Even though I’m past the early stages of postpartum haze, I fully remember how exhausting the newborn stage can be. And how difficult it is to find your sense of self when you’re wrapped up in being a mama. During my third trimester I kept saying, “I can’t wait to get back body back!” but since I had a c-section it took me much longer to really recover.
Something I really wish I had when I was recovering in that first month was a way to gently remind myself to do little things for myself each and every day. Since the days were blending together I couldn’t remember if I had even brushed my teeth or not!
Ivy has been the greatest blessing to me and my family, but the first few months with her were hard. I was recovering from a C-section and struggling with postpartum depression. While my husband was incredible and his family was nearby, my family had to fly back and forth from California to help so I was missing my mom constantly.
Needless to say, I was a mess those first few months. But, as all new moms do, I had to learn how to adapt. I had to learn how to put my oxygen mask on first, so that I could be there for myself, my husband and my daughter. Here are a few ways that I coped:
Saying a Daily Mantra
For me, a daily mantra was the first step. You know how motivational speakers tell you to make your bed first thing for a boost of accomplishment? I needed that, but with even less work. After being up all night nursing, I was groggy and down in the morning. Choosing a positive affirmation to say aloud as I forced myself out of bed made me feel like I was starting the day off with the right intentions and in the right headspace.
Talking to an Adult
There would be days when it felt like it was just me and Ivy. I did my best to keep myself entertained or up to date with the latest and greatest, but there’s a big difference between reading the NY Times and scrolling through Twitter versus actually talking to an adult human being. Someone who wants to have a legitimate conversation with me. I would call my mom, my cousins, my friends, just to be able to have some “adult” discussions. It sounds silly, but when you’re 5 days in and have only asked your husband what he wants for dinner, you start to get incredibly lonely!
Changing My Clothes
I started this blog because I wanted to share my love for all things beauty, girly and pink. Style was always a way I expressed myself, but as a new mom, a vomit-free pair of sweatpants was the height of fashion. Changing out of pajamas and into other pajamas might have been a little silly, but it helped lift my mood and keep me moving forward on difficult days.
20 Minutes of Alone Time
As I said, my post-partum self-care routine really became all about putting my oxygen mask on first. I found that prioritizing a quiet break for myself every day was essential for keeping things together during the more chaotic motherhood moments. When Mike would come home I would hand him the baby and just take 20 minutes to myself. 20 minutes of no one needing anything from me: no milk, no diapers, no cooking dinner, nothing. 20 minutes of no one touching me, no one asking me for anything, etc. Again, it sounds silly now that I’m so far away from this time period, but at the time it was a daily must-have.
It’s so important to be kind and gentle with yourself when you’re a new mom. Our expectations for ourselves are so high, and the adjustment is intense. That’s why I put my go-to self care tasks together to create my Post Partum Self Care Checklist. It’s available in my Etsy store, but I’m offering it for free to you! Hang this on your mirror, above the changing table, or near your dresser.
The days blend together when you’re up all night with your little one, so hang this printable near your nightstand or on your bathroom mirror to remind you to take care of yourself.
Here’s to vomit-free sweats and getting through it! You got this, mama.
Top image by Belle Augusta