When I was pregnant with my first-born, pregnancy and postnatal self-care didn’t even come to mind. I was so overwhelmed and happy to be pregnant that all my focus was on him.
When he was born, slowly without even realising, I started to forget about life before pregnancy. At the time, it didn’t affect me, I fell into the role of ‘mum’ and I was really happy.
2.5 years later I had my 2nd son and carried on doing what I was doing. By this time, I found it really difficult to have a conversation with anyone without it being about kids. I’d forgotten about everything else that interested me.
So, with 2 young children and knowing I didn’t have much to talk about, I started to lose my confidence and spent a lot of time at home. Again, I didn’t realise the impact it was having on my mental health at the time and had no idea about self-care. What it was and why it’s important.
After another 2 years, I had my 3rd son and that’s when it hit me. I felt different, I was exhausted. Not just tired because of sleep deprivation, looking after a newborn or being a mum of 3…but physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted!
The problem was that I didn’t know why it was so different this time, I was overwhelmed and confused which made me shut myself off completely. By the time my youngest turned 2, I was really struggling and it wasn’t only affecting me, but my kids and husband. I had to face up to it and accept something needed to change. It was then that I realised that the previous 6 years of neglecting myself had slowly chipped away at me. I couldn’t tell you what my favourite film was, where I’d like to travel to, or what I was passionate about, because I’d forgotten.
It took me a while to get back up – I had to focus on myself, change my mindset, understand the importance of self-care and implement into my life without the mum-guilt.
I know I’m not the only one who’s been through this and if you’re going through something similar… I want you to know that it can and will get better.
Self-care is seen as a selfish word, something that’s a luxury and many of us mums feel we don’t have the time for because there’s always something else ‘more important’ that we need to do. In reality, it’s necessary and if you understand the importance of it and prioritise it, you can and will make the time!
Even if it’s 10 minutes a day or 30 mins a week, it’s something you need to do to invest in yourself, for you and your family.
Here are 3 simple steps you can take to start self-care today:
1. Make A List...
Make a list of all the things that interest you, that bring out that inner joy. Think back to a time before pregnancy and ask yourself, what did you do for a laugh? What stimulated your mind?
2. Pick One Thing...
After making your list, pick just 1 thing, a book that has nothing to do with kids, a yoga/exercise class, a free course on a subject that interests you…and think of how you can include that into your day/week. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be long.
3. Make It A Habit...
It takes 30 days to create a habit, so prioritise it and implement it, make it part of your day or week. Put an alarm on your phone or do it after you wake up or before you go to sleep.
Once you realise the positive affect that one change can make and it’s become a habit, look through your list and slowly start doing other things that matter to you. If you’re struggling with stress then mindfulness, journalling and positive affirmations are great to include in your day.
If you’re struggling to start a self-care routine, get in touch to book a session. I help mums from pregnancy to toddler-hood to manage their emotions and anxieties so they feel calm and confident and get rid of the mum-guilt.