I learned a lot of things about myself and motherhood that wasn’t discussed in the prenatal classes I took and amongst the discussions I experienced with my friends and family.
I hope to share the post-partum lessons I learned with other expecting mothers and fathers before the reality of parenthood strikes on your child’s birthing day to give a sense of confidence and peace during the first three to five challenging months.
5. Accept Help
As women, we have this tendency to take on as much as possible – if not everything – in order to relieve the load from our loved ones out of a sense of responsibility or out of guilt. Sometimes, we take on everything because we think we’re the only ones who can get things just right.
Taking on everything, combined with little sleep, can quickly cause burn out, anxiety, and depression. Take a step back and allow others to help. Allow your spouse, friends, or family members to step up and take over in areas that can relieve the burden of adjusting to a new family member and lifestyle.
Don’t be too proud to ask for help, either. One never knows where a better technique or a solution can be found. Trust and get the help to go forward with peace and a sound mind.
6. Steady and Sure Wins the Race
As an achiever, one of the things I learned during my pregnancy and post-partum experience is to take my time each day.
Achievers want to accomplish as much as possible in a short amount of time, feeling a sense of urgency in everything we do. The thing is, as I’ve mentioned before in this list, this can lead to burn out during a time in which we must take things easy and pace ourselves. Spread out projects and home tasks, instead. Assign days and dates to do specific chores and long-term projects, such as fitness and health goals, with small goals each day and week. You’ll thank yourself later for commiting to your projects while committing to taking care of yourself in a timely manner.
7. Accept Yourself
This is hard for women because we’re constantly judging ourselves. Whether it’s against an ideal or against other moms, it’s a habit that’s hard to break.
I know for me I was miserable being on bedrest for three months and gaining an amount of weight that I’d never known before due to a lack of physical activity. While I dropped more than half of the weight immediately after giving birth, I was left with a body that I wasn’t use to. I had all sorts of dreams about accepting myself and took it as a sign to love my changed body and to give myself the time and the chance to get back to where I wanted to be. Once I accepted myself, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy of getting to know a new version of myself.
8. Know It’s OK To Not Do It All
This goes a long the lines of accepting help, but it also means it’s ok to not have to do everything in a day or to be everything to everyone. Prioritization of what roles we need to play when and for whom matters. Maybe it means we can’t listen to the whining of our friends when they complain about their jobs or being the soccer mom who drives everyone to the games. Whatever you did before that takes up too much time, headspace and emotional energy can be put to the side while you adjust and if needed, be cut out competely. The post-partum months really force us to focus on what really matters in life – choose wisely and effectively.