Self Care as a New Mom–NO WAY!

Self Care (1)

As doulas we are always making the recommendation to take time for self care, but what does this really mean when you have a new baby and someone mentions alone time, they may as well be suggesting you cut your heart out.

You have just carried this child in your body for nine months, so the fact that it doesn’t feel natural for you to just take time away is totally natural. The flip side of this is that there are many benefits to ‘me time’.

What are some ways you can begin building that much important alone time habit?

  • Start small and set tiny goals. Having the goal to shower everyday may seem silly, but to a new mom this could be tough. Your first few showers with baby out of the room may be the fastest showers of your life.  That’s okay! Have your partner or someone you trust stay in the bathroom for the first few times if this will set your mind at ease. Each time it will become easier and one day you may eventually graduate to a bath. :)
  • Get outside and unplug. Walk for 20 minutes each day. This can seem like a crazy amount of time for a new mom. Start with a few minutes around your neighborhood. When you are ready, add an extra minute, until you have worked up to walking 10 minutes away from home and back. The trick is to leave your phone at home. I know, I know, but this is the important part because you need time to disconnect. Use this time to look around, take in the air and recharge.
  • Have someone you trust come over for a few hours every day. This is preferably someone with a lot of baby experience that you feel comfortable with. This could be your partner, a family member, friend or a postpartum doula. The great thing about hiring a postpartum doula is that you don’t have to feel guilty letting them take care of baby while you do something small for yourself.

Not ready to be totally away from baby yet? Do something with baby in the room while baby sleeps.

  • Read a book
  • Colour in a colouring book
  • Paint your nails
  • Make a HOT cup of tea or coffee
  • Take a bath with baby sleeping in a bassinet in the bathroom
  • Take a walk with baby
  • Go to the movies with baby

Use the above suggestions while still working towards little bits of time away from baby. Over time you will find that is does become easier and you will start to feel those benefits everyone is talking about.

Our Birth Story

Nicole Sean and Lily
-Guest Post for “Positive Birth Stories Series”

On September 22, 2014 we welcomed our daughter, Lily,  into the world with the help and support of Kristi Clements from Helping Hands Doula. Our decision to use a Doula was one that I had always considered but wasn’t sure I needed. With this being my first pregnancy I didn’t know what I wanted in terms of a birth plan. Of course like many expecting mothers I was faced with the question of whether or not to have the epidural. I decided that I would play it by ear and see how I was handling the pain on the day of the birth.

The day finally came and the question of whether or not to have the epidural no longer became my choice. I was told by many that my first labour would probably be a long one, but that wasn’t true for me. I had my first contraction at 4:00am and my daughter was born at 8:52am, less than five hours later.

I called my Midwife and Doula around 6:30am. My midwife arrived at my house by about 7am and I was already 9 centimeters dilated.  While my husband began to run around like a chicken with his head cut off, getting all of our things into the car, I found myself alone and close to tears. Just then Kristi walked into the house and gave me hug. I leaned into her as another contraction started, she guided me through the pain and gave me words of encouragement. After the contraction subsided she helped me into the car and we all made our way to the hospital. Her support never waivered; as we made our way through the halls of the hospital we stopped multiple times as the contractions felt unbearable. She would give my tips on how to manage the pain, rub my back and cheer me on. When we finally got to our room I begged for the epidural, but it was too late. Kristi continued to provide support and help me through what I could never have imagined I was capable of. But she was not just there for me, my husband Sean also benefitted from having a Doula. She provided a sense of calm and reassurance for him when loud noises were going off and the midwives were concerned about my blood pressure dropping. She coached Sean about what to do, where to stand and how to help with the process.

If I could give one piece of advice for expecting mothers it would be to consider a Doula, especially one from Helping Hands Doula services. Their professional, yet personally support is money well spent to help make the birth of your baby extra special, to support you and your spouse when things don’t go the way you plan and to provide the hands on support you need to get through the most difficult parts of child birth.  For these reasons I would highly recommend Helping Hands Doula. Thank you again Kristi, we couldn’t have done it without you!

-The Proud Parents of Lily Christel Sutherland (Nicole and Sean)