Motherhood, they say, is a woman’s second birth. But what’s really appalling about this punar janam is the fact that a woman tends to completely forget to take care of herself as the new-born baby becomes the centre of her life.
Raise your hand if you’ve seen a new mother going out to enjoy herself minus the guilt of leaving her baby back. Raise your hand if you’ve seen a new mother giving herself equal attention and love that she tends to shower on her baby.
Perhaps, if this article is able to breathe some sense into the new mothers reading it and if they actually start giving themselves the following reminders, you might be able to raise your hand and agree to the above-mentioned scenarios:
Reminder 1: I shall keep the balance intact—even in my diet
“During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes and that is why it is essential to adhere to a well-balanced diet after childbirth,” points out Dr. Surabhi Siddhartha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Mumbai.
“Hence, a new mother should remind herself to eat clean and healthy and to opt for whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein sources like nuts, seeds, peas, and beans,” she adds.
Reminder 2: ‘I’ am important too
Having a baby can sometimes take a toll on your sense of self. Surely, the new-born is a part of you and deserves the attention. But hello, you, Ms. Life-giver, deserve to be equally nurtured.
Yes, the extra pampering by the family can help. However, nothing in this world can substitute the satisfaction and peace that comes from a little “me” time. After all, you’re an individual first and then a mom. Hence, postpartum care is extremely important.
“Remind yourself to find some ‘me’ time to pursue your hobbies or whatever it is that interests you,” says Dr. P.K. Manglik, director, Bareilly Mental Hospital and member, Indian Epilepsy Association, Indian Association of Private Psychiatrist, and Royal Society of Health (United Kingdom).
Reminder 3: Sharing is caring
This philosophy is true even when it comes to sharing the responsibility of a new-born child. So, unless you want to burn out with frustration of handling everything from dirty diapers to the child’s disturbing sleep cycle to those out-of-the-blue crying sessions, and what not—Dr. Manglik suggests you to remind yourself not to try doing everything single-handedly.
“Allocate and share the child’s responsibility with your partner and other members of the family,” he says.
Reminder 4: I shall exercise to energise
Remind yourself to stay physically active, not instantly after delivery, of course. But once your fair share of the medically-prescribed bed rest is over, do remember to make some time to exercise.
“Venture out of the house for a walk or any other form of suitable exercise in order to remain fresh and energetic,” suggests Dr. Siddhartha.
Reminder 5: I shall sleep before the baby’s beep
Proper rest is the most essential requirement for a speedy recovery and the energy to manage a new-born child as well. Hence, remind yourself to take adequate rest and sleep—whenever you find the time, that is.
“A baby has a different body clock than that of the mother and may wake up multiple times, leaving the mother exhausted. So, new mothers should try to sleep whenever their babies sleep,” says Dr. Siddhartha.
Reminder 6: I shall assess and take care of my mental health
Just like physical health, your mental health needs to be taken care of as well—especially because according to Dr. Manglik, initial days of motherhood may be associated with mental health issues like anxiety, postpartum or postnatal depression.
This is simply because a new mother has to take on the role of being a parent while dealing with hormonal variation, stress of going into labour, and having to cope with the sudden change—all at once.
Additionally, factors such as gender inequality in the family, lack of financial stability, and unavailability of any support from family members in bringing up the child can further make her case worse.
“Watch out for symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or irritability and reach out for emotional or professional support to stay strong,” Dr. Manglik recommends.
We agree, ladies. The whole phase of pregnancy can be a lot overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of your mental and physical well-being.