Being a new mom is TOUGH. We are told that labour is hard but once you have your little angel in your arms everything is great from then on--which it is.. but it is also the beginning of the toughest days of possibly your life (this was the case for me) as there are many things people don’t tell you about. I hope to be the woman new moms can turn to for help with the change to being a mama!
After birth-you’ve just completed the most intense activity the human body can perform for however many hours on end, and then you have to take care of this new life. This beautiful little creature that you have only dreamt of meeting for the past 9 months and now THEY’RE HERE! It is an exciting yet nerve wracking time as now its game time-you are no longer practicing putting diapers on a doll (yeah I did this SO WHAT) it’s a real life HUMAN you’re changing now! What you tend to realize is…despite how many resources you read about being a parent- these babies do NOT come with a user’s manual and half the time whatever you read is the opposite of what is working for you. Which you’d think is no biggie but… CUE THE MOM GUILT- “I read the baby needs to be sleeping for x amount of hours yet he/she is awake for y amount of hours! What am I doing wrong?!”. Welcome to motherhood-constant guilt no matter what you do. This often leaves you in a state of constant stress which is not only depleting your nutrient reserves and leaving you feeling anxious, “tired yet wired”, decreases your immunity putting you at risk of catching every cold going around but also slows your recovery from birth. Let me just reassure you, you are doing ENOUGH MAMA! YOU ARE ENOUGH! Every baby is different so it isn’t a one-size fits all sort of thing. It is important to have open communication with your healthcare provider so always let your healthcare provider know if you have any concerns and they can do any necessary assessments to ensure everything is okay. In the meantime, here are my top 2 tips you can implement into your daily life to help decrease your stress.
Box breathing: Babies can smell fear. Think about it- every person who is uncomfortable around babies and tries to hold one- the little one usually loses their mind in the first few minutes. Babies feed off of our energy. If mama is cool and calm, baby will most likely be cool and calm (as long as all vital needs are met i.e. fed, clean diaper, comfortable). This is a great exercise for settling right before breastfeeding as well as for those moments where you’re halfway through changing your clothes for the first time in days but all of a sudden-baby is starting to fuss, the dog is barking, you can’t stop playing over that possibly offending comment someone said earlier that day and you are starting to feel overwhelmed. My favourite resource is box breathing: inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds and hold that for 4 seconds and repeat as needed. The way that box breathing works is it not only brings your focus to your breath which can be calming in itself, but by deep breathing you’re taking your nervous system out of the “fight or flight mode” your body is in when you are stressed (increased heart rate and breathing rate)-more on this in a future post and help you approach any situation with ease. For you visual learners out there, here is a diagram:
Affirmations:It can be so easy to compare yourself to other moms and get down on yourself if they SEEM (key word here because social media is a misleading place) to be doing better than you. Not falling into the trap of comparing yourself is where you’ll be free of the stress caused by caring what others are doing and caring about what they think. Even if you do not pay attention to others, women are notorious for negative self-talk and this just primes you for being a walking stress-bomb as you are bringing yourself down. No matter how many parenting books you have read, you will not be fully prepared for motherhood as every baby is different and will teach you new things. This may be hard to accept and feelings of inadequacy are very common. Affirmations work as our words and thoughts have a major impact on our physical wellbeing. Studies have shown that simply by engaging in positive self-talk or by saying affirmations, you can improve your stress levels and overall physical wellbeing. By simply stating something such as “I can handle any situation with ease” will have your heart rate decreasing and the stress dissipating in seconds.
Here is a list of 10 powerful affirmations to help bring your stress levels down. Say them to yourself with confidence every morning or in times of stress:
-I handle any situation with ease
-I am calm and collected
-Every cell of my body radiates calming energy
-With every breath I breathe in calm and breathe out tension
-The universe is on my side. Everything that happens is in my favour
-I provide everything my child(ren) need with ease
-I am confident in my abilities as a mother. I am capable of greatness
-I am the perfect mother for my child(ren)
-I am an amazing mother
-I acknowledge my own self worth. My confidence is soaring
Try these out and let me know how it goes! As always I am here to support you with your health-related endevours so feel free to send me a message and let's connect!