I found myself on my acupuncturist’s table for the first time today in nearly 3 months. My beautiful 4 month old daughter was passed out on the floor while I got a treatment and as soon as I hit the table, I found myself taking a deep breath and thinking “what took me so long.” As a yoga teacher, and advocate to all my mamas of self care postpartum, here I was ignoring my number one rule, “taking care of you is also taking care of baby.” My body needed this time to relax, to unplug and also to heal. I had been neglecting my needs, which was surprising to me, given that I am constantly inviting others to be tuned into their own.
How did I get here?
First and foremost, I am a recovering care-taker, its been something I’ve struggled with all my life. I care-take friends, I care-take family, I’ve even been known to care-take people who aren’t particularly nice to me. I’ve been putting the needs of others first (to a fault) for as long as I can remember. In recent years, I have worked really hard to overcome this, but it still creeps in from time to time and motherhood has been a big place that its shown up for me. Sound familiar to anyone?
Second, I can be a bit of a control freak and have a hard time letting other people do things for me if I think they won’t be done the way I would do it (which is obviously the best way right?). This also combines with my caretaker in the form of places like bedtime… “oh I can just put the baby down because she’ll go down quicker for me” (read between the lines, because I do it better). This lead me to having to always be the one engaged with baby and taking care of baby. It was a good lesson in learning to give up control!
Third, motherhood is a whole new set of boundaries I haven’t figured out yet. I don’t yet know how to navigate taking time for myself from this tiny little being I love and adore. I am still working on feeling guilty when I’m away from her and find myself missing her in those moments I don’t feel guilt. I remember going to a chiropractor appointment a week after she was born and calling my partner on the way home. When I heard the baby crying over the phone I balled my eyes out for the rest of the drive, because I felt like I had somehow failed my baby. Now granted, I was also a week postpartum and still on that super fun roller coaster ride of the hormonal shifts the first few weeks, but it was hard to know how to be this new me and still take care of myself.
As we’ve settled into a little more of a rhythm in our life, I am still finding taking that “me” time is really hard. I realized after getting up off the table at my acupuncturist’s office that I felt so much better. And in feeling so much better, I knew I would be that much better of a mama, I would have more energy to meet the challenges and more energy to welcome the joys.
So with that in mind, here are some steps I’m taking going forward to continue to nurture myself as I continue to grow as a mama. Will you join me?
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.