I believe my passion to connect and help mothers partly comes from a past experience from when I delivered my child and needed help (in this case it was a medical emergency), but the focus was solely on my child who was born early but healthy. No one discussed my condition (which was severe) or even knew how to treat it after delivery. I felt completely isolated, abandoned, and scared that I would die and no medical professional would notice or even care now that the baby was born.
It is absolutely right to honor and cherish children. However, in a society that seems so child-centered, we seem to also be notorious for disrespecting children and completely neglecting parents (mainly mothers) as individuals.
You are your best advocate and you need to accept and take your right to nourish and pamper yourself, especially after you become a parent.
Here are 10 ways to treat yourself after pregnancy
Take a bath
It sounds so simple, but this was the single most important thing I did the first year after my son was born. Even if it was midnight and the baby woke up 5 minutes after I got in, I still had those 5 minutes and they absolutely made a difference in my overall well-being.
- Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Bubble Bath, Relaxing Lavender
- Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath, Relaxing Lavender
Learn something new every day
Just one fact, word, or quote can make a huge difference when days seem overwhelming and repetitive. Expanding your vocabulary and other forms of memorization are great ways to build self-confidence and feel that you are building upon prior knowledge during a chaotic time.
- Quote Shakespeare
- Learn 100 Famous Quotes
- Expand your vocabulary with Word of the Day from dictionary.com
- Memorize Bible verses or religious/spiritual writings. (Side note: losing focus on your faith/meditation/spiritual walk once baby is born due to time constraints can harm your overall well-being. Do your best to keep it a priority if it was before you had children.)
- Learn a historical fact from “This day in history” (fun and relevant every day).
Have fun with audiobooks
These are magical. You can be folding clothes while baby naps in the Ergo, driving in the car, waiting for the tiny sleeper to wake up from a nap in the car or even breastfeeding/feeding (especially at bedtime), the audiobook is a fantastic way to fill those quiet moments when you can’t do anything but listen. I could even keep up with my book club thanks to this. The only drawback is that some of these audiobooks are pricey, so definitely check out your local library or Librivox.org first!
- Try an Audible.com membership. See how it works.
- Audiobooks.com charges a monthly membership fee that allows for unlimited books to be read. The downside? it doesn’t allow for the books to be downloaded.
- Get a record player and just listen to some music when taking a break from audiobooks. This is a good list with reviews.
- Try Podiobooks.com for free downloads of books from up-and-coming authors.
Create a daily ritual
Sometimes things or moments are special simply because you make them that way. Take pride in the small things and make it a ritual. For instance, find a special tea that you love and invest in some pretty tea mugs that you will enjoy. It doesn’t have to be drinks, but I happen to love tea and coffee so I am going to use that as an example.
Even when your kids get older this still holds true. Not long ago we were spending a ridiculous amount of money on Starbucks, but it was the one thing that was for me which I looked forward to every day. I figured out it was the ritual rather than the actual quality of the drink…actually, I’ll be honest…it was the whipped cream. So I made regular coffee at home, put it in one of my pretty mugs and bought organic whipped cream to top it off. It was way cheaper and still made me excited. Find a simple daily ritual that brings you joy, then do it!
- Try our favorite organic tea by BareTea. (Check out the whole leaf sachets and matcha.)
- Or this Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea…
- Our very favorite ethically harvested/fair trade coffee is Marley Coffee, Organic One Love, Ethiopian YirgaCheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, 8 Ounce. You can also try their K-Cups.
- This glass mug set is our favorite for tea and coffee.
Invest in sensory pleasures
With a new baby there is a good chance you are going to be spending a lot of time at home. You don’t have to live in a palace to make it feel special. Focus on your senses and what makes you feel good. Essential oils in a diffuser and cozy plush blankets around the house are great ways to make an average day feel special and decadent. If you’re pregnant, consider registering for some of these items at your baby shower instead of over registering for baby products you’re likely not to use.
- You can’t go wrong with a Barefoot Dreams throw or robe. They even make bedding.
- For a less expensive cozy option, check out a Berkshire Serasoft throw.
- I have this diffuser by Greenair Spa which isn’t the fanciest, but gets the job done.
- If you’re wanting to invest it something really special, try any of the diffusers from Puzhen. My friend has this one from their 5-sense series. Another unique diffuser from Puzhen is the Sprout diffuser from their nature series.
- We love Essential oils from Aura Cacia and Living Libations.
Jump at any opportunity to “get ready”
I was surprised to discover that by just washing my hair and putting a little mascara I could completely transform my outlook on the day. You probably won’t be able to get ready every day with an infant and that is okay! However, take advantage of moments when you’re able to escape and gussy up rather than spending that time doing something else.
- Check out this makeup tutorial showing you how to get ready in 5 minutes or less.
- Check out this easy makeup tutorial using all-natural/non-toxic products.
- Here are “Running Late Hairstyles“- These also work when you aren’t running late, but simply lack extra time!
Relieve yourself from the guilt of having a messy house, frumpy attire, and unwashed hair
I think the stress of feeling that these less than glamorous moments in your life are permanent (it sure feels that way at the time) is actually worse than the reality of the situation. You may feel gross in the moment, but remember that this time is fleeting. Let it go, it’s probably the only time in your life you’ll be able to slow down like this so just sit back and enjoy the ride. It goes by fast.
Ask for help!
Feeling the need to keep up a perfect house is much different than the true need to live in acceptable living conditions. Even the latter can be hard to manage with a newborn unless you allow for others to help you. It is okay to ask for and accept help! Even if it is just allowing someone to do your dishes, take out your trash, or vacuum your floor. Messy is a lot more acceptable to most of us when hygienic living conditions are under control. If you’re afraid to ask for help, ask yourself why. What is the worst that could happen? Someone will say no? Then ask someone else! But, I bet you most people will LOVE to help out. Especially feeding new moms…people seem to love cooking for others.
- Do it before you reach your breaking point!
- Read 5 mistaken beliefs about asking for help
Nap or do something completely unproductive when your baby sleeps
I remember everyone told me to nap when my baby napped but that was the last thing I wanted to do, even if I was tired. Some people just can’t sleep during the day, I guess. However, I think resting when your baby sleeps is an excellent idea. If you can’t actually fall asleep, that’s ok! Just turn on the TV or an audio book and jump into complete escapism. You are going through major life changes right now which can be both very exciting and a bit scary. Take a moment step back and truly take a break from it all.
- Get a Netflix subscription if you don’t already have one.
- The time to splurge on premium cable….is now.
Send one kind note, text, or fond memory to a loved one once a day
It is so hard to stay connected to the people you love and care about when you’re getting used to having a new life in your home. Most family and friends can and should understand, but sometimes it is hard on a mom when she feels that she has lost those connections during a new and uncertain time in life.
Take a moment out of the day to send a kind word to a friend. Don’t worry about responding right away if they write back, just send something to let them know that you value their friendship.
Something as simple as “Life is so hectic that I won’t be able to reply to a message back for awhile, but I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know I’m thinking about you” is a way to feel secure and connected with others, without feeling overwhelmed with responsibility. And a thoughtful two-word text to your partner or spouse during the day is a great way to remind one another that you haven’t forgotten about each other, even on days when life is so hectic that something as important as a meal can be easily forgotten.