Congratulations on this new beginning! Life as a party of two (or more) is the beginning of so much joy as well as some inevitable challenges, rather growing opportunities, along the way! May this information serve as a guidepost for new moms who are looking for a little support and validation while navigating this new beginning and new normal. As you’ll discover, life flows a little (or a lot) differently now that you are completely responsible for a beautiful human joy-bundle! For me, this new normal took some adjustment and here is a little of what I learned along the way.
1. RECEIVE THE LOVE YOU GIVE
As moms it is so easy to pour ourselves completely onto and into our child. It may even feel as if there is nothing else we’d rather do. I did this myself. I also lost myself in my child which I found was not serving the wellbeing of myself or my child. When we pour all of our love and energy out and onto another then we are not leaving room to receive the love being beamed back from that person. This leads to cutting off the energetic flow of receiving and filling our own cup/vessel. Our life becomes baby or other-centered which leads to imbalances that can manifest in a variety of ways.
Tip: When you are looking at your precious child and feeling your love flowing onto them. Balance this by pausing, take a breath to drop back into your body/heart and feel your child looking back at you. Feel the love from your child flowing to you, filling your heart with love, joy and happiness. Stay open to receiving in this way for several seconds or more. Aim to feel and receive this love coming to you from your sweet one at least 3 times a day!
2. MAKE TIME FOR YOU
As a new mom I found myself consumed with my child’s wellbeing so much so that it became my primary focus. I was continuously choosing my baby over participating in my usual activities or taking time away for myself. For me this manifested into postpartum anxiety (PPA), which I didn’t know was a postpartum condition so I wasn’t aware it was happening until I had a panic attack when my son was 10 months old. This was a blessing in disguise as it led me to take action in self care which had been completely depleted!
Tip: Seek child care support early on and create a schedule so you and your baby can adjust to a routine. No need to even leave the house, just extra hands and help so you can shower, rest, meal prep, or catch up on life. Whatever fills you up, give yourself permission to be and do you for a few minutes or hours at a time. Hired support in some ways can be easier as the boundaries and expectations are clearly agreed upon from the start. With family members, remember to clearly communicate when you need help verses a casual visit. Routine child care, hired or family/friend, allows your child the opportunity to connect with someone other than you which grows their social and emotional capacities. Additionally, making “you-time” a priority allows you to be available for other loved ones, spouses, friends, etc. Lastly, when you take time for yourself you are modeling to your child the importance for them to care for themselves too!
3. NOURISH YOURSELF
Regardless of your delivery your body has transformed. Birthing is a rite of passage, from maiden to mother, you begin anew. You are finding your legs as a mother and discovering what being a mom means to you. While navigating this new emotional and physical terrain, it is also important to replenish your body with the many nutrients you have selflessly given to your growing child and or continue to pass onto your breastfeeding child. For me, consulting with a naturopath was pivotal for rebalancing my hormones and restoring my health postpartum. In addition to working with a naturopath, I found great value in completing my 23 & Me genetic profile and receiving my raw DNA to discover some genetic variations that play a role in my overall health.
Tip: Consider receiving alternative healing modalities to support the body in the healing and transforming process (naturopath, acupuncture, chiropractor, massage, etc). Nourish the body with organic whole food nutrition, bone broth and filtered water while avoiding sugars, process foods and inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy. Move your body in a way that feels nourishing and not depleting. Perhaps yoga verses a marathon ;) Seek out a lactation consultant for any feeding, latching, tongue tie, mastitis or milk supply questions or concerns. Many lactation consultants and alternative healing modalities offer home visits and or phone/online consults.
4. IT TAKES A VILLAGE
The village’s of today may look different today than they may have in the past due to geographical reasons or otherwise. For many new moms, especially me, it can be a time of feeling a little in limbo. I went from having a carefree social life to functioning solely for another and this caused tension in my psyche. The freedom seeker in me felt trapped, despite my full commitment and love for our precious baby. My mom village contains my spouse and the traditional extended family on occasional visits, however I rely heavily on making new mom friends and tribe by joining mom and baby oriented groups. Feeling supported by our village of family, friends, and allies is key to our overall wellness, vitality and happiness.
Tip: Lean into the discomfort and vulnerability of making new friends. Keep the “perfection” armor at bay, open up and be authentic with your fellow mamas. Set the intention for meeting your local mom tribe. Participate in a variety of mom and baby classes and events, if you connect with another mama, jump on the opportunity and book a play date. Say yes to play date invites. Have fun and enjoy the journey!