By Carolyn Hecken
Moving through pregnancy and birth is at times like blindly navigating a sea riddled with juxtapositions.
Nurturing a growing life from within is nothing short of exceptional but, of course, pregnancy isn’t an illness so you just keep trekkin’ on.
One moment you’re filled with sheer joy and excitement, the next you’re contemplative about the ever-expanding weight of responsibility tied to parenthood.
On the one hand, you know it’s all about you – you don’t need anyone to tell you that; on the other, you careful not take it so far as to inconvenience anyone on your account.
You carry on looking out for the needs of those around you – because you’re a mom, a spouse, a daughter, a colleague, a friend. You make a conscious effort not to step on anyone’s toes all while doing your best to take care of yourself.
Basically, you are superwoman – but without the recognition and appreciation you deserve.
Maybe you’re new to this mothering gig – maybe not. Regardless, an occasional reminder to keep practicing self-care in often in order.
This applies whether you’re trying to conceive, you’re pregnant or have just welcomed your little one to the outside world:
If ever you find that there is something weighing on your mind – anything at all – make and take the time to address it. Every single thought, worry or contemplation is valid and deserving of your attention, self-reflection and action.
If you’re not fully satisfied with the quality of healthcare you are receiving, consult with or switch to another healthcare professional who is able to provide the extent of support you need to carry on through pregnancy and birth feeling safe, confident and validated. Sometimes women are told by their physicians that they may not change providers. This is simply not true. Here in Germany you are entitled to a second opinion and have the right to change providers without a specific reason or explanation.
Don’t even spend a second worrying about what others think about you or your parenting. You’re not being neurotic. Parenting is tough. And what makes it even more difficult is that fact that everyone has an opinion about the ‘right’ way to do it.
This is your child. You are the expert. Maybe you thought you’d be okay with hubby or your mother-in-law taking your wee one for a stroll in the park but then you changed your mind? There’s no shame in calling him up and having him come home again.
Nature has equipped you with a boatload of hormones to limit extended periods of separation during the first couple weeks and even years of life. It won’t always be this way. Life is constantly changing as your little one grows, learns and plays.
Be forgiving with yourself and show yourself grace. You deserve it. You’re are not going to always parent the way you want to. Accept any mistakes, forgive yourself and continue learning.
Ultimately, what it all boils down to in the end is this:
Follow your gut. Entering motherhood is undoubtedly a wonderfully unique and special chapter of life beginning with the time leading up to conception to the first weeks and months of family life after baby is born. Regularly practicing self-care can help you approach motherhood with more ease. To read more self-care tips specific to pregnancy, click here: https://www.bb-doula.com/blog/pregnancy-health/6-essential-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-pregnancy/
Carolyn Hecken is a mother to four energetic, inquisitive children. She holds a BA in Linguistics (University of Washington) and a MA in European Linguistics (University of Freiburg). Since June 2013 she has been supporting mothers and their families as a certified D.A.M.E. Doula and, more recently, as an AFS peer-to-peer volunteer breastfeeding counsellor (January 2016) and HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator (June 2016).