Pregnancy and childbirth are highly significant events in a woman’s life. When a woman is pregnant, she is taken care of by the family and treated with delicate hands. However, once the baby is born, all of the attention is diverted to the newborn with little thought to how the new mother is doing. In her new book, maternal wellness coach Dr Mahima Bakshi tackles this subject and guides new parents on how to be each other’s support.
Here’s an excerpt from the insightful book:
As you transition into the new phase of your life, you would be slowly trying to adapt to the changes
that come with it. While a woman’s partner’s support is imperative, I strongly believe that it is her ‘me time’ that acts as her best friend.
I strongly believe that a woman’s perfect best friend is her me time. She gets so busy playing all the roles and fulfilling the responsibilities, that she hardly gets the time to understand what she feels, what she wants and who she really is. As the responsibilities grow, she tries to match up to the expectations of the people around her, pursue her career, manage her job and her household. Amidst all of this, she probably loses touch with her real identity. As she steps into motherhood, she slowly starts learning about her baby, simultaneously trying to figure out each day as it comes, wishing for a good sleep of eight to 10 hours without having to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to change diapers. Her mind needs some peace and rest. The question is: ‘How can she learn to adapt to this new phase of her life without losing the woman she had been to the mother she has become?’
She needs constant support from her partner to be able to take out time for herself, unwavering understanding from her family that she might try her best to be perfect but there could be times when she can’t and constant motivation from society that she should not lose her own real identity
- Start investing in your me time right from your pregnancy. Your me time is for you to not lose touch with who you are. Continue to stay committed to yourself when it comes to having some me time, even after you give birth.
- Spare 40–60 minutes for yourself everyday. Ask your partner or family to take care of your baby—maybe when asleep—so that you can get those few minutes to yourself and indulge in things which are essential to you for your well-being.
- Keep your mobile phones away at that time. Unfortunately, as we head towards the future, our
mobile phones would become our best friends instead of our me time. Practise some mindfulness
techniques in your me time instead of scrolling through your phone.
- Do some stretches to relax your mind and body. You can also do some chanting or just sit down
quietly and meditate.
- Pursue any hobby of yours—painting, dancing, singing, cooking, gardening, etc.—for 20 minutes.
- Watch something that you like. It can be a movie, web series, documentary, anything. It would be better if you watch something on your TV instead of your smaller gadgets.
- Take a hot shower to relax yourself. You can use essential oils for adding some aroma while you take a shower and de-stress yourself during that time.
- A quick postnatal massage would also do wonders, relaxing your body and mind. You can call a masseuse or a postnatal massage therapist daily who can help relax your muscles with some great therapeutic postnatal massages. It will help boost your oxytocin levels along with your milk supply.
- Aromatherapy not only helps in inducing relaxation, but it also helps in changing the whole aura
of the place. You can use some diffuser lamps, incense sticks, candles or aroma oils and do some
aromatherapy for a while. Allow the therapy to rid you of all the negative energies, and help you detox your mind and soul.
- Go out to meet your friends once or twice a week during your maternity leave or even later if you can. When you meet your friends, remember to talk about yourself and them, and not about the baby. I always tell my patients that sometimes when we meet other mothers of the same age group as ours, it’s exciting to have them as a group support in the beginning, but later it only leads to conversations around the babies. Hence, hang out with friends with whom you can discuss different things. They could also be from a different age group.
- I always feel that nothing brings me closer to my soul better than penning down my emotions. So you can start maintaining a journal where you jot down the emotions and experiences you go through everyday. It would eventually help you realize how you feel and what you want, and help you get closer to your baby and your husband. It could even make you realize when you need to seek help, emotionally or physically. And, of course, pen down the memories of the moments you get to share with your baby. It could be turned into a baby journal too.
- Take pictures of yourself too rather than only taking those of your baby. Many new mothers end up filling their phone with thousands of pictures every month, trying to capture every moment spent with their baby, only to realize later that their phone storage has outrun its capacity. Give yourself some importance too. Dress up, put a smile on your face and capture a picture of yourself too with the baby.
- You can plan weekend getaways with your partner and your baby. You can spare yourself an hour at the hotel and use the spa or the poolside to take a dip and relax to rediscover your inner goddess by coming closer to nature. Meanwhile, your partner can take care of the baby in the hotel.
Spending time with your parents and family is also a good option. New mothers, anyway, like visiting their mothers when it comes to spending some me time. But this should not mean that the entire responsibility of the newborn comes on the woman and her mother. Always encourage sharing of parental responsibilities.
Allow yourself to slowly sink into this new phase of your life. Walk towards embracing motherhood holding your partner’s hand, ensuring that you walk towards parenthood together. Take support of your partner, encourage and allow them to be involved and share responsibilities, let them learn how to take care of the baby rather than depending upon the caretakers all the time. Amidst all of this, do not forget to find the time to take care of yourself—your me time. Self-love and self-worth will always keep you charged up to take care of your baby and yourself in the same manner.
Excerpted with permission from Empowering You Beyond Birthing by Mahima Bakshi; Rupa Publications.
About the author:
Dr Mahima Bakshi is a renowned maternal child wellness consultant, women’s rights activist, author of Birthing Naturally, and founder-owner of Birthing Naturally Queen. She’s a maternity influencer and has been felicitated by the governors of Maharashtra and Haryana.
She is currently associated as a Maternal Child Consultant with Daffodils by Artemis in Gurugram and Delhi, Sahyadri Hospitals in Pune, and Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai. In the past, she has been associated with Fortis Hospitals, Apollo Cradle, Rainbow Children’s Hospital and Rosewalk Luxury Hospital for Women.
Dr Mahima Bakshi is also India’s first ‘Dancing for Birth’ certified instructor.
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