to your family.
I challenge you today to make the investment in yourself and start your healing process.
When you honor your need to be healthy, you are honoring your family’s need to have a healthy mom. When you prioritize your health, you are making an investment in your family’s well being.
Take the first step today by examining what self care you really need. Is it changing the narrative of your self talk? Is it investing in your health?
Usually, it’s both.
You got this mamma.