THE NURTURING MAMA
Around Jet being 12 weeks I started to figure out Jet’s cues and different cries for hungry, tired, and needing mum. It is funny when you look back how easy it actually was but when your in the moment it seems like it is the worst experience ever and I had no idea how I would get through it. I had all thoughts go through my head at one time or another, e.g. ‘I’m a terrible mother”, “I cant do this, Jet deserves better and would be better off without me”. These do seem extreme looking back now but were real at the time. Is this normal for mums to have these thoughts? Some woman I have spoke to say yes and other mums say they were fine and didn’t have any issues. (I do wonder if this is true or not though). Just like mums who report that their baby sleeps through and never had any concerns with breastfeeding and life is just fabulously perfect with a newborn in every way. Awesome for the small community of mums if this is their truth however I do feel once we step into the life of being a mum we need to drop the competition and egos, and rather jump in the trenches with our fellow mamas and support the best way we can, and that is honesty and vulnerability. The biggest trigger for me and questioning of my ability of a mother was hearing these ‘perfect child’ stories, which weren’t my reality. I now acknowledge this and when questioning my mothering pops into my head, I instead think of things I am grateful for, and know I am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have.
We are in a world full of different people due to own history, experiences, exposures and beliefs, however I definitely need to surround myself with mamas who are real, raw, speak their truth without being worried about judgement. Mamas who are there for other mamas, the ones that reach out a hand when needed.
Being a new mum is a huge adjustment and having the right support is certainly needed, and honest truthful support at that. Even though my family are all afar, I am endlessly grateful for the beautiful inspiring women who supported me through this time (plus my placenta capsules). I do totally believe in the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Aligning with those with similar beliefs and learning to receive, I feel is the key to survival.
My biggest challenge in survival was my mind/ thoughts and acceptance of my changing life, as my motherly intuition kicked in and looking after Jet started to become more natural. And when I say ‘natural’ this isn’t just floating along unconsciously and making it up as I went, I do firmly believe we need to continue to research and find what feels right to suit the choices you are making for your bub and growing family. This to me is willing to look outside the box rather than taking TV and media as gospel or just going with what others around you are doing with their bubs. Empowerment with birthing choices is massive and continuing this questioning, education and empowerment into the baby chapter is just as important. If you think of it, this is about a little human’s future right now. How we support them emotionally and physically, starting with what we put in our bodies that fuel our breast milk, what we feed our bubs to support growth and development (my focus especially on mental/ neurological growth) and setting up their micro-biome along with the immune system to make them strong to fight the fast growing preventable diseases in this world. Not to forget the emotional modelling for them which they learn from actions, not what we simply tell them.
A lot to take in and think about right! However we can easily do this fellow mamas, and it starts with US, you and me and looking after ourselves in the best possible way. Eat nourishing foods, exercise regularly and take time out for you. Being mindful of our emotions and acknowledging when we need to nurture. I have found this is so important as a mum, as we do a bucket load of giving and not much receiving. We may think we just don’t have time to nurture and look after ourselves but what is that teaching our bubs?
Option 1: To put everyone else first? To push and run yourself ragged, have a meltdown then maybe look to nurture?
Or OPTION 2: sustain health physically and mentally so your able to give whole-heartedly to your loved ones?
I took option 1 to start with and only now since returning to yoga and finding a sense of self again have I been clear that I actually need option 2. It is not a easy thing to do as we are so good at putting ourselves last but I have found that getting back into my regular yoga as my exercise and eating healthy nutritious foods has lifted me up and helped me to gain more confidence in being a mother, I actually feel I CAN do this. From having time for myself helps hit the reset button with Jet and I. Plus eating right makes me smile in the inside that I’m making the conscious effort to fuel my body for motherhood and for Jet (not to mention also supporting my milk production so it easily continues for breastfeeding). Giving to me is actually giving to Jet too.
Here are some tips that I go by each week to help keep this mama on track:
Green smoothie daily (this is my tip to everyone not just mamas). It is a beautiful self-care ritual to preform in daily
Protein and good fats at every meal: this is to help sustain energy and a great milk supply.
Yoga daily: It doesn’t have to be asana, it can be pranayama, being mindful of actions, or simply box breathing. I also enjoy simply laying on my mat and having a few big exhales haha
Outside exercise minimum twice a week: doesn’t have to be a marathon run it can be as simple as a walk around the block with bub in the pram. The fresh air is good for the mind and the circulation from exercise will be great for your physical health, energy and the tired mum body.
Listening to at least one podcast of interest: can be about parenting or inspiration for eating well, or something cheesy just to occupy your mind for an hour.
Find time to read and look up different parenting skills, to help you feel empowered with the choices your making.
Have me time, child free: in our household my husband takes Jet to a local coffee shop a couple of times a week when Jet wakes around 5. Then I have the option to sleep in, clean the house distraction free, or any activity without having a child intervene, do some writing or reading, or take our dog to the beach. As much as I really want to go with them as it is a nice thing to do together especially as we are morning people, however I do feel fabulous to sneak some alone time in the house.
If you can do just one of these things a week or all of them it is a fantastic start to nurturing the mama self and enhancing the ‘embrace’ of mama life.
Any extra things that you do? Please share with me and fellow readers to help our inspiration 🙂
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