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If you find that it’s nearly impossible to have some time for yourself after the baby arrived, you’re not alone; most mothers feel the same. It’s easy to be sacrificial so you can give your baby the best care possible. However it’s only by taking good care of yourself that you can give the best to your child; otherwise, it would be similar to running a marathon with weights attached to your legs.
How to Take Care of Yourself Post Delivery?
Taking some time every day for self-care helps you relax, be less irritable and respond to your child better-it can even protect you from postpartum depression. Here are ten after pregnancy care tips that you’ll find useful.
1. Start by Looking After Yourself Physically
Your body would have exhausted many of its vital nutrients and you will need to start rebuilding the reserves. Eat nutritious food every day filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and proteins. Exercise by taking walks only and nothing strenuous. Rest whenever you can.
2. Express All Your Feelings, Be It Negative or Positive
The hormonal changes post-delivery can be one heck of a rollercoaster ride, therefore, you shouldn’t be worried if you often feel stressed or have negative feelings. It will pass in a few weeks and meanwhile, express it to your partner or parents for comfort.
3. Focus on Thinking Positively As Much As You Can
Find ways to feel happy about the things around you and count your blessings every day. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many great things there are in your life that are working in your favour.
4. Take Breaks
Take breaks now and then while you entrust the care of your child to a close family member. Take time off with your partner or alone to unwind and relax. No job can be done continuously without breaks.
5. Do Not Have Unrealistic Expectations of Yourself
Remember that nobody can do everything all by themselves, there will be times that will remind you of your limits. Therefore set realistic goals that are achievable whether it is getting things in order, dealing with your emotions or losing your pregnancy weight.
6. Build a Sense of Humour
Try and see the funny side of things and laugh about it, especially about yourself. Looking at things without an exaggerated emotional reaction is a skill that’s needed to navigate stressful circumstances.
7. Build Some Structure into Your Day by Making a Plan
Keep it flexible and have a rough estimation of how much time you will put into each task and stick to it. Don’t fret if you are unable to stick to your plan and unexpected things bring in changes. The idea is to have a structure in the first place.
8. Don’t Make Major Life Decisions
Postpone any other major life changes such as moving to a new place, taking up a new job or planning for a second baby. You will need time to settle into your role as a mother before the rest of the pieces can fall into place.
9. Join a Parent Group
Network with other new parents and ensure you meet them regularly to discuss your concerns. You may find that many would have gone through similar experiences as yours and might give you insights or ideas you may not have had.
10. Have a Support System to Help You Out Immediately after Childbirth
You could ask your mother to move in with you for a while or hire a midwife who offers postnatal care services to help you out on a daily basis. Ask for her assistance in bathing and massages that will help you recover sooner.
Why Is It Often So Difficult to Put Yourself First?
Self-care is seldom taught to us as we grow up and it’s easy to assume that prioritizing our own feelings would interfere with our duties toward our family. Here are some common thoughts that get in the way of self-care:
- The demands of other people take precedence over my needs.
- It’s the role of the women in the family to take care of the others and that’s what I should do.
- I do not have the time for other activities than caring for my infant and family.
- Focusing on myself and what I enjoy is selfish.
- I do not deserve time to engage in activities that I find interesting or fun.
- I fear I’m not good enough and other people might not like me or get upset with me.
- I never saw my mother do anything for herself and neither should I.
- Good women always put other people first.
- Things must be done in the “right” way, even if it consumes all my time.
- I don’t need to do this to remain healthy.
Tips to Reprogram Your Self Talk
An effective way to beat self-defeating beliefs is to affirm the opposite, positive phrases to yourself every day. Here are some of the ideas you need to fill up in your mind to help you with self-care:
- Twice a day, lie down in a quiet place and completely relax your body and mind. With your eyes closed practice relaxing, deep breaths that help you get into a calm and relaxed state of mind and body. With every slow breath, repeat a mantra such as “My self-care benefits my baby”.
- To better help this idea sink into your mind, try using a powerful image in your imagination which reinforces it. Think of your idea of self-care filling up your mind like water filling up a pitcher or recharging a battery. Imagine that as you repeat your phrase.
- Every time a counterproductive thought pops up into your mind that says your self-care is not important and everything else comes first, try this exercise to beat it. It would seem silly at first, but it works wonderfully with practice.
Although after-delivery care can seem like a daunting task for a mother, with proper help and support a new mother can recuperate quickly from childbirth. Maintaining good health and taking care of your emotional well being is essential to postnatal care.