Oh, I remember those days after giving birth. I was so tired all of the time and I wondered if I would always feel that way. People in my life didn’t help ease my concern. They loved to tell me how I was never going to sleep again! I was going to be awake all of the time! And tired all of the time! It’s true that life with a newborn baby will be stressful and that you won’t be able to sleep like you did pre-baby, but it’s not the end of the world. There will be times of exhaustion and there may be nights where you ask yourself “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!” But there will also be moments of pure bliss and joy. The key is to remember to take care of you.
I may not be an Expert on Life, but I have experienced giving birth and raising three children. I can absolutely give you some advice on things you can do to keep your sanity as a new mom.
- Don’t forget to eat. And eat well. That may sound kind of dumb, but trust me when I say it’s easy to forget to eat when you have a new little person to take care of. You’re so busy feeding the baby, rocking the baby, changing the baby, staring at and kissing the baby, that skipping a meal or three can happen. It’s very important for your physical and mental well-being that you keep your body fueled properly. Stay away from simple sugars and make your meals/snacks count. Cut up fruits and veggies the night before and keep them in a plastic container in the fridge. Learn to love your slowcooker (crockpot); it can be your very best friend. Keep items on hand to make smoothies (yogurt, frozen fruit such as berries or mangos, soy or coconut milk). Just be sure you’re eating well and not skipping meals. Oh, and don’t forget to take a good multivitamin every day.
- Get some fresh air every day. If the weather permits, put the baby in the stroller and go for a walk around the block. If you’re not in the mood to walk, sit in the shade and just enjoy the fresh air. It’s just nice to get out for a bit and feel the air on your skin. Just try to make a little time each day to get outside. It’s amazing what a little sunshine and fresh air can do for your mood.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. I had a hard time with this one. When the baby would sleep during the day, I wanted to use that time to get things done, like laundry or dishes. My mom would get so mad. “You need to be resting!” But how could I rest when there was so! much! work! to! do!? Here’s the thing: The work can wait. You have to accept that things won’t always get done when you have a little one in the house, and that’s okay. The house doesn’t have to be perfect. Accept help when it’s offered. Accepting help isn’t easy for me, and maybe you’re the same way. If there’s ever a time to let go and let others help, this is that time. If someone you trust offers to help, accept it. Say yes. Let them cook you meals or help clean the house, or watch the baby while you take a shower or take a nap. You’ll never regret saying yes to help. Trust me.
- Lastly, be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can do. Let go of the idea of perfection. Don’t get down on yourself on the days when things get overwhelming. If things get too overwhelming, talk to someone and don’t be ashamed. Do something nice for yourself when you can. Go get a pedicure, book that facial you’ve been wanting, go get a massage. Or buy yourself some new makeup. Love on that baby, but don’t forget to love yourself. You can do this. You will get through this
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