…how important “me time” is.
Your baby’s wellbeing is directly linked to yours. So, taking care of yourself is not selfish but actually the opposite. I believe by nurishing yourself your baby will have a more positive experience of life and you will be better equipped to handle the crazy times that comes with a baby.
I found this out the hard way. It’s something that definitely contributed to me getting PND. It was only when my son was 6 months old that I realised I needed to do something, anything, for myself. I’d given everything I had for 24 hours a day to my son. Don’t get me wrong I do not regret that for a minute but I sacrificed my own wellbeing for him and it resulted in a not so happy mum.
I think it may have started because I was breastfeeding on demand and I felt I couldn’t leave him (this is not to say that breastfeeing is bad, it was just a struggle for me in the beginning – it gets easier – I’m still breastfeeding my son at 9 months). If I wasn’t feeding him then I knew it wouldnt be long before I had to put him down for a nap (major anxiety about his sleep crept in and at the time I didn’t realise it but I had become obsessed). It left me with such short opportunities to get out of the house or do something for myself – I thought ‘what’s the point’.
When I did have some spare time then there was always some washing, cleaning or eating to do.
It culminated in a feeling of massive loss, I’d lost ‘me’. I’d become a mum but felt I’d completely lost touch with who I was.
After visiting my Early Childhood Nurse about my son’s sleep, she picked up on this and I left with strict instructions to do one thing for myself everyday. Her words stuck in my head “do something even if you don’t feel like it”.
It didn’t come easy. I had to work hard at allowing myself some time. However, I can see now, 3 months on, that it’s been a game changer in my mood.
I also find that I appreciate my time with my son more, somehow it’s more precious. I go out for an hour and can’t wait to get home to give him a big cuddle.
So please, if you are reading this as a new parent and haven’t taken time out for yourself yet please start today! It could be just having a cup of tea in the garden, having a relaxing shower or watching a favourite TV show.
I heard some advice recently, which I wish I’d known before I’d been through this… Each time your child has a nap (be it 20mins or 2 hours), divide the time in half and spend the first half doing chores and the second half for yourself. So, if you know your baby sleeps for 30 minutes then spend 15 mins cleaning and the other 15 mins reading a magazine. The result should be that you’ll spend less time procrastinating about chores because you know you get your own time afterwards. Plus, you never know your baby might sleep longer than usual and you get the benefit.