Self-care has really taken on a life of it’s own lately and sometimes I find myself struggling to keep up. Sheet masks, jade rollers, wash days… the ways in which we are being told to properly pamper ourselves is never-ending. For a new mom this can feel like an added stress to the list of new things she needs to do. Particularly after pregnancy, when you’re being doted on and constantly told to relax or rest and take care of yourself. I remember those very early days after I had Lucas when people asked what I was doing for myself and I said “shower”. I know they thought it was weird but it was what I committed to doing for myself each day during maternity leave. And I was so glad I had this in my mom survival kit when I was a stay-at-home mom. So I present my first big tip in postpartum care: the non-negotiables - a list of things women should vow to do for themselves each day - for the initial postpartum period and beyond.
This list should include at least two items. Start with something basic that makes you feel human everyday; a shower, brushing your hair, meditation, prayer, yoga, a 20 minute nap, etc. Choose the activity that you can most realistically accomplish each day. One that makes you feel bright and shiny for at least five minutes afterward, even if the activity itself only lasts five minutes! Then, choose one thing to do, once a month that will make you feel like you’re on top of your game: a manicure, pedicure, deep conditioning treatment, a yoga class, buying new underwear, eyebrow threading, etc. A small but a slightly more time-consuming activity or luxury. Then commit to them. Tell your husband about them. Tell your friends. We need our support systems to help us accomplish these things. They will champion you along and remind you of the promise you made to yourself. Because the truth is, you may miss a night of brushing your teeth or you may not replace that old sports bra for a few months and that’s perfectly OK! The point is to honor your needs in the postpartum journey as much as you honor your baby’s and it’s likely that you’ll need help doing it.
I didn’t commit to taking a shower at a particular time each day just that I would make sure that at some point during the day hot water and soap hit my body. Sounds simple, right? Nope. Some days that was the absolute last thing I did before I went to bed. But it was the one thing I committed to doing for myself and I made it happen. I never committed to anything more than showering during my maternity leave and I wish I had. By the time I decided to really do my hair I needed to cut off two inches! And I was losing the edges of my hair due to postpartum shedding, so my ego could have used those two inches. Since then, I wash my hair every 7-10 days and do minor upkeep each day. Sometimes it feels like effort and sometimes it feels like a chore but I’m always thankful to have the time to care for myself in a simple but important way. Also for the record, I love jade rollers and I think sheet masks are a quick and affordable way to treat your skin. I just believe self-care can and should be stripped down to accommodate mamas by being realistic and without guilt.
What are your non-negotiables? And how did you practice self care after you had your baby? Let me know in the comments!