After the birth of Vanaya initially I was on a bit of a high which I think is due to a rush of adrenalin as well as the hormone Oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) released during birth. I’m sure the gas and air also contributed to it too. I couldn’t really sleep and had no desire to sleep. So Rakesh and I spent the day mesmerising over this little person who had entered our life. It took us a while to digest all that had happened over the last 24 hours and it was nice to have that time to reflect.
The week after her birth I started to realise the impact on my body. Yes I had the water birth I really wanted with minimal medical intervention. But the intensity on my lower body and the sudden change in my weight (from not carrying the baby) had an impact on my back and spine. I already have scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and now suddenly I could feel a huge misalignment in my left hip. I almost didn’t recognise my body. This made me feel quite emotional and I felt the loss of my former self.
There was a moment in the week after the birth that we had to visit the midwife. My energy was low and I couldn’t walk too fast, I was getting out of breath and even sitting in the car felt like so much effort. When you have lived your life always being fit, healthy, mobile and well it felt strange to be so out of control and weak. Of course I was aware that my body needed time to heal but I felt myself questioning whether my body would return back to its ‘normal’ self?
I knew the importance of staying home to ground and heal. In ayurveda they advise rest and recouperation for 40 days (6 weeks). This felt right and to be honest I had no desire to leave the house. We also just moved in so I fe;t the need to start making myself feel at home. I was also fortunate to have the support of my mum, my husband and my mother in law for three weeks after the birth. This was great because my mum and my mother in law made lots of different ayurvedic receipes which support and heal the body after birth.
In the first few weeks I also had a massage and I saw the Osteopath to help realign my hip. These treatments were just what I needed however I did feel pangs of guilt. A part of me felt that I ‘should’ be with Vanaya rather than ‘indulging’ in these treatments. However I know the value of self care and I had to release those shadow thoughts and remind myself that taking care of myself will be valuable to Vanaya too.
“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ~ Parker Palmer,
Self care is really important to me and has been a big part of my life. As I enter motherhood there is an underlying fear of not being able to take care of myself and losing a part of who I am in order to care for someone else. However I know it does not have to be like that and in fact it is even more paramount that I take time for self care because it not only serves me but it serves my daughter too.
So I’ve decided to set the intention that self care is a priority whether that is doing 10 minutes of yoga a day or going for a massage, to seeing friends or even just watching my favourite tv programme. I also set the intention to not feel guilty or at the very least to accept and be aware of the guilt and to move through this emotion with compassion. As well as this I open myself up to receiving help; I realise that asking for help is ok and I am not alone in fact I have the support of so many people around me.
Are you a mother? Do you take time out for yourself? If so let me know your tips on taking care of yourself in motherhood. I would love to hear from you so please do leave me a comment below.