January 07, 2020

Mama Life || Self Care During Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond



Mama Life - Collaborative Post

Planning to become parents is probably the most exciting thing you can do as you get older. Imagining a perfect quick and simple conception, a breezy film worthy pregnancy and an easy birth is what most of us have come to imagine through what we see and hear as we grow up, but needless to say it isn't all sunshine and rainbows, it isn't always easy and quite often, things don't quite go to plan.

Our bodies as well as our babies are all so very different that it's impossible to predict how things will go, so it's really important to be kind to yourself (and your partner) through these times and let nature take it's course without stress. Stress does all kind of nasty unwanted things to our body but when trying to conceive, carry a child or even parent later on, stress is not something we want in our lives. Understanding that you're not alone in whatever life throws at you and that there is always support out there to give you what you need is important, as well as giving yourself plenty of time and TLC throughout.

I thought I'd share some tips to help new parents along the way from those early pregnancy signs to parenting itself, as it's so easy to feel that you're all alone in this journey or that you're doing something wrong. Needless to say you're not on both counts, but it doesn't hurt to hear it every now and then, so here's a few pointers that may help...



Trying for a baby


When you feel the time is right, try and just go for it without too much emphasis on dates and times etc. So often people become obsessed with trying at the right times and days and it just drains you completely. Obviously if you're older and time is a bit more of a factor, this may be something you are considering, but try not to let it overtake your life and thoughts too much. From my own experience and some of my friends, conceiving a baby can take days, week, months or years. One of my friends tried for ten years and eventually went down the IVF route and got her beautiful twins, others have got pregnant without trying, some even after just a few months. It doesn't matter how much you want to be a parent, seeing the monthly appearance of your period can feel utterly depressing, but it's important to focus on the positives and know that it will happen when the time is right. If after six months you are still not getting results or seeing those signs of early pregnancy, it may be worth having a chat with your doctor to see what they suggest moving forward. Having a child is a huge deal and not something to be rushed, here's a few tips when trying for a baby;

  • Practise lots of self care
  • Take your time
  • Enjoy it!
  • Seek help if needed
  • Don't obsess over dates and times
  • Believe it will happen when  the time is right

Pregnancy


Everyone's experience of pregnancy varies enormously, but there are lots of things we can do to look after ourselves and in sure we sail through it as easily as possible. By listening to our bodies, looking after ourselves and taking things a little easier on the way, we can have a much easier, safer and enjoyable pregnancy. Looking after our growing babies is most important, but so too is looking after ourselves, so making sure we are getting enough rest, care and support throughout is key. Never be afraid to ask questions, get checked or see your midwife/GP. There's no such thing as a silly question, there's all kinds of strange things that come with being pregnant and our doctors etc would much rather be safe than sorry, so never feel you're wasting their time. Also, it's a great idea to start meeting other new mums or mums to be so that you can get an extra level of support from people that absolutely understand what you're going through. There are so many suggestions out there for what to expect,and things like what to pack in your hospital bags for example, but just like the birth itself, you can never quite be prepared for all eventualities. In this case, bring a basic bag with the essentials, but remember that once baby is here you'll really need very little for that first day and anything else can be sent for via family and friends or got from local shops. In short;

  • Get enough rest
  • Look after yourself
  • Listen to your body
  • Ask questions
  • Get checked when you're worried
  • Talk to other mums and mums to be



Birth


No matter how much reading, stressing, researching you do, I don't think anything can quite prepare us for the birth of our first child. For me, nothing quite went to plan, but we went with the flow and just did what we needed to to get our baby out safely, just like most parents. It's important to have a rough birth plan in place so that when you're in the midst of birth you still get some of the things you want where it's safe to do so, but as always it's best to relax as much as possible, ask questions and do what you need to whilst making sure your preferences are known from the off. You may find yourself in theatre, stuck in hospital for longer than planned or any number of odd things you hadn't quite banked on, but the important thing is making sure our babies arrive safely and that we are well looked after too. Being calm, and as stress free as possible is crucial, so surround yourself only with things and people that will keep you at easy or provide comfort and don't be afraid to say what you want as you need to feel good. Here's some simple tips to get through birth;

  • Stay calm
  • Make loose plans
  • Go with the flow
  • Relax as much as possible
  • Surround yourself with calming things/people
  • Make sure you're looked after
  • Ask questions
  • Bring the essentials

Bringing baby home


As much as we are keen to get home with our babies, that time in hospital can be so helpful. From learning to bath a tiny newborn, to getting help with breastfeeding or simply having someone on hand in those scary early days, it's a good idea to not rush things unnecessarily. Once you are home it can all feel a little overwhelming and as much as you want to get stuck in, quite often our bodies and hormones get in the way, so it's really important to listen to your body, stay calm and take care of yourself. It's so easy for us mums to neglect our own well being when we have a tiny person to care for, but if we don't care for ourselves we'll soon struggle. When you can, get out to meet other parents and babies, that time out the house and chats with other mums can be really helpful, to give you advice or reassure you that you're doing it right. If you're not feeling sociable, getting some fresh air can still do us good, so try and get out for some short walks when your body will allow it to keep in touch with the real world. When it comes to visitors, just do what you're feeling up to and if you want to be left alone, just put your foot down and do it. When the time is right for you, have those visit that you want and don't feel pressured to provide refreshments or bother a sleeping baby for their benefit. Those early days are so precious and go so fast, so do things your way and treasure all those precious times of baby being so small and calm. When you have a baby, everyone LOVES to give you all the advice, usually outdated or unhelpful, but sometimes you get the odd gem thrown in that actually helps. Ignore advice if it doesn't fit your life and don't be afraid to tell people to stop if they are causing you stress (it happens!). If you have any worries about your baby or your own healing or mental health, then it's really important to get checked and seek support. It may be nothing it may be something, but never be afraid to make your fears heard and get help when needed. In short;

  • Don't rush out of hospital - appreciate the time and help on hand
  • Only have visitors when and if you're ready
  • Get out to socialise when you can
  • Get fresh air 
  • Enjoy the precious baby moments
  • Look after your well being
  • Listen to your body and rest
  • Meet other mums
  • Take advice from others with a pinch of salt
  • Get help with any worries
  • Ensure you look after your health, mental and physical



Having babies is so precious and it's so important to do what works for us, listen to our bodies and not be afraid to get help if needed. Things don't always go to plan, babies don't always come along when we want them to and it's not always easy, but as long as we look after ourselves, stay relaxed where possible and ask questions when something is on our mind, we can all get through it and enjoy our babies from conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond.


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