Updated: Jan 22, 2021
As I mentioned in my post, after giving birth to my beautiful son, my objectives were to get back my physical shape and health, follow a healthy diet and find the way to not to go crazy while I am learning how to be a new mum and I am locked down into our apartment with zero visitors from the external world due to COVID, all this with a two months old baby boy.
To be able to work on these areas, I needed to tidy my head first. I was the happiest in my life with having my son and my family, but I felt at the same time so many negative emotions I never knew those all exist, I was confused, insecure, angry, frustrated and lonely, just to mention a couple of those. I wanted to work on my mental wellbeing and find my balance again, and all these experiences and my coaching background led me to put together my package for mums to get fit and healthy inside and outside again. I worked on the below domains and used different coaching techniques on myself to master all the areas and establish good habits and make the changes long lasting.
Have realistic expectations. This relates to the sleeping topic but to many others as well. Don’t expect your baby to sleep through the night, babies just don’t used to do it. Of course everyone has friends and family who states that their children slept well always but that is either exception or urban legend. Also, don’t expect your body to recover in a couple of weeks when it took 9 months to carry your baby, it might take approximately the same time to recover. Having unrealistic expectations in life leads into frustration and who wants that?
Assertive communication. With your partner and your family, friends you all got into a new dynamics with the arrival of your kid. While being exhausted and overwhelmed, you don’t have to wait long to have conflicts you never imagined before. Typically men (of course there are always exceptions!) help less around the baby in our culture, they take it easier when it comes to tasks and routines and information to seek and they are evolutionally not bothered that much when the baby cries and it can cause not only conflicts but you can feel yourself left alone. Family members and friends might want to help but they just make you feel a bad mum or they want to do what they think is the best to help without considering your actual needs. To handle the emotions properly and to communicate assertively is the key to adjust to the new situation together. I remember a lot of examples when I needed to dive deep and understand well my feelings in such situations and collaborate and communicate to get a great solution.
Manage emotions. I was so often overwhelmed and found myself crying of being exhausted, while on other days I was just the happiest person on Earth. Often I found myself lose it and feel like shouting and running away in that very moment and then I felt guilt that I am not a good mother of my son. I learned and applied several techniques to be able to manage better my emotions.
Routine. It is not only the recommendation to have some sort of routine implemented when you have kids for their own sake but having routines in place helps also to create long lasting healthy habits when it comes to exercising, eating well or sleeping well.
Less social media. While social media has lot of advantages like getting useful information about babies and belonging to communities when it is used wisely, it also has lot of traps when it makes you compare yourself to others, feel yourself not enough and simply just take away a lot of time that you could use better. For example you can decide to not use your phone during the night like me but trying to rest while breastfeeding or limit the usage some other way.
Leisure time. This is hard when a small new born baby depends on you entirely, but still, try to find a way to have some leisure time for you. You really deserve it and you are way more important than the dishes or laundry, right? In my case while it was not easy to have me-time when we all were closed into the apartment, I did find the way and started to read novels on the e-book while breastfeeding during the day instead of staring at my mobile and this is crazy even for me, I read 56 novels in the first year of my son! Felt like a luxury!
Have a social life. Even the most introverted person needs some social connections to maintain the emotional balance so see what you can do about it. Even small talk with relatively strangers in the bakery on the corner will make you feel better not talking about meeting friends, family, even if only virtually. It was not easy for me either to be far away from friends and family so we started to have regular video calls instead of the personal cafes and simple phone calls. It did make a huge difference on my mood and wellbeing and indirectly on my relationship with my husband as he didn’t have to be my only and one contact in life.
Get perspective. While a simple problem might seem to be huge and invincible when you are feeling blue, 1, most of these problems change their characteristics as you are able to look at them from a different angle, 2, your status is temporary, especially with babies where huge changes happen overnight, so whatever upsets you today might just disappear and it is important to keep it in mind. For example, my hair was falling out radically for a long time after giving birth and it scared me of course even if I knew that it was normal. I had to remind myself that this was temporal, of course after having some blood test showing that it is nothing chronic.
Practising gratitude. Try to focus even on the darkest days on the things you are grateful for, write a list of it every day to make it a habit and be more consciously aware of the blessings in your life - and I am sure that there are plenty you can list. Show your appreciation to your environment and make their day. Expressing gratitude to others unconsciously improve their attitude and improves their satisfaction level.
Mind control. Remember, it is up to you what do you focus on. Where attention goes, energy flows. I was often quite obsessed with watching my son sleeping, I had a deep fear that he would just stop breathing or something terrible would happen. This is crazy, I am nuts, but tell this to a worrying and full of hormones mum that she is unrealistic… I was aware of it, but still, I had difficulties to not to check him every now and then, even during the very precious sleeping hours. So I had to break this, I had to control my thoughts, my mind and basically distract myself with positive and happy thoughts whenever I had the urge to check upon my son.
Ventilation. Find the best way to get the stress and doubts and joys out of your system, but mainly the negative part. You can start journaling or writing a blog or just talk to a friend or your partner – I decided to write regularly about my feelings and how is motherhood for me to ease myself and so that I can share it later on with my son. I really love to read those notes back, even after one year I don’t remember any more most of the struggles and joys, so our brain is tricky, and as we all know, everything will pass, the good and the wrong as well.
Meditation. Meditation has so many positive benefits to the mental wellbeing, it helps you control your negative emotions, thoughts, it helps you to feel more grounded, let the urge to control everything go, helps in anxiety, depression, unrealistic expectations, helps you to understand yourself better and listen to your inner voice, just to mention a couple of benefits. There are several ways to meditate, you can use guided meditations or free meditations with or without music, you can meditate while walking or at home in the tub… I started to meditate regularly a couple of years back to handle stress at work and I noticed that I was longing for the peaceful and self-care moments of meditation, especially when I was overwhelmed.
Self-love. Whatever I went through, I needed to stop judging myself for not being enough and accept myself as I was. Loving is caring, and with taking care of myself and implementing all these changes I sent an important message to myself: I do matter, my needs are also important and that is the basis for loving and accepting ourselves.
So this is my story how I took care of myself physically and mentally when I became a new mum. I built in all my experiences from motherhood and from coaching into the program I developed to other mothers. This is to support you mama through this difficult journey to find your balance and joy in motherhood with taking care of yourself, your mind, body and soul. Contact me for a free consultancy if you want me to support you personally to have a balanced and happy motherhood, just as I managed to have it. We all deserve it, mama!