Something that I was very often warned about when becoming a mother was the idea that I will have very limited time; I will have a messy house, I won’t have time to do my makeup, I’ll barely get time to eat, in essence, that life would become a big whirling blur or laundry and dirty diapers and messy hair and sleepy eyes. But kinda the opposite has happened.
Since having a baby and becoming a mother, I never had the thought that my life would cease to exist as I know it. I never view my baby as a hinderance or a nuisance. (Yes, there are days when I would like to take an hour long shower with no interruptions, but ya know, can’t always get what we want). After I gave birth to our Amelia, I was struck with such respect and gratitude for my body and what it was capable of, and how quickly I was able to heal. I wanted to continue this good cycle of health, and give that to my new baby as well, to give her the best start in life she can get. Never before in my life have I taken such good care of myself as I do now. I feel as if I have a whole new reason to do so, (well, I literally do) and I have found that when I take the time to do some things for ME, then I am soooo much more present, mentally and physically for our daughter, (and my husband, and our animals). There’s that saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Well it’s the truest thing I’ve heard.
This means that I have begun putting myself first, (which is truly a first for me!) I can’t believe that having a baby has allowed me to realize how amazing it is to practice self love. I can’t even imagine what else I could have accomplished in life before this if I had really given the concept of self love a chance. For myself, self love is doing things that I feel make myself feel good, and happy. My self love list is exercising, eating well, and fostering a positive mindset (also doing mini spa days in my bathroom with clay masks, painting nails, etc, but that has to wait for awhile). I loved working out before pregnancy, and during pregnancy to a degree, but after awhile it became difficult and just not comfortable to work out anymore. I love that I can exercise like I did before pregnancy now, and I love how it makes me feel, especially when most of my day consists of being in my house with our baby. It wakes me up, elevates my mood, makes me stronger, and I in turn feel really good about my (new) body. Before our baby came along, I tended to eat on the go, not sit down and enjoy meals, and eat a lot of crap in between my healthier meals. Now I am really taking the time to prepare really clean, whole food, plant based meals for myself, which I think is essential for repair after birth, and vital for baby as well, since I am breastfeeding her. I also just really love cooking and so putting this task first has also just allowed me to do something I love doing. The other added benefit I have noticed for me is the fact that I wake up feeling less tired, despite the natural lack of sleep that comes with new motherhood. Working on moving my thoughts to more positive ones has been challenging, but I know it is so important for me to do. I think it can be easy to fall into the self doubt trap, and kind of beat ourselves up over every little thing. I have been trying to monitor my thoughts during the day to keep this in check. Also, meditation helps with this, but it is soo hard for me to meditate. It’s funny they always say, just 5 minutes a day is all you need! I can somehow find every reason to not have those 5 minutes. Does anyone else find meditation to be challenging? I know that when I do meditate, I feel very good and clear minded, so it’s something I am working on bringing into my daily routine (somehow, someday).
It’s crazy to think that having a baby has helped shift my life from pretty darn busy and chaotic, to slower and mindful. Our baby has taught me the value of appreciating the little things, and stepping away from things that don’t serve our family anymore. Or stepping back from things like obsessively cleaning my house, because what’s more important? Dusting or watching your baby learn how to smile? (C’MON!) I’m obsessed with this beautiful change in our lives, and while I may still be in this “honeymoon” phase of motherhood, I hope I can continue to carry these realizations I have been having through to the next stages of her life and beyond that.