I am so often humbled by this work. The intensity of it, the raw emotion of it, bearing witness to one of life’s most incredible events... and sometimes it’s greatest tragedies. There have been many moments of overwhelming joy, sweet relief and deep painful sorrow and through it all it’s always felt like I am in the right place. There are times when it’s so much to carry inside that for a second, the thought of continuing to do this work scares the shit out of me. And then out of nowhere I’ll run into a past client and see them flourishing as a Mother and my heart soars, or I read a text that includes a picture of a positive pregnancy test accompanied by “so what are you up to in 8 months time?!” and I can’t stop smiling for days thinking of that precious secret. And just like any job that one loves, it’s become very clear to me that once in awhile, taking time off to recharge and refuel is what I need to do to be a better birth worker. And so, I would encourage you, Moms, to take some time today to do something for yourself. However big or small it is, you need to take time to recharge yourself, no one functions better when they are depleted.
What you do EVERY DAY for your family makes a huge difference in their lives. You are always ENOUGH. I will continue to strive to do what I can to support families in this community and if that means taking an occasional time out to reset, I’m ok with that. I too, am enough. I am beyond grateful to all the families who have allowed me to grow beside them, connecting in this precious life if only for a small time. Lucky me, what a gift.
I mention "self-care" a lot when I'm speaking with new Mothers. There are a ton of reasons for putting it off but at the end of the day, if you're not taking care of yourself, eventually, you will become depleted. I urge you to take the time to nourish yourself, you're important and you're quite likely the "project manager" of your home so treat yourself to some tender loving care.
You are worth it.
Here are some ideas to get you started, this list is not exhaustive but rather a starting point to help shift your focus towards what fuels you.
Be gentle with yourself new Mothers, this is a big transition!
It's only when I slow down that I realize how fast things are spinning. Thankfully I have two sweet little reminders whose morning snuggles are my favorite way to start the day.
Day to day our lives unfold at a rapid pace, add babies and children to the mix and somehow entire weeks fly by. When I look back on the first weeks of Motherhood, it's a complete blur. Between the nearly constant breastfeeding and lack of sleep, what I recall is an overwhelming sense of trepidation. Like the greatest potential was set before me and I had absolutely no idea what to do with it or where to start. I was raw and incredibly vulnerable. My own expectations of myself as a Mother, combined with additionally high expectations as a birth professional, were in hindsight, the start of my decline. I stopped being present in the moment and my thoughts were fast forwarding to the next feed, to the next nap and my to-do list. I felt like I was always one step behind all the while having these grand ideas and plans to be ready for each single step. No wonder it felt like time was running away on me, and with such unreachable goals I was unknowingly setting myself up for failure.
The way we feel about ourselves as new Mothers can build our confidence or completely destroy it. I urge you to take some time and be gentle with yourself, self-care is vital to the transition into Motherhood. If you're still pregnant, I would encourage you to explore what Motherhood looks like for you. Explore your expectations and questions about what it will be like. Gather people to become your support system after baby arrives, have them prepare meals, run errands, change diapers or whatever is going to allow you to sink in and melt into this new world of Motherhood. Give yourself permission to slow down, this time truly is fleeting.