Every woman would like to think that she’ll emerge from the maternity ward looking as bright-eyed and relaxed as Kate Middleton recently did, but the real world isn’t so kind to most of us. The truth is, giving birth is an emotionally and physically transformative experience that – simply from a medical point of view – requires a recovery period similar to those prescribed for other major procedures. However, after bringing a newborn baby home, weeks of bed rest and a gradual return to routine isn’t typically in the cards for most new moms.
Instead, there’s an entirely new set of responsibilities to adjust to. Many new mothers grapple with varying degrees of stress in the weeks and months following giving birth, whether due to lack of sleep, parental anxiety, hormonal imbalance, or physical discomfort, all while trying to adjust to the ins and outs of infant care. This makes it especially important to build some “me time” into your postpartum schedule. After all, your health and mental well-being are as important to raising a happy child as any other factor.
That’s why many obstetricians and gynecologists recommend devising a post-birth plan to set up a support network and find means to streamline running the household after the baby’s arrival. This can be a great help in minimizing stress. But there are also small things you can do to make the motherhood transition a smoother one. Here are some favorite pick-me-ups to plan while your partner takes a shift of daddy duty.
Have a mommy makeover
For those who struggle with insecurity about their bodies after giving birth, one of the best ways to give your confidence a boost is a makeover day with a girlfriend. If a day spa appointment isn’t realistic time-wise or financially, there’s plenty you can do right at home, from firming masks, to video make-up tutorials, to going for a new shimmery black hair color.
Invest in bedroom bliss
Once the toys start to accumulate, it can seem as if every corner of your house is now baby territory. Try reversing this trend by turning your bedroom into a sanctuary for those precious few hours of sleep. Splurge on the European-sized down pillow set you’ve always coveted or the 300-thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets.
Do something designed for adults
One of the dangers of new mommydom is losing your connection to the adult world. Before your life descends into whirlwind of playdates and children’s television, work some adult time into your schedule. Whether attending a lecture series or volunteering for a political candidate, participating in brain-stimulating activities gives you something else to talk about other than diapers and feedings. This much-needed adult time will make you a happier and much more engaged parent.
Have some alone time
As a complement to spending time in adult conversation or activity that is not baby-focused, spending time alone plays an important role in balancing all of your relationships, whether with your children, your partner, family, colleagues, or friends. Find a peaceful corner in the garden, hang a hammock, and relax with a good book for example. You don’t have to leave the house completely to carve out a bit of headspace for yourself.
Give your endorphins a workout
Whether a skydive, a roller coaster ride, or a night of side-splitting comedy, scheduling in a bit of fun into your life should be a priority. It doesn’t have to be every day or even every week, but the occasional adrenaline rush is a great way to restore mental energy and keep you on your toes.
Parenthood is highly taxing and equally rewarding, and your needs shouldn’t always take the backseat. Focusing on yourself is also an essential component to well-balanced parenting.